Canadian support for Israel: Signs of a more aggressive international posture

While Canada has always supported Israel’s occupation of Palestine, it used to be less blunt about it, and would offer some modest public efforts to pass itself off as more balanced than it really was in practice. This strategy began to shift under the Paul Martin Liberal government in 2005, to the pleasure of the country’s influential Israel lobby, when Canada started voting with the small minority of the UN’s Israel supporters against General Assembly resolutions criticizing its occupation of the Palestinian territories and its military targeting of civilians.

This decisively pro-Israel shift was followed up by the Harper Tories’ uncritical support for Israel’s bloody war against Lebanon in the summer of 2006, in which over 1,000 people were killed, most of whom were Lebanese civilians. Among the non-combatants killed by Israel was a Canadian peacekeeper stationed at a UN post in the town of Khiam in south Lebanon. Israel claimed it didn’t know the peacekeepers were located there, but the UN insists Israel was notified several times of the peacekeepers’ position. Despite this, the Tories continued to uncritically support Israel, going so far as to work with the United States and Britain to undermine the efforts of European and Arab leaders to broker a ceasefire in order to allow Israel’s attack on Lebanon and Hezbollah positions to continue.

Firming up its pro-Israel credentials, Canada was also the first state to withdraw funding from the Palestinian Authority after the democratic election of Hamas in 2006, in an effort to punish the Palestinians for electing a party that is less than compliant towards imperialism in the Middle East.

Building on its diplomatic support for Israeli aggression, Canada subsequently announced in the fall of 2007 that it’s negotiating a counter-terrorism and homeland security agreement with the Zionist state. The agreement promotes greater cooperation on technology, counterterrorism efforts, border-crossing security and biometric identification among other things.

Contrary to its own export policy, which prohibits Canadian military exports to governments engaged in war or human rights violations, Canada also acts as an arms supplier to Israel. Canada is in fact consistently in the top ten of the world’s biggest military exporters. As the Coalition Opposed to the Arms Trade reports, Canadian companies have provided Israel with important high tech electronic components for its primarily U.S.-made weapons systems. These include components for Israel’s AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, F-15 Eagle tactical bombers and F-16 Fighting Falcon bombers.

Taking a more aggressive role in the world

Canada’s stance on Israel shouldn’t be taken in isolation. It needs to be situated within Canada’s overall foreign policy, which is becoming more belligerent. read full article


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