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Stirring Anti-Semitism
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October 30, 2000

In one of his first public statements as Foreign Minister, John Manley defended Canada's United Nations vote condemning Israel. "I don't think the interpretation given to the Security Council resolution as being a change in Canada's policy ... is correct," he said last week. This breathtaking statement is accurate only insofar as Canada's voting pattern at the UN has always contained some animus toward Israel. This spring, Canada voted in support of the Rome Convention, under which Israeli settlements in the West Bank might be regarded as a war crime. In July, 1998, Canada voted to give the Palestinian Liberation Organization new UN privileges, implicitly endorsing Palestinian statehood and violating the spirit of the Oslo peace accords. But resolution 1322, which Canada endorsed on Oct. 7, went further; it condemned Israel, winked at Palestinian violence and prejudged the outcome of the talks.

Resolution 1322 "deplores the provocation carried out at Al-Haram Al-Sharif." By using the word "provocation," it rebukes Israel for allowing its opposition leader to walk legally on the Temple Mount, the holiest of Jewish sites. By using the name Al-Haram Al-Sharif to describe the Temple Mount, Canada signals that Arabs own the ground that, under law, rightfully belongs to Israel. It cites "over 80 Palestinian deaths and many other casualties" but fails to mention a sole Israeli victim. It describes Israel as an "occupying" power, a loaded term. Adding insult to irony, it calls for an "objective" mechanism, presumably under UN auspices, to assign blame for the recent outbreak in Mideast violence.

The UN vote played into the hands of Yasser Arafat, the PLO leader, who is determined to seek a unilateral declaration of independence -- an idea Jean Chr├ętien, the Prime Minister, infamously endorsed in his gaffe-riddled trip to Israel. And, contrary to Mr. Manley's assertion, 1322 is a clear departure from Canadian policy. According to the Foreign Affairs Web site, "Canada opposes all attempts to prejudge the outcome of negotiations by one-sided resolutions in international fora." That may once have been true, but not anymore.

By indulging the anti-Israel sentiments of 1322, Canada has fomented violence rather than helped subdue it. As the Post has reported, anti-Jewish attacks in Canada have skyrocketed in recent weeks. That is a tragedy, but domestic anti-Semitism is hardly surprising when the government signs a venomously anti-Israeli UN resolution, which exculpates those orchestrating attacks on Jews in the Middle East.

© National Post 2000

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