News Local

B.C. premier criticized for Israel support

Jeremy Nuttall

By Jeremy Nuttall, 24 hours Vancouver

Premier Christy Clark made a statement Monday supporting Israel. (FILE PHOTO/24 HOURS)

Premier Christy Clark made a statement Monday supporting Israel. (FILE PHOTO/24 HOURS)

B.C. Premier Christy Clark has waded into one of the most controversial issues on the planet — openly supporting Israel after three weeks of heightened violence in the region this summer.

In a letter to the Ottawa-based Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, Clark stressed the importance of a ceasefire and went on to write, “British Columbia can be counted as a friend of Israel.”

“Israel is an example not only to the region, but the world,” she wrote. “Support for Israel abroad makes a difference.”

On Monday, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned of a protracted war in the region following ground raids by Palestinian fighters.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported eight children and two adults were killed in an explosion in a Gaza park Monday, with Israel claiming it was an errant rocket from Hamas and Palestinians saying it was an Israeli airstrike.

Hanna Kawas of the Canada Palestine Association, a group which has called for boycotts against Canadian companies supporting the Israeli government in the past, said Clark should stick to running the province.

“To start with, it’s none of her business to comment on foreign policy,” Kawas said. “We have enough fools and idiots in Ottawa commenting on the situation.”

Kawas alleged Clark is, in effect, supporting laws that discriminate against Palestinians in Israel and the hundreds of deaths of Palestinians by supporting the Israeli government.

The premier’s office said Clark was asked to write the letter by the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver for an event Sunday night, but would not go into further detail about the issue.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish affairs said it felt the letter represented British Columbians’ views on the issue.

“We appreciate Premier Clark’s balanced, moderate and thoughtful statement on the tragic situation in Israel and in Gaza,” wrote the centre’s Darren Mackoff in an email. “Hamas deliberately targets Israeli civilians while intentionally using Palestinian civilians as human shields, which amounts to a double war crime.”

But Mackoff said the group did not request the letter, and that it arrived after an advisory was sent out about the Sunday event.



Should Premier Christy Clark be commenting on Israel?

Reader's comments »

By adding a comment on the site, you accept our terms and conditions