On Nov. 19, 2019, Canada abandoned a longstanding, bi-partisan tradition of voting against UN resolutions that single out Israel. Instead, it supported one put forth by North Korea, Egypt, Nicaragua, Zimbabwe, and the Palestinians that ignores crucial context of the conflict. The symbolic move is in direct opposition to the liberal democratic values that Canada has always championed both domestically and on the international stage.
The shift is disturbing for multiple reasons. Canada has consistently maintained a foreign policy focused on promoting democracy and human rights–regardless of which party has been in power. In recent years, Canada has been one of the loudest voices condemning the Maduro regime in Venezuela and abuses in Ukraine.
Canada has also been a consistent ally of Israel. In July 2018, at the request of Canada, the US, and European countries, Israel played an indispensable role in rescuing hundreds of “White Helmet” rescue workers in Syria. According to Canada’s Deputy Head of Mission in Israel at the time, “there was no way to save their lives” without Israel. In 2019, Canada revised its free trade agreement with Israel and adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism–a definition that recognizes as antisemitic efforts that uniquely single out the Jewish State.
So why the apparent contradiction?