The flags of Israel and Canada.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Canadian Conservative Party on Sunday vowed that, should it be elected to form a government in 2019, it will recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
"Canada’s Conservatives have been, and always will be, a strong voice for Israel and the Canadian Jewish community," the statement on the party's website read.
"Israel is one of Canada's strongest allies and a beacon of pluralism and democratic principles in a turbulent part of the world."
The addition of this clause to the party's platform is not entirely surprising, as Conservative members of parliament have been marking the same promise for decades. Ahead of his election to the party's leadership in 1979, former prime minister Joe Clark vowed to move the embassy, but reneged on this promise after being elected.
Since then, various hopeful Conservative leaders have made the same pledge, but none have followed through.
During his tenure, former prime minister Stephen Harper, a Conservative, traveled to Israel and gave a speech at the Knesset, in which he told MKs "through fire and water, Canada stands with you."
"Canada supports Israel because it is right to do so," he added.
During his tenure as the head of government, Harper pushed a directive to criminalize criticism of Israel, a move seen as an affront to freedom of speech by many in Canada's progressive ranks. One Canadian Jewish human rights organization, Independent Jewish Voices Canada, criticized the move, saying that the government was "determined to target people who expose and oppose Israel's mistreatment of the Palestinians" and that the effort "can only put a chill on Canadian democracy."
Canada was one of the 35 states that abstained from the recent United Nations vote rebuking US President Donald Trump's December recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and his declaration of his intention to relocate the American embassy there.
Last week, American officials announced that the embassy would be moved from its current location in Tel Aviv to its new home in Jerusalem in May. The only nation that has followed the US in relocating its embassy since Trump's announcement has been Guatemala.
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