Right off the bat, let’s take an excerpt from a blurb on the book issued by – Gabor Maté, Physician and author of In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction.
”Yves Engler’s meticulously researched volume refutes, for anyone who still believes it, the myth that Canada is or ever has been an honest broker in the Middle East. Reading Engler’s work leaves one with the inescapable and sad conclusion that the essence of Canadian policy has always been support for the establishment and continued dominance of an expansionist Zionist state in the territories that now comprise Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank. As a former Zionist youth leader, I thank Engler for setting the record straight and can only lament our country’s historical and ongoing contribution to the tragedy enveloping the long-suffering peoples of the Promised Land, Arab and Jewish.”
In the debate on the Middle East, the authenticity of the voice has become a critical element. Even Chomsky’s record on certain issues tends to get pretty sullied and Chomsky has also blurbed on Engler’s previous book which was reviewed in Serai. There is a rather interesting interview of Gabor Mate. This doctor, whose grandparents perished in Auschwitz , is a well-known authority on ADD and has published a few books and is well known in the Vancouver area for working with HIV positive drug users. I state this, because there are voices amongst independent Jews that are becoming increasingly audible and distant from the monolithic presentations from the community.
Now, back to the book itself. Any data that is irrefutable, any historical record that cannot be undone, speaks volumes for the authenticity of the researcher and his publication. Engler is such a person. He does not leave too many stones unturned. That there has been a historical basis for Canadian support for Israel, especially amongst the Christian Zionists, is not very well known. In fact Engler has unearthed that Henry Wentworth Monk, a Canadian , long preceded Theodore Herzl, the Austrian founding father of Zionism, in proposing to the British Empire to establish a “Dominion of Israel” similar to the dominion of Canada. In fact, Monk sent off a similar proposal letter to A J Balfour, who twenty years later fathered the Balfour Declaration. Engler, in one of his forwarding statements attests to the atmosphere in which Jewish Zionism grew. “British imperialism, Christian Zionism and nationalist ideology were all part of this country’s ideology.”
Canada, as a nation, has historically played a key role in determining support for Israel and its policies. It is not necessarily a new –found politique, as some of us tend to believe. There has been no “reversal”. There has only been continuity. A continuity that far exceeds the role the US has played. In fact Canada has been a mastermind in undermining the role of the UN in all matters related to Israel and has never been an honest broker on the Middle East. Right up to 1967 Canada did everything in its capacity to speak from both sides of her mouth, it seems, de-emphasizing or sabotaging the role of the UN and at best supporting individual Palestinian rights and not collective rights. While Pierre Trudeau may have criticized the 1982 invasion of Lebanon by Israel, there has been a continuous complicity in the country’s cabinet to secure support for Israel by any means. Engler very deftly establishes that successive governments in Canada, from Chretien and Martin to Harper have essentially maintained this intrinsic argumentation to align with the Jewish state, as opposed to giving any leeway to a non-Judeo-Christian Arab state. In fact Trudeau and Chretien “garnered more support from the Jewish community than either Harper or Mulroney.” It is no wonder that during one of the recent election campaigns, the Conservatives launched a rather lurid campaign to suggest that the Liberals were backers of the Hizbullah and Hamas. And the desperation seemed to have worked.
The major contribution of Engler’s meticulous documentation is that it lays bare Canada’s historic commitment to Israel, as opposed to fairness to Arabs and Palestinians, because of a confluence of religious and colonial affiliations. This is an eminently eloquent document that needs to be read for its well-researched position on this continuity. Engler concludes one of his chapters with a very succinct upgrade to the current context. “How long Israel will continue in this geostrategic role for the US empire is unknown, but so long as it does, there will be a powerful force pushing Canada to be one-sidedly pro-Israel.”