Senators criticized for meeting right-wing Israeli politician, inviting him to Canada – National

Three Canadian senators face criticism after visiting Israel and inviting right-wing politicians to Canada.

Senate Speaker George Fury traveled to Israel this week with Conservative Senate Majority Leader Don Prett and independent Senator Patty Lovekan-Benson.

They met with local officials, including Amir Ohana, the head of the Israeli parliament, and announced that the senator had invited him to visit Canada.

Ohana has previously sparked controversy in media interviews by claiming that Muslims are prone to “cultural murder.” As a former minister of public security, he amended Israel’s COVID-19 vaccination priority list to exclude Palestinian prisoners.

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The advocacy group Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East criticized the senators for posting about the trip without mentioning human rights concerns or the Israeli government’s shift to right-wing policies.

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Ottawa issued two statements earlier this year expressing concern over Israel’s “punitive measures”, including banning the Palestinian flag, building illegal settlements, and disruptive judicial reforms.

Advocacy groups want the senator to withdraw Ohana’s invitation and “suspend all partnerships with the Israeli government” until they comply with international law.

LaBoucane-Benson said the three were unable to meet with Palestinian officials but called for an immediate de-escalation in the recent escalation of violence and work towards long-term peace.

“We worked with consular officials to hear diverse perspectives while managing logistics and security considerations,” she wrote in an email.

“We met with current and former Israeli lawmakers from various political parties. Unfortunately, the Palestinian politician was unable to attend the scheduled meeting.”

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Israel attacks Gaza after rocket launch, explosion caught on video

LaBoucane-Benson said there had been “disturbing incidents of violence” against Palestinians and Israelis in the West Bank in recent weeks, including during his visit.

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“Those responsible for these heinous acts must be held accountable on both sides, and those whose comments incite further violence must be condemned and condemned,” she wrote.

Fury and Prett’s offices did not respond to requests for comment.

Shimon Vogel, director of the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said Ohana’s characterization by advocacy groups for justice and peace and the call to suspend diplomatic relations came after 75 years of productive relations. A silly attempt at headlines,” he said.

“Certain governments come and go, but the core values ​​shared by our two democracies are deeply ingrained and have stood the test of time,” he wrote. increase.

“When differences arise, Canada and Israel have repeatedly taken a position and expressed their concerns in a constructive manner.”

He said Canada was taking the right approach to advocating for a two-state solution, “including not singling out Israel” in public statements.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

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