There has been talk in Canada and Israel that Ottawa has changed its voting pattern in the UN General Assembly and plans to be more supportive of Israel.
That may be why Tarek Fatah of the Muslim Canadian Congress is telling Muslims to abandon the governing Liberal Party in favor of the socialist NDP because, "Paul Martin should not be rewarded for mimicking George Bush's foreign policy."
Israel's Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said, "We view these changes favorably."
Both sides should have looked at Canada's actual voting record before grabbing their bullhorns. The Muslim Canadian Congress can take comfort in knowing that Canada's voting record at the UN is as anti-Israel as it has always been. And Jews should first open the gift box before mailing their thankyou notes.
The great pro-Israel shift is a hoax - a well-orchestrated charade that has fooled both sides.
It all started on November 13 when Prime Minister Paul Martin spoke to an overwhelmingly Jewish audience at the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities (UJC) in Toronto. "We will continue to press for the kinds of [UN] reforms that will eliminate the politicization of the United Nations and its agencies," he declared, "and in particular, the annual ritual of politicized anti-Israel resolutions."
Now that sure sounds like the prime minister is acknowledging a serious problem and is about to do something about it.
As of December 8, all the General Assembly votes were cast and the facts speak for themselves. Of the 17 resolutions in this year's "annual ritual of politicized anti-Israel resolutions," Canada voted against Israel 11 times, down from 12 in 2004.
By comparison, the United States voted against Israel zero times, and Australia four times.
While the UN had the Jewish state on the ground beating the life out of the only democracy in the Middle East, Canada delivered 11 jackboot kicks this year. One less kick hardly warrants such grovelling from the Jews or claims from Muslims that the Liberals were turning into Zionists.
Both sides should have known better. A year ago, Canada's Ambassador to the United Nations Allan Rock announced that "resolutions [against Israel] are often divisive and lack balance," and hinted that he would improve the situation. The following day, Canada voted against Israel five out of six times on that year's first batch of anti-Israel resolutions.
IF I were a Muslim, I would be grateful that Canada's support is unwavering:
On Jerusalem, Canada holds that any actions taken by Israel to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City are illegal. It believes Israel has no jurisdiction over any part of Jerusalem. Earlier this year, Canada withdrew all passports that had "Jerusalem, Israel" as a place of birth.
In April 2002 Canada endorsed the "Jenin massacre" hoax and has yet to apologize.
Canada has called upon Israel "to cease obstructing the movement of the staff, vehicles and supplies of [UNRWA]." Canada endorsed this "free movement" after wire service videos showed UNRWA ambulances being used to transport terrorists, and an admission by UNRWA's secretary-general that some of their paid employees may be Hamas members. There has never been a call for UNRWA to end its involvement in terror.
Canada says Israel has obligations to Palestinian Arab refugees, with no balanced obligations to displaced Palestinian Jews for the same period.
Canada reiterated its calls for the prevention of all acts of violence by Israeli settlers, especially against Palestinian civilians and property, even though almost all such actions are defensive, with no balanced call for an end to offensive Palestinian violence against innocent civilians.
Canada endorses the idea that Palestinians have a right to their own state without obligating the PA to end terror.
But perhaps the most anti-Israel policy coming from Paul Martin's government was articulated by Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew in his article in the Ottawa Citizen on November 28. Canada's goal, he said, is "a vision of a democratic and secure Israel living side-by-side in peace and security with an independent, viable, democratic and territorially-contiguous Palestinian state."
Few seemed to notice that a territorially-contiguous Palestinian state means a non-contiguous Israel - one divided by a corridor of sovereign Palestinian territory.
ANY INSIGNIFICANT shift that might have occurred actually makes things worse for Israel, because it creates the impression of careful consideration being given to each resolution, the reasoned conclusion being that Israel is the overwhelming wrong-doer in the Middle East, and that the Palestinians deserve almost no censure.
Canada should not legitimize the perversion of UN resolutions which has transformed a tool for even-handed criticism of all member nations into a crude mechanism for bullying just one of them.
So the next time Canada's prime minister makes a speech, check the facts before jumping for joy.
The writer is president of the Canadian Coalition for Democracies.
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