Just two months after Trump announced that the US will transfer its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, the Canadian Conservative opposition party said it would do the same.
By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
At a recently concluded conference in Ottawa, the Canadian capital, two major Conservative Party officials waded into the issue that has roiled Palestinian relations with the US: President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and his decision to move the American embassy there, The Canadian Jewish News (CJN) reported.
“I can’t even understand why this is a debate,” said Alberta United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney, according to the CJN. “Not only is Jerusalem obviously and objectively the capital of the State of Israel since its creation, but it is the ancient capital of the Jewish people.”
Conservative Member of Parliament Erin O’Toole, slightly more circumspect, noted that recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital should not negate support for a two-state solution, the CJN said. However, she did add, “Some countries have consular presence in east and west Jerusalem, so I think that’s where Canada needs to go, and the whole question of the embassy is something we should watch and see how the Americans proceed.”
The current Canadian government is led by Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau. On the issue of the embassy move, Ottawa’s reaction was quietly nonsupportive, although in early December, Canada – along with the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Nauru – joined the US and Israel in voting against the United Nations General Assembly resolution to disavow Israel’s ties to Jerusalem.
The government then elected to abstain on the UN condemnation of Trump’s move later that month.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer told the CJN that he’s proud to lead a party that has always stood with Israel and recognized it as one of Canada’s strongest allies. Indeed, former Prime Minister Stephen Harper had been a staunch ally of the Jewish state. In January 2014, he addressed the Knesset, saying, “through fire and water, Canada will stand with you.”
Scheer said that he would “absolutely want to work with the government of Israel on the best way to move forward” on the embassy move. “In the meantime, there are steps that we can take. Many of our allies have a consular presence in Jerusalem. Canada does not. That is something we can progress as we move forward.”