Monday, April 07, 2014

To advance peace, integrate refugee issue

 Former justice minister Irwin Cotler: surprised at Canadian government's reasoning 

The Canadian government has recognised Jewish refugees - but its failure to accept a second recommendation, to integrate the issue into the peace process, reflects a refusal to see the wars against Israel as primarily ideological. The Jewish Tribune reports (with thanks: Eliyahu):  

(...) the government has said that it won’t be complying with the second of the report’s two recommendations, which requires it to work to have the plight of those refugees included in the Arab-Israeli peace talks.

Liberal MP and former Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, an honourary co-chair of Justice for Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries, told the Jewish Tribune in a telephone interview that he was surprised by the government’s response to the second recommendation.

“I also didn’t understand the government’s reasoning when it [said] the current Israeli-Palestinian negotiations take place in the context of the Arab Peace Initiative,” said Colter. “They’re actually taking place in the context of the US initiative and the Kerry proposals for a framework agreement in which the US itself has acknowledged that the issue of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries may well be part of the framework principles.”

Frank Dimant, CEO, B’nai Brith Canada, said, “I have always found Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s positions on issues to be principled and forthright, especially regarding the Middle East. I am confident he will ensure that the totality of the report will be manifested, as the issue of compensation for Jews who were forced to flee Arab countries is an integral part of the solution to the Middle East conflict.”

Dimant added, “It is especially rewarding to note that all factions in parliament were in agreement with the principles that were enunciated in the report.”
David Matas, senior honorary legal counsel, B’nai Brith and legal counsel, Justice for Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries, said in a statement that Canada will not be advancing the cause of peace through its refusal to act on the report’s second recommendation.

“What has driven the wars against Israel, from their inception to today, is anti-Zionism,” wrote Matas. “The wars against Israel are primarily ideological. Keeping the ideology of the war partly intact means keeping the will to wage war, the incitement to war and the war itself intact. The only way to peace is to combat the anti-Zionist narrative straight on.”

Read article in full 

What made Canada recognise Jewish refugees? 

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