CANADA’S BID TO RETURN TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL

Here is a new article from Paul Merkley, reprinted by permission.

Shortly after his election,  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that his Liberal government will be actively pursuing assignment to the next seat available on the United Nations Security Council.

(The Council is composed of 15 Members: five permanent members: China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States and ten  non-permanent members elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly. The current non-permanent members are: Bolivia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Italy, Japan,. Kazakhstan, Senegal, Sweden, Ukraine and Uruguay.)

The current competition is for the term scheduled to begin in 2020. This means that Canada will have plenty of time to play nice to the electors. The electors consist of the nations  belonging to the  Western European and Others Group (WEOG.)

There is a story that goes with creation of the WEOG. The Arab and Muslim nations would much prefer that Israel and the Jews should not exist at all and most of them are publicly declared in favour of their liquidation. Finding themselves, through no fault of their own, sitting  side-by-side with these people in the General Assembly, they have until recently managed to keep Israel off all the main commissions. They had accomplished this by excluding her from the Asia-Pacific Group to which she logically belongs, until May 2000, when , following much arm-twisting by the American delegation, Israel was allowed to became a full member of WEOG, on a temporary basis; in December 2013, Israel became full permanent member of the WEOG group.

Believe it or not, the “Others” in this “regional” group are New Zealand, Israel and Turkey. Like almost everything that happens at the UN this odd grouping (WEOG) proved necessary because the Arab States refused to break bread with Jews.

The first rule to understanding behaviour of nation-states in the General Assembly is the inordinate power of the 57-nation Islamic bloc (the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.), Its members are only a minority of the nations of the world, but because it is the only continuing bloc  no one on earth knows how many deals its members have outstanding with other nations of the world on matters of no interest to those other nations. This bloc can call in all the anti-Israel spirits at any time.

The last time that Canada made a bid for a Security Council seat it was shot down by this Islamic bloc. Despite winning a seat on the UN Security Council every decade since its inception, in 2010, the Conservative government withdrew its candidacy in October, 2010, when it became clear it would not receive the votes required to secure a seat. No one made a secret of the fact that the loss of this prestige opportunity was the price that Canada had to pay for its support Israel at the UN. The seat went, instead to Portugal, a loyal supporter of the EU’s “even-handed”  views on the Arab-Israeli conflict, and a country beholden to the European community for its recent rescue from massive budgetary deficit.

Immediately following the UN rebuff,  Canada’s current Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said out loud that Canada’s defeat on this matter was  payback for its pro-Israel policy. But, “we will not back down on our principles… Some would even say that, because of our commitment to these values, we lost a seat on the council, If that’s the case, so be it.” (Paul Merkley, “Canada pays price at UN for strong pro-Israel stand,” Jerusalem Post Christian Edition,’  December, 2010. Summoned by the CTVnews  to explain this story to the handful of Canadians who cared was Paul Heinbacker, former Canadian Ambassador to the UN: it was “because the Harper government was “selling policies that the international community is not sympathetic to … [among which are] policies that are frankly and strongly in support of the government of Israel, And again, whatever you think of the merits of the policy… they are  not vote-getters. There are 57 votes in the Arab and Islamic community.” Michael Ignatieff, Leader of the Liberal Opposition at that time, bemoaned the decline of Canada’s prestige : Harper “had paid the price …for shifting Canada’s foreign policy away from long-established traditions – among which was the pursuit of balanced policy towards Israel and the Palestinians.” Khaled Moummar, leader of the Canadian Arab federation, told  the National Post that his constituency “feared that if Canada gains a seat on the Security Council if may be used against Arabs and Muslims around the world”.

Elaborating upon his pro-Israel policy, Prime Minister Harper told a Conference on Anti-Semitism in Ottawa in November 2010: “History shows us – and the ideology of the anti-Israel mob tells us all too well—that those who threaten the existence of the Jewish people are in the longer term a threat to all of us… And I know, by the way, because I have the bruises  to  show for it, that whether it is  at the UN or any other international forum, the easiest thing to do is simply just to go along with this anti-Israel rhetoric, to present it as just being even-handed, and to excuse oneself with the label of honest broker. There are, after all, a lot more votes –a lot more – in being  anti-Israel.”

Trudeau has accused the Conservative Opposition of falsely asserting that his new government is not being as supportive to the Jewish state as was the previous government. At the same time, he insists, the position of his government is more in line with Canada’s traditional even-handed approach to Israel and the Palestinians. “We won’t hesitate from talking about unhelpful steps like the continued illegal settlements… [After all, ] “true friendship does not mean unequivocal support.”

Now, as Canada prepares for another contest for a seat on the Security Council , Trudeau has a huge opportunity to prove his fidelity to Israel. The principle obstacle is again the Muslim bloc. An obvious question occurs: Why is there not a bloc of European nations – or a bloc of Christian nations – or a bloc of Friends of Israel. Our statesmen gag at such thoughts. Indulgence by the majority of Non-Islamic, Non-Arabic nations of this bloc-voting of the Muslim nation is once face of a very large fact of life: No one familiar with the facts of world politics would expect any politician, in  out of office, to stand up and identify his nation with our religious or cultural legacy, but at the same time they all fall over each other validating  Islam. No one dares to suggest that an Islamic  bloc, lobbying constantly against Israel, is inconsistent with the original goals or the ideals of the United Nations.

We can be sure therefore that a very large proportion of the closed-door talk that goes on at these receptions that our Government is throwing in course of wooing votes is about Israel and the Jews. Do we really imagine that our side in these gab-fests is boldly standing up for the values that it claims to be standing up for when in conversation with Israel?

A major component in the “horse-trading that goes on is the policy of giving aid money to developing countries in return for  support on voting. Free trips for Ambassadors and their retinues are a conspicuous  part of this activity  For example, New Zealand Ambassador to the UN hosted  about eighty ambassadors over  four week-long trips to NZ in the run-up to NZ’s election, starting in 2014.  According to the government’s own estimates, Canada has already spent almost $500,000 on its campaign, which pits Ottawa against Ireland and Norway for the two available spots, opening in 2021. Not included in this estimate is the cost for salaries of the 10 government employees appointed to work full-time on Canada’s bid. “On the day of the vote,” notes William Pace, spokesman for the Word Federalist Movement, “delegates will find small gifts piled on their desks in the General Assembly, left by those running for a seat on the council. Of greater weight than the gifts and financial incentives is the “vote-swapping” ” among member states for posts on various bodies and organizations.  (“Canada’s bid for UN security council seat could mean costly campaign,” (www.cbc.ca/world, May 8, 2017.)

In the past, the Muslim nations have made our support for Israel and impediment to our playing a large role in UN business. We did not create this situation. There is every reason to believe that again this impediment will arise. Our government must insist, this time around, that other nations consider on their own merits Canada’s qualifications for a major role at the United Nations and at the same time stand by its duty to openly defend Israel.

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