Stephane Dion, Canada's minister of foreign affairs. (Photo: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
How can you identify a Canadian Liberal? They talk to the left, but walk to the right.
Under Justin Trudeau, "Canada is back" to isolating itself from world opinion on Palestinian rights.
On Monday, Canada joined the U.S., Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Federated States of Micronesia and Palau in opposing a UN Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee resolution in support of Palestinian self-determination.
Two weeks ago, Ottawa also joined Israel, the U.S., Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau in opposing motions titled "Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and the occupied Syrian Golan" and "persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities." One hundred and fifty-six countries voted in favour of the motions, while seven abstained on the first and six on the second.
Just two among numerous resolutions upholding Palestinian rights that Canada has opposed, these votes follow on the heels of Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion attacking UNESCO for defending Palestinian rights.
Last month, the UN cultural body criticized Israel for restricting Muslim access to the Al Aqsa Mosque compound and recognized Israel as the occupying power. Dion tweeted:
A few months earlier, Trudeau's minister criticized another arm of the UN. In March, Dion denounced the UN Human Rights Council's appointment of University of Western Ontario law professor Michael Lynk as "Special Rapporteur on Palestine." Claiming the Canadian lawyer was hostile to Israel, Dion asked the UNHRC to review Lynk's appointment.
In addition to isolating Canada internationally, the Trudeau government has pursued various pro-Israel moves. At the start of the month, Governor General David Johnston visited a Jewish National Fund Forest. An owner of 13 per cent of Israel's land, the JNF discriminates against Palestinian citizens of Israel (Arab Israelis) who make up a fifth of the population.
The Liberals condemned Canadians seeking to hold Israel accountable to international law.
According to a UN report, JNF lands are "chartered to benefit Jews exclusively," which has led to an "institutionalized form of discrimination."
While the GG recently visited a racist Israeli institution, the PM attended the funeral of Shimon Peres at the end of September. In 1996, Peres (who would come to be known as "the Butcher of Qana") ordered the shelling of a Lebanese village, which killed 106 civilians in Qana -- half of whom were children. Through his long political career, reports Patrick Martin, Peres "was deeply implicated in many of the foulest historical crimes associated with the establishment, expansion and militarization of the state of Israel."
Peres' role in dispossessing Palestinians didn't stop the Trudeau government from gushing with praise after he passed away. "The whole country of Canada is supporting the whole country of Israel and the prime minister wanted that to be very clear," Dion told the press.
At the start of the year the Liberals condemned Canadians seeking to hold Israel accountable to international law. The prime minister and most Liberal MPs supported a Conservative Party call for the House of Commons to "reject the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which promotes the demonization and delegitimization of the State of Israel." The February resolution also "condemned any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement, both here at home and abroad."
The Trudeau government's efforts to undermine Palestinians liberation strengthens Canada's multifaceted contribution to Israeli expansionism. Every year, registered Canadian charities channel tens of millions of dollars to projects supporting Israel's powerful military, racist institutions and illegal settlements.
It's hard to tell Canada's political parties apart when it comes to enabling Israeli oppression of Palestinians.
Over the past decade Ottawa has delivered over $100 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority in an explicit bid to advance Israel's interests by building a security apparatus to protect the corrupt Palestinian Authority from popular disgust over its compliance in the face of ongoing Israeli settlement building. Further legitimating its illegal occupation, Canada's two-decade-old free trade agreement with Israel allows settlement products to enter Canada duty-free.
The truth is, it's hard to tell Canada's political parties apart when it comes to enabling Israeli oppression of Palestinians.
Without a growing popular movement campaigning for Palestinian rights, this country's political elites will continue to isolate Canada from world opinion.
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