Bob Rae, Canada’s newly appointed Ambassador to the United Nations, is generally regarded as “progressive” on many issues. However there is one big exception – human rights for Palestinians. He is an active supporter of Israel and involved in many Zionist organizations in Canada and in Israel. Read more…
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has named Bob Rae, a respected former Canadian politician, as Canada’s new Ambassador to the United Nations. Rae is a skilled lawyer who is known for having adopted many progressive causes over his long career. Among other things, he was arrested defending the land claims of Indigenous People in Temagami, and most recently he investigated the expulsion of Rohingya Muslims from Mayanmar and pleaded for the rights of the refugees.
A talented and experienced negotiator Rae prides himself on understanding various sides of any issue. And when it comes to the Israel/Palestine conflict, Rae likes to show that he understands the “two narratives”.
Rae travels to Israel regularly and is proud to say that he sometimes meets with senior Palestinian officials.
But in words and deeds, he makes it clear he sides with Israel and supports Zionism.
Rae has been honoured with a doctorate from Haifa University in Israel (a distinction he shares with a few other well-known Canadian Zionists including Irwin Cotler, Jason Kenny and Avi Benlolo).
He can be described as a “liberal” Zionist. He is a frequent speaker at events organized by J-Space Canada which describes itself as a “progressive” Zionist organization. J-Space supports the right of Jews to have a state which Jews control, based on the land that was taken from indigenous Palestinians in 1947/48.
Most “progressive” or “liberal” Zionists hope that by letting Palestinians retain a small piece of historic Palestine (less than 22%), Israel’s right to control the rest will be secured. This is often referred to as the “Two State Solution”.)
In addition to his honorary doctorate, Rae is also a member of Haifa’s University’s Board of Governors. Its annual meeting brings together over 300 members from around the world every year.
Haifa University is one of Israel’s most important. Among other things it is the home for Israel’s three military colleges which “form the backbone of the IDF’s elite training program”. According to the university’s newsletter, “This program is partially supported by donations from the Canadian Friends of Haifa University”, a registered Canadian charity of which Rae is a member.
The IDF is responsible for the killing of thousands of Palestinians civilians. It seems odd that Canadian taxes should support foreign military colleges, particularly those whose graduates are being investigated for war crimes by the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.
Rae is on record as strongly opposing the legal and nonviolent Palestinian protest movement called Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS). Rae has said that BDS is “wrong at every level‘.
It is not clear which of 3 demands of the BDS movement Rae opposes. Is it:
• Its demand to “end the occupation” which is overwhelmingly supported by the UN General Assembly and by Canada’s official foreign policy?
• Its demand for “equality” for all citizens of Israel, whether Jewish or not? Equality and democracy are values that Canada supports around the world?
• Its demand for the “right of return” for the Palestinian refugees whose claim has been confirmed by the UN and endorsed by Canada’s official foreign policy (and would appear to be no less valid than that of the Rohingya refugees)?
On November 24th 2019, Rae was a headliner at JNF Toronto’s 71st annual Negev Dinner. “The event was a sold out success with 1,500 community members in attendance who all took a stand to help combat anti-Zionism and antisemitism,” according to the JNF FB page. Many JNF projects support the dispossession of Palestinians from the West Bank (including in Canada Park and East Jerusalem) and inside Israel itself through the actions of KKL Israel and its subsidiaries.
Rae’s views on the Israel/Palestine issue accurately reflect those of the two faces of the Trudeau government which, while publicly claiming to be “a friend of both Israel and the Palestinian people”, actually does the opposite. In fact, Canada supports Israel and undermines the Palestinians in dozens of hidden (and not so hidden) ways at the UN and elsewhere.
Every fall, a series of resolutions is presented to the UN General Assembly on the Israel Palestine issue. Canada regularly casts its lot with Israel, the USA, and a handful of tiny countries against the overwhelming majority of UN members. Based on his public record, we can expect that Mr. Rae will happily continue the pattern.
Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) is the weekly newsletter of Peter Larson, Chair of the Ottawa Forum on Israel/Palestine (OFIP). It aims to promote a serious discussion in Canada about the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue with a focus on the truth, clear analysis and human rights for all. Readers with different points of view are invited to make comment.
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