To the extent that a government’s record of support for Israel can be measured by its voting pattern at the United Nations, I applaud the current government for following in the footsteps of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper who initiated the policy of refusing to vote in support of resolutions that single out Israel for condemnation. But let us not overstate matters. On two recent occasions when Israel needed Canada to “have its back”, to use a favoured expression of the Prime Minister’s, the Liberal government demurred. In Dec 2017, the Liberal government abstained on a motion which condemned the United States for its decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem. In May 2018, the Liberals again abstained on a motion which condemned Israel for “excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force” during Hamas’ Gaza incursions. This is the voting record that we are now being told Canadian Jews should be proud of?
In his letter to the CJN, MP Housefather wrote that Conservatives once “warned about the terrible things” that might happen to Canada-Israel relations under a Liberal government. Well, after almost four years in power there is a record to examine. So let’s do that.
In May 2018, when Hamas made incursions on Israel’s border with Gaza, Prime Minister Trudeau impugned Israel by deeming its defensive actions “inexcusable” and called for an independent inquiry into the actions of the IDF. MP Housefather and MP Levitt felt the need to distance themselves from their own government by releasing a statement at odds with their Foreign Minister and their Prime Minister. I commend my friends for their personal courage, but it’s the stance of Canada’s Prime Minister that matters.
The Liberal government has also refused to take any action against members of its own caucus who promote hate speech against Israelis or associate with those who do. To date, the Prime Minister has declined to sanction Liberal MP Iqra Khalid who has repeatedly showered the extremist head of Public Relations for Palestine House, Mr. Amin El-Maoued, with appreciation awards. Furthermore, the Prime Minister has failed to distance himself or apologize from his own fraternization with the same extremist.
The Liberal government has also had multiple opportunities to take bold action against the Iranian regime. As Israel has stated time and time again, its biggest existential threat comes from Iran. Iran’s support of international terrorism, which threatens not only Israelis, but all civilized people, is well documented. However, in May 2018, Trudeau’s appointed Senators defeated a Conservative Senate bill that would have imposed tough measures against the regime. Further, in June 2018 the Liberals, including the Prime Minister himself, voted in favour of a Conservative motion to list the paramilitary wing of the Iranian regime, the IRGC, as a terrorist entity immediately. Four months later, the government has yet to take any action. It is dubious that they ever will or that they ever intended to.
Under the leadership of Andrew Scheer, the Conservative Party of Canada has pledged to move Canada’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Meanwhile, the Liberal government has refused to recognize Jerusalem as the undisputed and historical capital of the Jewish people because, in the words of the Prime Minister, “it does not want to take sides.”
The record is clear and speaks for itself.
The Conservative Party of Canada stands by Israel, in good times and bad. There is no daylight between our words and our actions. Conservative support for Israel is based on principle, not politics. I wish I could say the same for the Liberal Party of Canada.