Organization: Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation
Date: September 13th, 2021
Dear Andria Spindel,
Thank you for contacting me with your questions and priorities for the ongoing federal election. Please accept my gratitude for the leadership of the Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation and End Jew Hatred Canada in combating the alarming rise of antisemitism in Canada and around the world.
I am pleased to respond to your questions below.
Hon. Erin O’Toole
Leader of Canada’s Conservatives
The extreme right, extreme left and Islamism are all causing an increase in Jewhatred in Canada. Canada’s Jewish community is rightly concerned. Given that the Federal Government has adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism, including its illustrative principles. Will your Party implement the IHRA throughout government and all corporate agencies and institutions that are accountable to government? Will you punish antisemitism under the IHRA definition as a hate crime? Canada’s Conservatives will always stand against antisemitism and hatred in all its forms. Under the previous Conservative government, Canada joined the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in 2009 and was named Chair in 2013. A Conservative government will remain committed to the IHRA definition and implement it throughout the government. We will also continue to increase efforts to educate Canadians and combat antisemitism. Canada’s Conservatives have a detailed plan to combat online hate speech and antisemitism. We will create a stronger legal requirement for social media platforms to remove illegal hatemotivated content. It’s clear that Holocaust denial and other forms of antisemitism are only made possible through ignorance of the past. Canada’s Conservatives are committed to ensuring the words “never again” have meaning and that future generations are aware of one of history’s darkest and most horrific chapters. We will support efforts to raise awareness and understanding of the Holocaust, antisemitism, and genocide across the country and around the world.
The Federal Government recently held an Emergency Summit on Antisemitism and received many recommendations, most notably from the Special Envoy on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism. How will your Party act on the recommendations to keep the Jewish community in Canada safe? Canada’s Conservatives stand with the Jewish community in the face of disgusting acts of antisemitism and hate that are on the rise in this country. Antisemitism has no place in Canada and we must all stand against it. As documented by numerous organizations, antisemitism takes many forms. Some of them are obvious, like the vandalizing of a synagogue or violent acts against Jewish youth. But more and more, we’re seeing the increase in antisemitism dressed up as anti-Zionism, especially on university campuses with calls for boycotts, divestments and sanctions. Canada’s Conservatives have a detailed plan to combat online hate speech and antisemitism. We will always oppose the dissemination of hate speech and speech that incites violence. We believe this can best be done through the Criminal Code and Canada’s criminal justice system, including by creating a stronger legal requirement for social media platforms to remove illegal hate-motivated content. To better protect synagogues, the previous Conservative government launched the Security Infrastructure Program to provide assistance to communities that have a history of being victimized by hate-motivated crime. An Erin O’Toole government will double funding for the Security Infrastructure Program, simplify the application process to expand eligibility, and allow funding to be used for a broader list of expenses, such as paying security guards and training volunteers.
Canada reinstated funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency despite it being proven that UNRWA schools have been used as a cover for terror tunnels and rocket launching against Israeli civilians, and that UNRWA foments Jew hatred with the curriculum they provide to all grades in all their schools, whether in Gaza, the disputed territories, Lebanon. Will you withhold funds from UNRWA if these practices continue, and given Canada’s commitment to fighting terrorism and terror financing. Canada’s Conservatives will defund programs aligned against Canadian values, including those delivered by UNRWA unless it is significantly reformed, and replace them with new education initiatives that uphold universal human dignity, pluralism, and peaceful coexistence.
UNRWA keeps alive the notion that there are millions of Arab refugees from Israel, despite the fact that only about 20,000 individuals are truly refugees by the UN’s own international definition—those who left their homes because of conflict and did not or could not return. The balance of the millions of so-called refugees are the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th generation, even 6th, of those who left their homes and were either prevented from resettling by UNRWA or discouraged from doing so, or have found settlement in other countries, including Canada, but are still considered “refugees” by UNRWA. This plays a huge part in the ongoing double standard in viewing Israel against any other country or any other conflict. Assigning “refugee” status to descendants of Arabs from former areas of Israel is unique and has allowed for billions of dollars of expenditure towards NOT settling people, whereas all other refugees from countries around the world are assisted by the UN refugee agency at far less expense, and once settled, are no longer considered a refugee. This confusion and double standard exacerbates and lengthens the conflict. Will your Party call a meeting of the Refugee Working Group of which Canada is chair, and finally resolve the matter of who is a true refugee and needs resettlement? Canada’s Conservatives will work closely with the Jewish community in Canada on their priorities. We support a two-state solution and look forward to the day when Israeli and Palestinian children can live side-by-side in peace and security. The signing of the Abraham Accords demonstrates that this dream is possible. We will support the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians and support moves towards an eventual two-state solution that brings peace and prosperity to both Israelis and Palestinians.
Every country around the world has the right to name its capital city, yet Canada has refused to acknowledge that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, despite recognizing this right for every other country, and the fact that Jerusalem has never been the capital of any other country, is historically the capital of Israel, is the holiest city for Jews, and it is where the Knesset (Parliament of Israel) is located. Will your Party recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the democratic and Jewish State of Israel, and will it move the Canadian embassy to Jerusalem? Yes. As Prime Minister, Erin O’Toole will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move Canada’s embassy to the heart of Jerusalem.
Hamas, which controls Gaza, continues to shower rockets on Israel and Israeli civilians, and Israel need respond to protect its citizens, which includes people of all faiths, creeds, colours. Israel, like any other country has an obligation, not just a right, to self-defense and deterrence, to protect its people, and yet comes under regular hostile criticism, based on false reporting, and antisemitic bias. Will your Party continue to provide military and moral support to Israel, speak out on her behalf, condemn the terrorists and leave Israel to broker a peace deal, when and if, there are legitimate and willing Arab parties to such a negotiation? Canada’s Conservatives stand with Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East and our ally. As Canadians, we are proud to have been one of the first countries to recognize the State of Israel. An Erin O’Toole government will always defend Israel’s right to exist, defend itself, and to live in peace and security. Conservatives were appalled to witness the Trudeau government’s lack of leadership on the international stage when it came to defending Israel’s right to exist and defend itself. Israel, and Canada’s Jewish community, can expect a Conservative government to defend Israel on the world stage and speak out against the unjust singling out of Israel in international forums. Under a Conservative government, Canada will once again be a reliable and trustworthy partner to Israel in international affairs. The Conservative Party of Canada has always recognized the reality of an enduring, uninterrupted Jewish presence in the Land of Israel. We agree that the Jewish people are indigenous to Israel. We will support the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians and support moves towards an eventual two-state solution that brings peace and prosperity to both Israelis and Palestinians. Thank you for sharing your priorities in this election. You can find a full copy of Canada’s Recovery Plan at conservative.ca/plan.