Canadian MPs line up to take free trips to Israel, courtesy of the lobby

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From Left to Right: Joël Godin (Cons.), Sharren Haskel, Ralph Jansen, Dr. Anat Berko, Yoel Hasson, Paul Lefebvre (Lib.), Alain Rayes (Cons.), Jean Rioux (Lib.) and Stephen Blaney (Cons.) in Israel. Every year dozens of Canadian Members of Parliament line up to take free trips to Israel, care of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) , a Canadian pro-Israel lobby group.  Read more…

There is nothing wrong, in principle, with MP’s accepting invitations to visit other countries to gain insight into complex political issues which affect Canadians.  Parliament has even established a conflict of interest code which allows MPs to accept “sponsored trips”, on the condition they report them to the ethics commissioner within 60 days. That report asks them to say what the objective of the trip was, who paid for it, and what it cost. Many MPs justify their sponsored trips by insisting they’re educational and offer them the experience and knowledge they need to debate international issues more confidently.

However, when the trip is paid for by one “side” in a difficult conflict, alarm bells should ring. “Federal ethics rules say it is illegal for lobbyists to do anything that puts an MP or government official in even an appearance of a conflict of interest, and paying for an MP’s trip that costs thousands of dollars definitely crosses that line,” said Duff Conacher, co-founder of Democracy Watch. When MP’s wives (or even children) are also invited to join the trip, the appearance of conflict of interest is even stronger as the line between business and pleasure is smudged.

According to The 2016 sponsored travel list, released last March by then federal Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson, twelve Liberals, nine Conservatives and three NDP members were recipients of $220,000 of largesse in 2016 from CIJA a registered lobby group.

These CIJA sponsored trips to Israel were usually labelled as “parliamentary missions” or ” opportunities to meet with stakeholders and government officials”, or trips “to increase personal awareness of the situation in the Middle East”. But according to i-Politics, CIJA also used its influence to lobby most of the MP’s at other times during the same year — in some cases, frequently.

Here is the list of MP’s who benefited in 2016 from CIJA or other pro-Israel lobby groups, according to Dawson’s report:

Liberal:

  1. Di Iorio, Nicola
  2. Fillmore, Andy
  3. Fuhr, Stephen
  4. Grewal, Raj
  5. Lefebvre, Paul
  6. Levitt, Michael
  7. Longfield, Lloyd
  8. Mendicino, Marco
  9. O’Regan, Seamus
  10. Rioux, Jean
  11. Ruimy, Dan
  12. Sorbara, Francesco

Conservative: 

  1. Albas, Dan
  2. Bergen, Candice
  3. Blaney, Steven
  4. Gladu, Marilyn
  5. Godin, Joël
  6. Raitt, Lisa
  7. Rayes, Alain
  8. Rempel, Michelle
  9. Richards, Blake

NDP

  1. Dubé, Matthew
  2. Garrison, Randall
  3. Rankin, Murray

Where do the MP’s go on CIJA trips? What do they learn?

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Kelly McCaulay, MP, Edmonton, second from left, gets a security briefing along with other MPs

CIJA does not make public the itinerary for the travelling MP’s.

However, in a report to his constituents after a trip  in August 2017, Edmonton MP Kelly McCaulay gave a detailed day by day description of the 5 days of meetings organized by CIJA for him and several other parliamentarians.

It included:

  • a tour of the Knesset and meetings with Israeli Members of Knesset
  • a tour of Yad Vashem, Israel’s National Holocaust Museum
  • a demonstration of Israeli security concerns and actions
  • a visit to Ramallah and Jerusalem’s security barrier
  • a dinner with Dr. Yuval Steinitz, Israeli Minister of Intelligence
  • a visit to the (occupied) Syrian Golan Heights, with a strategic briefing
  • a visit to Masada, one of Israel’s most popular tourist destinations, where legend has it that Jews fought to their death against the Romans in 60 a.d.
  • another strategic briefing in Northern Israel at the Misgav Am lookout overlooking Lebanon.
  • a Shabbat Dinner with Ralph Jansen, the Canadian Deputy Head of Mission at the Canadian Embassy.

Noticeably absent from this list is any reference to any visit or meeting related to any of the Palestinian concerns. No visit to a refugee camp. No meetings with Palestinian members of the Israeli Knesset. No mention of discussions with the Palestinian Authority. No mention of human rights concerns, or to visit Palestinians (including children) in Israeli jails. The group apparently made no attempt to visit Gaza.

Its hard to see how this visit would help MP’s to understand and learn more about the situation in the Middle East in any kind of balanced way.

So, should MP’s accept free trips from CIJA?

MPs should explore the world and know it better so that they are well informed when it comes to discussing and debating international issues relevant to Canada. That includes travel to the middle east.

MP’s have limited time and limited budgets, so it seems reasonable to take advantage of “sponsored” opportunities when they arise.

However, in travelling to countries where there are conflictual situations, it would seem important to see various sides of the issues at play. The higher the level of conflict, the more important this is.

Who would think it “ethical” for an MP to take a trip to Myanmar, for example, funded and organized by “friends of the Myanmar government”?

Who would think it “ethical” for an MP to take a trip to Myanmar today, funded and organized by friends of the Myanmar government? Especially if the agenda didn’t include visits to areas where the Rohingya are located or discussions with NGO’s about the Rohingya situation?

CTIP does not oppose sponsored trips to Israel in principle, if they are in fact aimed at understanding issues, and not just a free family vacation. Political parties should have guidelines for MPs travelling to areas of conflict like Israel/Palestine to ensure a balanced agenda which incorporates different perspectives.

In addition to travelling inside Israel and meeting Israeli officials, MP’s on a CIJA sponsored trip, for example, should ensure that they get to visit and meet with Palestinians inside Israel, in the West Bank and Gaza, to visit refugee camps and to meet with a range of international, Israeli and Palestinian NGO’s. Conversely, any MP on a trip funded by a Palestinian Canadian lobby group, should be willing to explore the Israeli perspective.

If the sponsoring organization is unwilling to accommodate a request for “balance”, individual MP’s should draw their own conclusions about whether the trip is really aimed at increasing “awareness” or whether it is aimed at winning friends and influencing people.

______________________________________________________

Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) aims to promote a serious discussion in Canada about the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue. We invite brief comments (under 100 words) from readers. No links to other websites/articles/YouTube, please. Both Zionist and non-Zionist opinion is welcome as long as it is expressed in a respectful way. Comments that include personal attacks on other commentators, foul language or are racist/antisemitic/Islamophobic will be deleted without warning. 

To learn more about what we do, contact us at membership.ctip@gmail.com.

 

34 comments

  1. thanks for these details (who accepts this “free” trip and what it entails, and doesn’t). It is up to us to ask them questions now about this trip and challenge them about what they learned (or didn’t).

  2. These MPs are just being shuffled around in a Soviet-style rodomontade. Shame on them, for being so stupidly naïve or worse, to endorse an apartheid regime.
    One can even question in some single cases, if it is not treasonous to sustain Israel rather than Canada’s values of freedom and democracy.

    1. Hey Alexy, I agree that there are many examples of where Israel’s values (at least in practice) are not the same as Canada’s. But that is also true for lots of countries. I’m not clear on where the “treason” would be.

      1. Hello Peter, perhaps “treason” is a strong word which incidentally, has recently been used improperly by Trump, My point is simply this: Can a Canadian MP sustain a foreign government to the point that this goes against the values he was elected to protect?
        To be clear. In the USA nobody had anything to say about the fact that the White House Chief of Staff under Obama was also an Israeli citizen (Rahm Emanuel). Nobody except the rest of the world of course. The USA is a bad example, so why should Canada follow a similar path? What about the thousands of Jews who oppose the Israeli illegal occupation of Palestine (Naturei Karta). What about all the UN resolutions Israel completely ignored, including the illegal annexation of Syrian territory? No law-abiding Canadian politician should accept that without questioning first the Israeli representatives about their breach of international law.

  3. So Peter,

    Do ANY of these people actually know the background. Among them, there must be at least one who would actually care. My guess is that they agree on a junket without thinking.

    Brother doug

    From: Canada Talks Israel/Palestine
    Reply-To: Canada Talks Israel/Palestine
    Date: Saturday, February 10, 2018 at 8:16 PM
    To: “Douglas W. Larson”
    Subject: [New post] Canadian MPs line up to take free trips to Israel, courtesy of the lobby

    Peter Larson posted: ” From Left to Right: Joël Godin (Cons.), Sharren Haskel, Ralph Jansen, Dr. Anat Berko, Yoel Hasson, Paul Lefebvre (Lib.), Alain Rayes (Cons.), Jean Rioux (Lib.) and Stephen Blaney (Cons.) in Israel. Every year dozens of Canadian Members of Parliament lin”

    1. Hey Doug, thanks for the question. I think most MP’s realize why they are being given a free trip. Some do it willingly (it is a free trip after all) and some say to themselves “well, I’m smart enough not to get sucked in, I’m just going to look.” I assume that some of them are encouraged to travel there by key donors whom they want to please as well. A variety of motives. BTW – I have talked to a couple of people who have taken these trips who have said to me ‘not everyone drinks the coolaid”.

      1. Hi Peter, I’m sure there are some who don’t “drink the coolaid”, but are there any who bother to seek out Palestinians, visit either Gaza or the Westbank or ask difficult questions on behalf of all Canadians, not just those who paid for their freebie?

        We’re all aware of the near solid lock hold the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee has on Washington and the US veto it provides Israel with on each and every effort by the UN to rein in Israel’s abuse of resident Palestinians.

        Our current Canadian government had to be walked back from imposing criminal legislation on Canadians who might participate or show support for the growing worldwide BDS movement, an obvious indication that one-sided travel freebies pose an increasing threat to the rights of Canadians to free speech.

        If the NDP cannot work toward a Canadian solution that deals with Canadian needs rather than the wants of a foreign government, then I’m afraid we’re headed toward the same crisis stonewalling Washington and it’s supposed influence in trying to find a solution to this 70 year old mess.

  4. Are the CIJA members lobbyists to our government? In that case they should also get in trouble like Trudeau did when he accepted a trip to Aga Khan.

    1. Hey Anita, CIJA is a registered lobbying organization. You raise a good question. I’m not clear why these (and other MP’s) are treated differently than Trudeau. Perhaps the bar is higher for the PM. I think EVERYONE would agree that it would not be proper for Trudeau to take a free trip paid for by CIJA. I assume CIJA would also agree that that would be problematic.

      1. The charge is that Justin Trudeau got a personal benefit from his trip. It was, after all, billed as a family vacation. The trips that you are discussing are claimed to be on legislative business. Theoretically, all they gain from those trips is knowledge and fatigue.

  5. Dear Peter,

    Thanks so much for this excellent article! I also did an analysis of all the MP sponsored travel. In addition to the facts you’ve reported, I noticed that: CIJA sponsored MP travel constituted almost 30% of all MP travel, and ALL MP travel to Israel. In addition 4 other trips to other locations were sponsored by other Israel Lobby organizations (AIPAC, Republican Jewish Coalition, Parliamentary Committee against Anti-Semitism Foundation, and Iran Democratic Association). Israel was by far the most frequent destination country of MP travel (19 trips), followed by Taiwan (12) trips—another country with a strong interest in influencing Canadian policy. By contrast, all other countries received only between 1 to 4 sponsored MP trips, including Canada’s major trading partners, such as the US (4 trips, including 2 to attend AIPAC, and one to attend the Republican Jewish Coalition) and France (2 trips). CIJA frequently covered the costs of sending family members along—something only travel to Taiwan also did. As you pointed out, the given reasons for MPs accepting CIJA sponsored trips were very vague. In contrast, travel to other countries had specific purposes, relevant to their portfolios, such as keynote speaker at 2016 Kyiv Security Forum, Celebratory inaugural flight of Alkan Air route, Global conference of Parliamentarians on Population Development, Attend Global conference for Parliamentarians on Population and Development toward the 2016 G7 Ise-Shima Summit, Panelist at 2016 Toronto Conference on Germany.

    I believe a strong case can be made that MPs accepting CIJA sponsored travel to Israel violates the letter and spirit of the Conflict of Interest Act and the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons. Coming soon after the Conflict of Interest an dEthics Commissioner high-profile scolding of PM Trudeau for accepting the helicopter ride to the Agha Khan’s island, it would be difficult for the new Commissioner to ignore a legal challenge to MPs accepting CIJA (and Taiwan and other) clearly lobbying trips.

    I am convening a small working group of those interested in this topic (and possibly other challenges to CIJA). Would you be interested in joining us?

    Warmly,

    Diana

    >

  6. Members of Parliament would sell their mothers, daughters, sisters and wives if they thought the Jewish lobby would not prevent their replacement by an Israeli stooge on their Party list of approved candidates. It is the same here in Canada as it is in the US. You don’t get nominated if you are not reliably sold out to the Israeli-apartheid Zionist cause..Liberals, Conservatives, NDP, Green, all the same. Shame on them, shame on us. Michael Fish Longueuil, QC

    1. Hey Michael Fish, i dont think the evidence supports you. I would not include Elizabeth May (GPC), Alexandre Boulerice (NDP) or Marwan Tabbara (Lib) as sold out to the Israeli-apartheid Zionist cause. But you are right that all 3 political parties accept the Zionist idea that Israel should be a Jewish State and underestimate how much damage this does to the Palestinians.

  7. Diana, I’m very glad to hear of your small working group, and that there will be further exploration and possibly action re this issue.

  8. My former MP went on such a trip. He told me he was not allowed to go into Bethlehem for security reasons. When I told him that I had traveled on public buses in the West Bank, and gone to Bethlehem many times, he was surprised. This is too one-sided. Canadian MP’s should also be meeting Canadians who are volunteering in both Israel and Palestine to get a more accurate picture. Thank you for naming the MP’s and the trip agenda.

  9. Democracy requires continuous maintenance. Checks and balances are always necessary, especially when there is a serious question about conflict of interest. I do not assume that all MPs who accepted CIJA/Israeli free trips are doing bad things on purpose. However, this article and comments on it present enough facts to raise a serious question whether our MPs are under the influence of a foreign government. I believe Diana’s initiative is really useful. This is the role of engaged citizens. Our MPs should take note that we question and care.

  10. A shy Zionist wrote me a private email but didn’t want to put it up publicly. Here it is, without his name. It is a question others might have wondered about, so I print it, and then answer it.

    His letter….

    Hello Peter, I hope you are doing well, I saw your piece about the CIJA trips very interesting, great piece of journalism .

    You are also organizing one-sided trips to Israel. Don’t you think that given your stance on the CIJA trips, it will be fair for you to make the itinerary of these trips public?
    ______________________________________

    My response…
    Hello friend, thanks for asking. I think you are making an erroneous assumption.

    The trips I have led are called “Come and See” Trips, and are organized on a “50-50” basis.

    We spend half of our time in Israel and half in the West Bank, half talking to Jews, half talking to Palestinians. Among the Jews it ranges from Settlers (on the right) to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (liberal Zionists) to non Zionists (on the left).

    I think that the best way for people to learn is to be exposed to all points of view and compare that to what they see on the ground.

  11. The entity known as “Israel” **is racist, fascistic, an illegal/belligerent/brutal occupier, an ethnic cleanser – well over one million native Palestinians violently dispossessed and expelled between late 1947 and 1967 – and a well documented serial violator of hard won international humanitarian law, e.g., the UN Charter, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, The Fourth Geneva Convention and the Rome Statute.

    Why anyone other than Zionist sympathizers or unprincipled self-serving politicians would want to visit the entity known as “Israel” is beyond me. To do so is to validate Israel’s monstrous crimes against the Palestinians, the indigenous inhabitants, as well as other Arabs, e.g., those killed and expelled from Syria’s Golan Heights and Lebanon’s Shebba Farms/Kfarshuba hills during the war the entity known as “Israel” launched on 5 June 1967 and still occupies.

    Nor should we forget that the Gaza Strip is still illegally/belligerently/cruelly occupied by the entity known as “Israel” while its inhabitants, especially children, are forced to suffer from a lack of the necessities of life.

    To wit:
    Human Rights Watch, 2005: “…Israel will continue to be an Occupying Power [of the Gaza Strip] under international law and bound by the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention because it will retain effective control over the territory and over crucial aspects of civilian life. Israel will not be withdrawing and handing power over to a sovereign authority – indeed, the word ‘withdrawal’ does not appear in the [2005 disengagement] document at all… The IDF will retain control over Gaza’s borders, coastline, and airspace, and will reserve the right to enter Gaza at will. According to the Hague Regulations, ‘A territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army. The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised’. International jurisprudence has clarified that the mere repositioning of troops is not sufficient to relieve an occupier of its responsibilities if it retains its overall authority and the ability to reassert direct control at will.”

    The International Committee of the Red Cross: “The whole of Gaza’s civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law. The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, ratified by Israel, bans collective punishment of a civilian population.”

    “In practice, Gaza has become a huge, let me be blunt, concentration camp for right now 1,800,000 people” – Amira Hass, 2015, correspondent for Haaretz, speaking at the Forum for Scholars and Publics at Duke University.

    “‘The significance of the [then proposed] disengagement plan [implemented in 2005] is the freezing of the peace process,’ Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s senior adviser Dov Weisglass has told Ha’aretz. ‘And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda….’ Weisglass, who was one of the initiators of the disengagement plan, was speaking in an interview with Ha’aretz for the Friday Magazine. ‘The disengagement is actually formaldehyde,’ he said. ‘It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.’” (Top PM Aide: Gaza Plan Aims to Freeze the Peace Process, Ha’aretz, October 6, 2004)

    To be blunt, I don’t think the Canadian politicians lining up to visit Israel today would have visited Germany during WWII. Shame on them!!!

    **”Israel” is neither a state nor a country, i.e., it has yet to officially declare its borders and have them agreed to as such by the international community.

    1. Hey David,
      Your comment leads one to wonder whether you think Canada should see Israel as an “enemy state” like we did Germany.

      Do you worry that aggressive talk like this might frighten Canadian Jews and push them into retreating into Zionism?

      1. Hi Peter

        No, I do not view the entity known as “Israel” as an “enemy state” of Canada.

        It is, however, a well documented fascistic, expansionist criminal entity that for 70 years has been occupying, dispossessing, expelling, brutalizing and oppressing the indigenous Palestinians as well as other Arabs. Hence, as Canada did regarding Germany during WWII, our federal governments should condemn and treat the entity known as “Israel” as a rogue and a pariah.

  12. Thanks Peter for stimulating discussion on a lot of interesting issues pertaining to the trips for MPs and their families to Israel sponsored by CIJA.

    It is probably more precise to call CIJA a Canadian Jewish organization, one of whose goals is generating support for Israel in Canada, which employs registered lobbyists like Mr.Fogel who have a mandate to meet with and lobby Canadian public office holders to advance CIJA interests. As such these trips are probably reported as part of the lobbying effort on the lobbying web site but may have escaped any conflict of interest guidelines which actual gifts from lobbyists to MPs may not. The trips would àlso have to pass muster from the Ethics commissioner and any Parliamentary oversight mechanism. In contrast to the Taiwan trips which must be paid for by the Government of Taiwan directly or indirectly, there does not seem to be evidence that the Israeli govt is paying for these trips unless some local support is given. Of course any foreign embassy in Ottawa can engage public or government relations firms which then must disclose any lobbying of public officials covered by the Act. Unlike the USA, Canada does not have a foreign agent registration requirement which Aipac has escaped in the US, but which RT has not.

    Many have pointed out the unbalanced nature of these trips in focussing on official Israel govt meetings and perhaps failing to take a good hard look at the Palestinian side as the CTIP trips do. Indeed, much more balance would help. Note from the itinerary that at least the CIJA group goes now to Ramallah whereas in the past any meetings with Palestinians took place in Jerusalem albeit often in East Jerusalem. Presumably however the MPs will get some look at the nature of the Israel Palestine conflict just by going through the checkpoints and driving on the settler only roads and gazing at the great separation wall that looms up in the most inopportune places foreinstance around Bethlehem’s Church of the Holy Nativity. They certainly should be talking to MKs of all political stripes including from the Joint List of mainly Arab background as well as Israeli and Palestinian NGOS.

    Above all however these trips should focus the minds of the MPs not just on the Israeli govt point of view but on what steps are necessary to move the situation forward. Presumably they are receiving briefings from the Canadian embassy to Israel in Tel Aviv and the mission to the Palestinian authority in Ramallah and from Global Affairs before they leave. Maybe these trips might give the MPs some ideas on how Canada could help unblock the current situation and take a stronger leadership role even if such ideas do not fully accord with the CiJA point of view.
    For example in lieu of CIJA wanting Canada to follow Trump with his Jerusalem announcement and proclaim Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the capital of the Jewish people, the MPs with their now greater knowledge of the situation could encourage a more cooperative and viable universally supported approach with West Jerusalem the capital of the Jewish state of Israel, East Jerusalem the capital of the Arab state of Palestine; and the holy sites of Judaism, Christianity and Islam internationalized to ensure access for all and to make Jerusalem a city of peace.

    George Jacoby

  13. Thanks for this, Peter. At a basic level, I find it shocking that MPs are allowed to accept — and accept — large gifts, worth thousands of dollars, from one side of a contentions issue, on which MPs are expected to vote. Never mind the propaganda; if CIJA gave them free trips to Bahamas, would that be permitted?

    A couple of small comments on your blog. You write that the trip included “a tour of the Knesset and meetings with Israeli Members of Knesset.” All MKs are Israeli, of course. I trust you mean Jewish MKs — especially since you later write that the trip included “No meetings with Palestinian members of the Israeli Knesset.”

    I’m fussy about this, because there is a tendency for people to write “Israelis” when they are referring specifically to Jewish Israelis — i.e., they write as if all Israelis were Jewish. As you know — better than most — some 20 per cent of Israelis are Palestinian Muslim or Christian.

    You also write that the trip includes “a visit to Masada, one of Israel’s most popular tourist destinations, where legend has it that Jews fought to their death against the Romans in 60 a.d.”

    As it happens, I wrote a play called “Masada,” and am familiar with the story, which rests somewhere between legend and history. According to the Jewish-Roman historian Josephus, the siege of Masada by Roman soldiers ended with the mass suicide of 960 people who preferred death to surrender.

    It’s generally described as a mass suicide, but Josephus says the men killed their families, and then drew lots to determine which men got to kill the other men, and then the leader killed the remaining men and himself. The site was re-discovered in 1956 and immediately became contentious: were the Sicarii (sometimes called Zealots) heroic Jews who preferred death to dishonour? Or were they fanatic idiots? (Are contemporary Jewish Israelis heroic or are they suicidal idiots?)

    In any case, it’s a fascinating story, with new archaeological evidence all the time.

    1. For the record:

      Israel is the only country in the world that differentiates between citizenship and nationality, i.e., “Israeli” nationality does not exist, only Jews and non-Jews, and each citizen carries an appropriate identity card. While the implications of this absurdity for discrimination and racism against non-Jews are obvious, it has been upheld by Israel’s Supreme Court.

      1. Hello David, this is a very serious issue. Can you document it as I knew nothing about it? I suspect that there are a lot of people out there just as ignorant as me.
        As for your harsh words, we all have to be conscious of the exposed facts and nations should act accordingly as they did with South Africa. However, the reality is permeated with hypocrisy and your attitude is not going to change anything, except heightening the barrier which hinders dialogue. I know for a fact that many Jews do not like the current regime, established after the “coup” following Rabin’s assassination. So we should accept the fact that Israel exists and that it can be different.

      2. And that “discrimination” is front and centre today as the trial of 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi began today behind closed doors and out of sight of media in an Israeli military court. Apparently in this “democracy” the right to a public trial even for a child is subject to political consideration.

        One has to assume Israel’s government and it military that claim to fear no other nation, trembles at the thought of a child willing to stand up for what she believes.

        And why, because as you note David, she is one of the “others” who are treated somewhat differently in that “democracy.”

    1. This is shocking! Trudeau also stated: “… and we are proud to call Israel our partner and call Israelis our friends.” Someone ought to tell his speechwriter that there is not such thing as “Israelis” (see link published by Arthurmilner above, where the Supreme Court of Israel reiterated the fact that there is no such thing as an Israeli nationality, but only Jewish and in sub-order, Arab, Druze, etc..).
      I believe he should avoid any remembrance next May 2nd, or take the opportunity to criticize the current regime. Should he do so, Canadian citizens should take position and defend the populations living in what was once known as Palestine.

      1. Hey Alexy, With respect, I think you are confusing two things.

        There definitely is a State of Israel, recognized by Canada and the UN etc. People who live there can carry an Israeli passport and can be said to have Israeli “nationality”.

        However, all Israelis have to carry an identity card on which it is marked whether they are “Jewish” or “Arab” or whatever. Discrimination inside Israel depends a lot on what is on your card. One identity that is not allowed by the Supreme Court inside Israel is “Israeli”, because that would end the main legal tool by which Jews maintain their dominant position in Israeli society.

        If you want to know more about this, you might want to take a look at one of my video lectures: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_n7PBdAYeng&t=1s

        If you still don’t agree, pls. feel free to rebut/question/comment. thanks.

      2. Hello Peter Larson, thank you very much for taking your time in explaining this rather confusing issue. I understand what you mean and I will be glad to listen to your video. I heard that recently a similar rule was undone in Egypt, in order to avoid religious discrimination. Now there is no more religious distinction on Egyptian IDs and Christian women have now finally the right to divorce (Muslim women have had this right since inception of Islam).
        The Supreme court ruling opens another door which is racial bias. How long will it be before Israeli Muslims and Christians will have to sit on the back of the bus?
        Thank you for your good work and let us pray for peace in the Middle East.

      3. Hey Alexy, I hope you don’t mind, but I would like to offer a small correction to what you said. Many states in the region legally discriminate against certain groups of its own citizens. Lebanon, Jordan, Iran and Syria Arabia, also do so, and no doubt other states as well. However, those other states don’t pretend to be European-style democracies as Israel does. Canada criticizes human rights abuses in some of those countries, but overlooks them in others. According to official Canadian policy, Israel is a “friend and ally”, so we ignore its human rights abuses.

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