Canada’s support for Israel has a long history, dating back even before Israel was founded. In fact, it was Canada’s own Lester B. Pearson who chaired the United Nations committee that recommended the partition of Palestine and the creation of Israel in 1947. Still, there is little question that the diplomatic, military, and economic ties between the two countries have deepened in recent years, coupled with a concerted campaign to stifle criticism of Israel.
The Canadian government’s unbending support for Israel is well known, especially within Palestine solidarity circles across Canada. What is less understood is the basis for this support. While economic and geopolitical ties are certainly important factors, the shared history of Canada and Israel as settler societies is crucial to understanding Canada’s ongoing support for Israel. Simply put, both countries were founded on the forced displacement of Indigenous peoples and the theft of their lands and resources. And in both cases, these colonial processes continue to the present day.
The similar nature of Canada and Israel as settler societies not only serves as a solid foundation for ideological affinity, but is also the basis for shared interests in the realm of international politics as both countries contend with ongoing attempts by their Indigenous populations to seek justice and redress on the world stage.