newsAntisemitism

‘Willful ignorance the most powerful weapon against Israel’

"We are not foreigners in our home,” Israel's diaspora affairs minister tells pro-Israel Canadian parliamentarians in Ottawa.

Israeli Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli (front center) and Canadian parliamentarians at the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa, May 31, 2023. Credit: Courtesy.
Israeli Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli (front center) and Canadian parliamentarians at the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa, May 31, 2023. Credit: Courtesy.

Ignorance, coupled with a “progressive” worldview which disregards historical fact, is the most powerful weapon in the arsenal of those who seek to deny Israel’s right to exist, Israel’s diaspora and strategic affairs minister said in Canada on Wednesday.

“In a time of ‘relative truth,’ some portray the people of Israel as foreigners in the Land of Israel,” Minister Amichai Chikli told a gathering of pro-Israel Canadian lawmakers at the Parliament in Ottawa.

The event marked Israel’s 75th anniversary and the reunification of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War.

“We are not foreigners in our home,” said Chikli.

“Our ancestors knew there would come a day when there would be those who would claim we have no connection or right to Jerusalem,” he added, citing the passage in the Book of Samuel describing how King David insisted on purchasing the Temple Mount.

“However, I don’t think they could have fully imagined the depths of absurdity we see today, including condemnations of Israel for building in Jerusalem or for Jews visiting the Temple Mount,” he continued.

The Likud minister told the gathering, organized by the Canadian Israel Allies Caucus in the first such commemoration of Jerusalem Day in the Canadian Parliament, that “basic historical facts” are the most powerful weapon for those who support Israel and the Zionist idea in the face of such “shameful ignorance.”

The event comes at a time of rising global antisemitism, often in the guise of anti-Israel activity. 

Indeed, the competing Israeli and Palestinian narratives were on vivid display at the Canadian Parliament on Wednesday, where an anti-Israel event organized by Law for Palestine and the Palestinian General Delegation to Canada was held on Parliament Hill at the very same hour as the gathering of the supporters of Israel.

“At a time when antisemitism is on the rise, it is critical that Canadian parliamentarians, faith and Jewish community leaders stand together in their steadfast support of Israel,” said Canadian MP Dr. Leslyn Lewis, who immigrated to Canada as a young child from Jamaica and who now heads the Israel Allies Caucus.

“Israel is a symbol of freedom, resilience and hope to millions who wish to see the peaceful coexistence of all peoples,” she said.

Canadian Conservative MP Leslyn Lewis and Israeli Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli at the Canadian Parliament in Ottowa, Canada, on May 31, 2023. Credit: Courtesy.

An additional celebratory event will be held on Thursday at the Canada Christian College in the presence of hundreds of Jewish and Christian leaders.

Faith-based powerhouse

Founded a decade and a half ago, the Canadian Parliamentary Israel Allies Caucus is part of a global network of more than 50 pro-Israel caucuses around the world which mobilize political support for Israel based on shared Judeo-Christian values. 

Run under the aegis of the Israel Allies Foundation, this faith-based powerhouse is testament to the burgeoning relations between Israel and the predominantly supportive evangelical Christian community around the globe.

The event comes on the heels of back-to-back gatherings the organization held in the U.S. Congress and the parliament of Guatemala marking Israel’s 75th anniversary year and the reunification of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War, with an additional European mega-event planned next week in the Czech Parliament in Prague.

“It is an honor to celebrate Jerusalem Day in the Canadian Parliament for the first time,” said Israel Allies Foundation President Josh Reinstein. “It is our hope that one day soon we will see the Canadian flag flying over your embassy in our united capital Jerusalem.”

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