Our government categorically rejects the remarks on Zionism made by
Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan yesterday at the opening session of the
fifth United Nations Alliance of Civilizations. Inflammatory statements
do nothing to advance the cause of peace or effective cross-cultural
The UN Alliance of Civilizations must promote, in the words of its own
declaration, ‘respect and understanding for cultural and religious
diversity…and dialogue and cooperation among different cultures,
civilizations and peoples,’ rather than on language would divide us. The
fact this type of statement was made at such a forum is truly
Zionism, the national expression of the Jewish people which gave voice
to a dream that never left the Jewish consciousness, should never be
equated as a crime against humanity.
Anti-Semitism in our world today has cast itself in a very different
form, targeting not individuals but the Jewish state – this is
dangerous. On this point, there is no space for ambivalence.
Canada fundamentally upholds Israel’s right to exist as the Jewish state
in peace and security. We are compelled as a country of free citizens to
speak directly and to speak honestly. We have the right and therefore
the obligation to speak out and to act. That Israel is still the
subject of hatred is deeply disturbing and one of the forces that drives
our unwavering support for the Jewish state.