‘Dirty Dozen’ threaten integrity of Canada’s foreign policy
Alberta Arab News
January 8, 2004

On Dec. 12, after much pressure from within the Liberal Party, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien resigned. For Canadians long accustomed to criticizing his Liberal government over the last decade, last year was a time to be unabashedly proud of him.

Despite incessant hectoring from the U.S., Canada’s Jewish Lobby, and the Lobby’s mouthpieces in Parliament, Chrétien prevented Canada from being sucked into George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq. His refusal to go along with this aggression will go down as one of the great examples of Canadian statesmanship. Of course, any time Canada stands up to the U.S. is cause for celebration.

This country has struggled to define an independent military and foreign policy since the end of World War II. To a large extent, these policies have been subsumed under the rubric of the United Nations and NATO, where U.S. dominance is somewhat attenuated.

In fact, Chrétien could not have joined the Texecutioner’s maniacal misery tour precisely because it wasn’t sanctioned by the UN or NATO. To join would have violated the Defence Act.

Knowing the law and having the courage to uphold it consistently, though, are two different things. During Chrétien’s final term, Canada repeatedly refused to go along with the U.S.–Israel axis, but its UN voting record was inconsistent.

On Oct. 7, 2000, as a member of the Security Council, Canada supported Resolution 1322, which condemned Israel’s excessive use of force against Palestinians, and demanded that Israel abide by its obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention. At an Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly 13 days later, Canada abstained on Resolution ES-10/7, which said essentially the same thing.

On Oct. 21, 2003, Canada supported Resolution ES-10/13, which declared Israel’s apartheid wall to be illegal, and condemned Israel for confiscating and destroying Palestinian land, resources and lives. Yet on Dec. 8, Canada abstained on Resolution ES-10/L.16 to refer the matter to the International Court of Justice for an urgent opinion. (The Court will hear the case, and Israel’s own justice [sic] minister is petrified.)

The only rational explanation for these inconsistencies must be pressure from The Lobby and/or the U.S. One could argue that Canada’s abstentions on clear-cut matters of international legal precedent represented cowardice, but the fact that Canada did not vote against the resolutions is more significant. Canada has little room to manoeuvre and must pick its battles carefully.

Perhaps knowing that he wouldn’t be around to contest another election emboldened Chrétien to dig his heels in on Iraq. Perhaps he valued Canadian lives and Canada’s reputation too much to waste them in an ignoble cause. Perhaps he simply refused to be party to a massacre. Whatever his reasons, Canadians have been spared the ignominy of watching their armed services take part in a war crime for the sake of oil and Greater Israel.

This will doubtless be Chrétien’s chief political legacy to the nation. What will become of it under his successor, former finance minister Paul Martin, is a matter of grave concern. 

In a paper to the Department of Foreign Affairs last July, 12 MPs and senators from Canada’s heaviest Jewish ridings in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Winnipeg argued that Canada should reorient its policy toward Israel.

Four of these MPs (Carolyn Bennett, Jim Peterson, Joe Volpe and Irwin Cotler) hold cabinet positions in Martin’s government. Another, Sen. Jack Austin, is leader pro tem of the Official Opposition.* Although these voices for Israel do not have direct control over foreign policy—Bill Graham retains his position as Foreign Affairs Minister—they will doubtless try to influence Martin.

The paper, A Proposal for a Canadian Position on Israel and the Middle East, identifies the first eight Liberal signatories as “a group of Members of Parliament who concern themselves with ‘Israeli Issues’ in caucus.” The description should read “Israeli agents working to subvert the Canadian government.”

For all of its useful content, the paper might as well have been written on B’nai Brith letterhead. It consists solely of Zionist misrepresentations of international law and history, slanders against the UN and Middle East states, apologias for Israeli terror, and sycophantic support for our “ally.”

Nowhere do the authors show their true intent more clearly than in their condemnation of the UN and Canada’s voting record. They allege that the UN harbours an “anti-Israeli bias,” and that an “Arab bloc” dominates a “politicized” General Assembly. This is patently absurd.

The fact that many resolutions condemn Israel has nothing to do with bias, and everything to do with legal precedent, Israel’s persistent contempt for the law and deliberate persecution of Palestinians. Israel stands in violation of more than 68 UN resolutions, yet nowhere do the authors mention this fact as a possible reason for Canada’s voting pattern. For them, violence and terror are unique to Arabs. Israeli terror is merely legitimate self-defence.

The authors also do not appear to understand that UNSC Res. 242, passed unanimously in 1967, ordered Israel to cease its occupation of East Jerusalem, Gaza Strip, West Bank and Golan Heights in its entirety. Zionist dissemblers claim these Occupied Territories are “disputed,” but this is transparently fraudulent. Even Israelis speak of occupation.

Yet what do we get from these good Canadian [sic] representatives: “Canada should continue to vote against inflammatory resolutions, like the resolution cataloguing Israeli human rights violations in the disputed territories.” Even more disturbing and perverse is their advocacy for Israel to be made a member of the UN Commission on Human Rights.

Whether this “dirty dozen” will succeed in perverting Canada’s policy remains to be seen, but the presence of Irwin Cotler alone is enough to make anyone fear for Chrétien’s legacy and Canada’s self-respect.

More next column.

* The others are MPs Art Eggleton, Raymonde Folco, Marlene Jennings, Bernard Patry and Anita Neville; and senators Leo Kolber (ret.) and Richard Kroft. Eight of the 12 signed an earlier version on June 6.