Canada-Israel relations: what is there to know?

Canada and Israel have always had a special relationship, the two countries sharing diplomatic, commercial, and cultural ties. What mainly characterizes this connection is continuity. When did the friendship begin, anyway? For those of you who don’t know, Canada and Israel have been on good terms even before Israel declared statehood. In 1947, Canada was part of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine. Canadians supported the UN partition resolution 181, which led to the creation of the State of Israel. What is more, they were one of the first ones to recognize the “Jewish State”. The 1940s represented a time at which a decisive change occurred in the attitude towards Jewish problems.

Over the years, Canada has done nothing but support Israel. One of those significant moments was when the United Nations urged Israeli armed forces to withdraw from Palestine territories. Leaders kept on calling on Israel so as to withdraw their army, severely criticizing the government, while Canada opposed the UN resolutions. It’s important not to forget about the Israeli-Lebanon conflict when the relationships weakened. The Canadians simply refused to believe that the military activities were justified. That and the decreased influence of Canada in the Middle East contributed to the cooling of the relationships. Things started going great again when Stephen Harper became prime minister. What is certain is that, during that time, Canada proved to be the most reliable ally.

Have the relations changed in recent time?

At present, there are approximately 400,000 Jews in Canada. The matter of the fact is that Canada has been home to Jewish people since the dawn of time. They have been present in the territory for hundreds of years. Life isn’t hard for Jewish immigrants. Canadian Jews have managed to advance in society, enjoying wealth and prosperity. The generations of immigrants have understood that success is only possible when you work hard and you’re perseverant. The immigrants established large communities, which in turn developed into even larger communities. Many say that the number of Jews in Canada exceeds the one in Israel and the United States.

The question now is: Is Canada as committed as ever to Israel? You can certainly put it that way. Justin Trudeau, the current prime minister, continues the pro-Israeli policy introduced by the Harper government. Canada affirmed that they will not follow the example of the United States, whose intentions are to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but they have not been too convincing. Justin Trudeau insists on supporting Israel, being consistent with his opposition to the Boycott, Divertissement and Sanctions movement. Concerning the Canadian embassy, Trudeau stated that it will remain in Tel Aviv. There is no current interest in moving the embassy to Jerusalem.

There have many voices questioning the nature of the relationships between Canada and Israel. Should they be friends in the first place? This is not something that we can answer. It is up to the two countries to decide what is right and what is not.