Multiple Canadian Jewish groups have expressed outrage and disappointment in the wake of Canada’s support for an anti-Israel resolution at the United Nations.
On Wednesday, Canada voted in favour of a resolution on “the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination,” sponsored by countries such as North Korea and Zimbabwe.
In addition, the resolution calls Israel the “occupiers” of Palestinian territory and calls for their immediate withdrawal from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Similarly-worded resolutions come to a vote at the UN annually, but for the first time in over a decade, Canada has voted in favour of one.
Jewish groups in Canada were quick to express their disappointment.
“This vote reflects poorly on Canada’s record as a defender of democracy and justice,” said B’nai Brith CEO Michael Mostyn.
“It stains Canada’s reputation.”
Hillel Neuer of UN Watch suggested that this change of policy was Canada’s attempt to win over anti-Israel nations in Asia and Africa. Canada is currently campaigning for a seat on the UN Security Council and would require the support of anti-Israel countries to get elected.
Experts have suggested Canada has little chance of getting elected to the Security Council regardless of their vote on this resolution.
Avi Benlolo, CEO of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, said Canada “is losing the moral high ground by voting against its democratic ally, Israel, alongside countries with poor human rights records like North Korea.”
Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne told the media before the vote that Canada stands by its decision to support the motion condemning the middle-eastern democracy.
“I think people in the Jewish community in Canada and across the world see Canada as an ally, but there are times when we must express our opinion and our position as we did yesterday at the UN,” said Champagne about the decision.
Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), which attempted to convince the Trudeau government to change its mind before the vote, said the Prime Minister told them that Canada will not be reversing its decision anytime soon.
“Trudeau said that Canada’s vote on this resolution will not change back because Canada seeks to underscore its commitment to a two-state solution,” said CIJA CEO Shimon Fogel.
Fogel hopes that the government will attempt to reaffirm Canada’s support for Israel in the future.