How far have we come in Canada from the days of Stephen Harper, an era in which Canada was a strong, unapologetic friend to Israel and the government of Canada demonstrated an uncompromising commitment to combat anti-Semitism.
Today, we have a Liberal party that has no problem sending millions of dollars to a Palestinian entity that uses much of that money to reward terrorists and their families. And now, we have a double-barreled salvo from Ottawa ruling that Israel has no right to claim that Judea and Samaria are Israeli territory and that observant Jews are not entitled to any consideration in the scheduling of the upcoming federal election.
Let’s begin with the ruling from the Federal Court that says Israeli wines bottled in Judea and Samaria cannot be labelled as coming from Israel. The Court says that the West Bank is not part of Israel and that consumers have a right to be fully-informed about the origins of products so that they may choose to express their political views through their purchases.
Firstly, if Israel does not legally control the West Bank, who does then? Is it the Jordanians who seized the territory in 1948 (when it had been promised to the Jews as part of Israel given the Jewish presence in the area dating back thousands of years)? Is it the Palestinians who were not a distinct nationality at any time in the history of the Middle East and who have responded to every offer of sovereignty in the West Bank with terrorism and Intifadas? Or is it Israel, who captured the West Bank in a defensive war in 1967 and are under no moral or legal compulsion to cede territory to anyone who continues to question and threaten their very existence?
And for those who demand Israel’s withdrawal from the captured territories on purely moral grounds, can we try to remember what happened when Israel followed that course of action in Gaza? The Palestinians answered Israel’s goodwill gesture with rocket fire and terrorist incursions. No serious student of Middle Eastern history could argue that a similar, unilateral withdrawal from Judea and Samaria would produce a different result.
One must also speculate about the Federal Court’s understanding of the motivations of the consumers behind this labeling kerfuffle. Does the Court really believe that these consumers who refuse to purchase wines from Judea and Samaria would happily buy those wines if they were bottled outside of Tel Aviv? Not a chance, meaning the Court is evidently unaware of B.D.S.’s very raison-d’être.
Perhaps the day will come when Israel turns over parts of Judea and Samaria to a Palestinian government that truly embraces coexistence and an enduring peace, but today is not that day, and until such an unlikely scenario unfolds, Israel has every right to consider those areas as part of Israel.
Now, let’s talk about Elections Canada deciding not to change the date of the upcoming federal election, which falls on a Jewish holiday. No big deal imposing significant hardships on observant Jewish candidates and voters according to the government. Well, it is a big deal because there are approximately 275 days a year where Jews can drive and campaign and vote so how hard would it be to accommodate these people?
Again, I believe this decision has to be understood in context of a worsening environment for Jews around the world. Canada could have demonstrated that this is a country that values and appreciates its Jewish citizens, but instead, Elections Canada decided that the concern of the complainants was of no great consequence. A pity that bureaucrat regulations trump exhibiting respect for a portion of our population that has contributed so much to Canada.