A majority of Canadians support investigations into Israel’s human rights abuses, a new poll has found.
According to the survey’s results, published Wednesday, the independent research firm EKOS found that 86 percent of Canadians do not want Israel to be held to a different standard than other countries.
Similar results indicate that most Canadians believe that Canada should not overlook Israel’s human rights record even if Israel “is under threat,” and do not support recognizing Jerusalem as exclusively Israel’s capital.
The survey was sponsored by Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, Independent Jewish Voices Canada and the United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine-Israel.
The results show a stark conflict with the ruling Liberal Party’s close alliance with Israel and the general opinions of the Canadian population across the political spectrum.
“The poll shows in a very clear way that taking a fair and consistent approach to human rights, especially when it comes to Israel, would not be a risky political move, it would not be a controversial position to take,” Michael Bueckert, vice president of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, told The Electronic Intifada.
Rather, Bueckert added, it would be “a reflection of the vast consensus within Canadian opinion and within their own political parties.”
“Canadians do not want their government to copy the unbalanced foreign policy of Donald Trump. [...] Even a majority of @CPC_HQ supporters disagree with their new leader’s promise to move Canada’s embassy to Jerusalem.” - @unjppi_info https://t.co/RJqhvQrrMT— Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (@CJPME) September 16, 2020
In a new poll by EKOS, respondents were asked whether the International Criminal Court should investigate war crimes wherever they occur.— Dimitri Lascaris (@dimitrilascaris) September 16, 2020
100% of respondents who are Green Party supporters said yes.@CanadianGreens know that human rights are universal.https://t.co/SgXgwGzXoh
The poll builds on an earlier survey, also conducted by EKOS and sponsored by the same campaign groups, that showed that 74 percent of Canadians wanted their government to express opposition to Israeli annexation of the occupied West Bank.
More than two in five polled wanted Canada to impose economic or diplomatic sanctions should Israel proceed with annexation, that poll revealed.
In 2017, another poll found that 80 percent of Canadians support the boycott of Israel.
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“There is a fear that if party leaders, even progressive parties, say anything critical of Israel, that it would hurt them electorally—but poll after poll shows this isn’t true,” Bueckert explained.
War crimes should be investigated
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party have historically defended Israel while pandering to Israel lobby groups by smearing the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign for Palestinian rights.
In June, Trudeau offered little more than tepid concern over Israel’s annexation plans and did not threaten to withhold state funds as a consequence.
But 84 percent of Canadians say that the ICC should be able to investigate war crimes “wherever they take place, even if it means investigating Israel and even if Israel is perceived to be an ally,” Bueckert said.
“An incredible paradox”
Last month, Erin O’Toole, the new leader of the staunchly pro-Israel Conservative Party, claimed that Jerusalem is the “undisputed” capital of Israel and pledged to move the country’s embassy to Jerusalem, following the United States and Guatemala.
But among the party’s supporters, more than half—54 percent—say they oppose the recognition of Jerusalem as exclusively Israel’s capital, a strong rebuke to O’Toole’s position.
Four out of five Canadians overall believe that the state should continue to call for Jerusalem to be shared.
New poll shows that @erinotoole's promise to follow Trump and move Canada's embassy to Jerusalem is deeply unpopular.— Michael Bueckert (@mbueckert) September 16, 2020
82% of Canadians oppose recognizing Jerusalem as exclusively Israel's capital, including a majority (54%) of Conservative Party supporters. https://t.co/Up4DyW675w
Bueckert noted that the survey results show that there are “universal principles of fairness and equality when it comes to approaching these issues … and it’s an incredible paradox that the [Liberal] Party is governing completely at odds with the political opinion within its own base.”
Campaigners for Palestinian rights will be bringing these polling statistics to members of Parliament in upcoming meetings, Bueckert said. The campaigners will continue to engage with lawmakers over positions on Palestinian rights that are consistent with public opinion.