A Deplorable Vote
December 13, 2001
There is no doubt that Israel considers Canada a
friend, that bilateral relations between the two
countries are sound and that Canada has
probably aided Israel on occasion, behind the scenes,
in ways that cannot be made public. But there is
equally no doubt that Canada's near-constant support
of various votes and resolutions, routinely, egregiously
and falsely condemnatory of Israel in most multilateral,
UN-sponsored settings, is an outrageous debasement
of our Canadian values.
The most recent examples occurred last week.
At the annual General Assembly criticize-Israel
voting ritual in New York, Canada supported 14
anti-Israel resolutions and abstained on five.
On Wednesday, in Geneva, the anti-Israel forces of
the UN orchestrated the reconvening of the High
Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention.
As most people know, the convention deals with the
code of conduct for the "protection of civilian persons
in times of war." It was propagated some 50 years ago
to deal with the horrors of Nazi behaviour.
The meeting in Geneva condemned Israel as "an
occupying power," calling on Israel to "refrain from
committing grave breaches" of the convention
including "willful killing, torture, unlawful deportation,
collective penalties and unjustified restrictions of free
Only once before, despite the myriad murderous,
genocidal conflicts that have raged these past five
decades since the convention was enshrined into
international law, have the nations of the world
convened to consider the application of convention
rules. That was on July 15, 1999, also in Geneva, also
to upbraid and isolate Israel. But that meeting lasted
only 17 minutes and then it was adjourned. And
Canada boycotted it.
The gathering last week was the resumption of this
adjourned meeting. Last week, Canada supported the
That decision was deplorable.
After Durban, there can no longer be even the
pretense of justification for casting a vote of support. If
Durban taught us anything, it is that the torrents of
anti-Semitic, anti-Israel language that have flowed
unabated from the UN since 1967 have indeed
poisoned the wells of international discourse, if not the
minds and hearts of millions of unsuspecting people
around the world.
"Assaultive speech is dangerous," MP Irwin Cotler
has told us. And he is absolutely correct.
Why Canada would lend its name to this latest wave
of "assaultive speech" is puzzling and disappointing. It
makes a mockery of everything the government tried to
achieve in Durban.The explanatory statements by the
Canadian delegate after the vote were meaningless for
they did not become part of the record. By having
supported the Geneva declaration, the government has
sided again with the forces that intend only to harm
It has also violated some of the fundamental
democratic values for which our country stands: truth,
fairness, justice and humanity.
©2001 - Canadian Jewish News