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Liberal MP defends his party’s record on Israel and Jewish community

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Liberal MP Anthony Housefather (YouTube screencap)

Since being elected in October 2015, my colleagues and I have consistently worked within the Liberal Government on matters of importance to the Canadian Jewish community. During the last election campaign, the Conservatives repeatedly warned our community that terrible things would happen if a Liberal government was elected. We stated the contrary, that if elected we would work tirelessly to have Israel’s back and advocate for Canada’s Jewish community. Three years later let’s look at our record.

I asked the independent researchers at the Library of Parliament to investigate to two questions. First to compare all governments of Canada since 1984 and their record at the United Nations General Assembly on votes that singled out Israel for condemnation. Second, to compare Canada’s record on these resolutions since the Trudeau government came to power with 10 other large countries, the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Russia and China. I did this because I often receive claims from people in our community stating that other Canadian governments (and particularly the previous Harper Conservative government) had a better record on Israel at the UN or that other countries (such as the UK or Australia) were more supportive of Israel than we were. The numbers speak for themselves.

Like many in our community, there is nothing more upsetting to me than when the UN unfairly singles out Israel for condemnation. When it comes to the current government’s record on these resolutions versus previous governments, the Trudeau government’s record is by far the best. We have voted against 87% of the resolutions singling out Israel for condemnation at the General Assembly versus 61% for the Harper government, 19% for the Martin and Mulroney governments and 3% for the Chrétien government. We have also supported 0% of these resolutions, compared to 23% support under Harper, 52% under Mulroney, 71% under Martin and 79% under Chretien.

With respect to the record of the Trudeau government versus other countries, our record is almost identical to the United States. The U.S. has voted against 91% of the resolutions singling out Israel for condemnation at the General Assembly since October 2015; Canada has voted against 87%. By comparison, Australia voted against 30% of these resolutions; none of the other seven countries voted against any of these resolutions — in fact, while Canada and the U.S. voted for 0% of these sorts of resolutions, Australia voted for 33%, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Russia and the U.K. voted for 80% and the Chinese for 100% of these resolutions.

Since being elected, our government has supported the first resolution to come before Parliament opposing the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel and supported a resolution condemning Iran for its calls for the destruction of Israel. I was pleased to deliver strong speeches in the House in support of both those resolutions. In addition, Prime Minister Trudeau has announced that a formal apology for Canada’s treatment of Jewish refugees in the Nazi era, as exemplified by the refusal to allow the S.S St. Louis to dock in Canada, will be made in the House of Commons. We have also doubled funding available to synagogues, Jewish schools and community centres and other at risk institutions, and we have expanded protection under the Criminal Code for Jewish schools and community centres.

READ: ANTHONY HOUSEFATHER ACCLAIMED BY MOUNT ROYAL LIBERALS

After three years I am proud of the record we have achieved and in the role I have played within our caucus and in support of our government on issues related to the Jewish community and Israel. I do hope that these facts allow you to have a clear view of our record.