The federal Liberals are winning plaudits for standing with Israel at the United Nations, including voting against a resolution that rejects Israeli ties to Jerusalem.
In a repeat of previous years, last month, Canada voted against 17 UN resolutions that singled out Israel, part of a package of 20 such measures introduced at the world body this time every year.
Canada abstained on two resolutions and one measure has yet to be voted on.
Some of the resolutions were approved by committees of the UN, while others went directly to the General Assembly.
They were co-sponsored by Arab countries, as well as Venezuela, North Korea, Cuba, Turkey and, in one instance, Sweden. All are non-binding.
Canada’s votes were unchanged from previous years, continuing a more Israel-friendly shift at the UN that began with former Liberal prime minister Paul Martin and was maintained under former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper.
Canada voted against a resolution that called, in part, for the right of “all persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities to return to their homes or former places of residence in the territories occupied by Israel since 1967.”
Canada also voted against a measure urging the Palestinians and Israelis “to deal with the important issue of Palestine refugees’ properties and their revenues within the framework of the final status peace negotiations.”
The General Assembly considered six of the 20 resolutions on Nov. 30. Canada voted against all of them.
They included one that disavowed Israel’s control over Jerusalem.
The measure stated that “any actions taken by Israel to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever, and calls upon Israel to immediately cease all such illegal and unilateral measures.”
It also called for respect for “the historic status quo at the holy places of Jerusalem, including the Haram al-Sharif,” using the Arabic term for the Temple Mount.
Canada also voted against a resolution calling for “the complete cessation of all Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.”
A resolution condemning Israel for the “illegality” of its annexation of the “Syrian Golan” in 1981 also received a No vote from Canada.
In opposing resolutions targeting Israel, Canada stood mainly with the United States, the Pacific island nations of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru and Palau, as well as Israel itself.
‘These resolutions were totally one-sided.’
Despite Canada’s opposition, all six resolutions voted on by the General Assembly on Nov. 30 passed by health margins.
The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center commended Canada for taking “a strong stand” in support of Israel.
B’nai Brith Canada also welcomed Canada’s “forthright” stance in voting against the six resolutions condemning Israel, stated Brian Herman, director of government relations for the organization.
“These resolutions were totally one-sided. Israel is repeatedly condemned and singled out expressly, while no such accountability or condemnation is applied to the Palestinian Authority, Hamas or Islamic Jihad,” Herman said.
Martin Sampson, a spokesperson for the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said that, “CIJA strongly commends the government of Canada for their continued support of Israel at the United Nations. We applaud Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland for opposing more than 20 biased anti-Israel resolutions. Other Western governments should follow Canada’s leadership and reject one-sided resolutions that do nothing to advance peace.”
The Geneva-based group UN Watch lauded Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his government’s “principled stand” in opposing the “unbalanced and inflammatory texts adopted each year in the ritual scapegoating of the Jewish state.”
Trudeau showed “moral leadership” by continuing Canada’s “exemplary UN tradition over the past decade in joining a small handful of principled nations who are unafraid to defy the intimidation of dictatorships (that) use the demonization of Israel to distract attention from their horrific human rights record and failed governance,” Hillel Neuer, the Canadian-born executive director of UN Watch, told The CJN via email.