Canadian Press reported last weekend that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had telephoned Prime Minister Stephen Harper to thank Canada “for its friendship and principled position” in voting against the resolution at the United Nations General Assembly conferring non-member, observer-state status for Palestine.
Netanyahu might have also have thanked Canada for showing courage. Not only did Canada stand against the thudding stampede of the 138-strong herd of General Assembly members, but it also refused to back down in the face of a threat by the PLO that there would be “consequences” for voting against the Palestinians’ UN ploy.
In explaining Canada’s reasons for refusing to endorse the Palestinian initiative, Foreign Minister John Baird was quite explicit. Indeed he set out the reason in the very first sentence of his remarks: “Canada opposes this resolution in the strongest terms because it undermines the core foundations of a decades-long commitment by the international community and the parties themselves to a two-state solution, arrived at through direct negotiations” (our emphasis).
The rest of Baird’s remarks were a recap of the history of the UN’s and other international parties’ involvement in trying to bring the Palestinians and the Israelis to a peace agreement from 1947 to 2008.
“Successive UN Security Council resolutions and various international commitments and understandings over nearly seven decades have formed the building blocks of a collaborative peace process that remains unfinished. The path to peace has historically rested in direct negotiations between the two parties to resolve all outstanding issues and it remains the same today. Solutions can only come through the two sides working together” (our emphasis).
But Baird was not the only Canadian last week to resist implied or more direct threats of the misinformed or malevolently anti-Israel supporters of the Palestinians.
As reported by the London Jewish Chronicle, award-winning singer-songwriter and Ottawa native Alanis Morissette was bullied by advocates of a boycott of Israel who urged her to cancel her Dec. 3 concert in Tel Aviv.
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel spearheaded the campaign against her.
“We would find it especially disturbing should you choose to play in Israel given its recent onslaught on Gaza. Palestinian civil society groups are calling on artists to shun Tel Aviv in the same way that South African activists called on artists to boycott Sun City,” the boycott campaigners wrote to Morissette.
Just as Baird had the courage to publicly resist supporting the PLO’s deceitful ploy at the UN, Morissette also chose to act with singular preference to principle and courage on behalf of individual artistic freedom and historic honesty. In the process, they both strived in a true manner to bring about peace between Palestinians and Israelis.