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Jewish Progressives In Canada Assert Themselves

PRESS RELEASE FOR

IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 16, 2006.

JEWISH PROGRESSIVES IN CANADA ASSERT THEMSELVES

NEW CANADIAN JEWISH ORGANIZATION URGES HARPER’S CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT NOT TO ABANDON CANADA’S NEUTRAL STANCE ON ISRAEL-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT.

MONTREAL – The Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians, a newly created national umbrella organization of progressive Jewish individuals and groups, would like the Harper government to know that its shifting policy on Israel does not represent the universal wishes of Jewish Canadian.

The ACJC, which was founded in 2005 to bring together progressive Jewish groups and individuals from all over Canada, has watched in dismay as the Paul Martin and Stephen Harper governments abandoned Canada’s historic role as a neutral broker in the Israel-Palestine conflict in favour of a one-sided policy tilting towards Israel.

"Canada’s international reputation as a peacemaker is a legacy that took decades to achieve," ACJC Standing Committee member Jason Kunin said. "If we squander it now, we may never get it back."

At the United Nations, Canada has traditionally abstained from controversial motions directed at Israel, a voting record that has allowed it to remain an impartial voice in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

With the Martin government, however, Canada reversed course and voted against several motions calling for Israel’s recognition of Palestinian human rights. Most recently, on March 10, 2006, Canada voted against a non-binding motion calling for Israel to allow Palestinian refugee women and children to return to their homes.

The ACJC believes this shift in Canada’s foreign policy is an unacceptable abandonment of Palestinian human rights that runs contrary to the values of Jewish Canadians. By realigning its UN voting record with U.S. client states such as Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu, Canada further threatens to isolate itself internationally.

Progressive Jewish voices have not been consulted on these matters by either the Canadian government or the national media. Shimon Fogel of the Canada-Israel Committee told The Globe and Mail on March 11 that his organization was "very pleased" by Canada’s change in foreign Israel policy. The ACJC, however, asserts that neither Fogel nor groups such as the Canada-Israel Committee have the authority to speak on behalf of the Canadian Jewish communities.

Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians

ENDS

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