Pas de doubles standards : Les Canadiens s’attendent à plus d’impartialité concernant Israël

Vue d'ensemble

Q02-FR.PNGCJPMO est ravie de publier les résultats de son sondage au Canada coparrainé par Voix juives indépendantes et par le Réseau uni pour la justice et la paix en Palestine et en Israël. Menée par une société de sondage professionnelle, la deuxième partie des résultats du sondage fournit des indications importantes sur 1) l'attitude des Canadiens à l'égard de la Cour pénale internationale et d'une potentielle enquête sur les responsables israéliens; 2) si les Canadiens pensent que leur gouvernement devrait fermer les yeux sur les violations des droits de la personne d'un pays allié, incluant Israël; et 3) si les Canadiens veulent que leur gouvernement reconnaisse Jérusalem comme étant exclusivement la capitale d'Israël.

La deuxième partie du sondage, publiée le 16 septembre 2020, peut être trouvée ci-dessous (en anglais seulement):

Le sondage a été conduit par les Associés de recherche EKOS entre les 5 et 10 juin 2020, avec un échantillon aléatoire de 1000 adultes canadiens âgés de 18 ans et plus. La marge d'erreur associée avec l'échantillon est de plus ou moins 3,1 points de pourcentage, 19 fois sur 20. Les données brutes du sondage EKOS peuvent être trouvées via les deux liens suivants. Le premier fichier ci-dessous contient les "valeurs manquantes" (soit les résultats incluant les questions sans réponses ou avec "je ne sais pas" comme réponse); le second fichier contient les statistiques sans les "valeurs manquantes". 

Notez que tous les graphiques présentés sur cette page sont du domaine public - libres de toute restriction en matière de droits d'auteur.

Cliquez-ici pour retourner à la page principale du sondage. Cliquez-ici pour consulter la première partie du sondage.

Ci-dessous, vous trouverez le rapport du sondage en anglais.


 

Sommaire exécutif

Une récente enquête menée par les Associés de recherche EKOS confirme que les Canadiens ne pensent pas qu’Israël devrait bénéficier d’un traitement de faveur lorsqu’il s’agit de politiques ou d’enquêtes internationales. Le sondage visait à sonder l’opinion des Canadiens sur plusieurs sujets, notamment une éventuelle enquête de la Cour pénale internationale (CPI) sur les crimes de guerre présumés d’Israël, et la possibilité de déplacer l’ambassade du Canada à Jérusalem. Le sondage montre qu’une forte majorité de Canadiens sont favorables à un traitement identique pour tous les pays, y compris Israël. En effet, une forte majorité de Canadiens soutiendrait une enquête de la CPI sur les crimes de guerre présumés commis par les responsables israéliens. Le sondage démontre également que quatre Canadiens sur cinq souhaitent que le Canada maintienne sa politique actuelle sur Jérusalem, et ne veulent pas que le Canada reconnaisse Jérusalem comme étant exclusivement la capitale d’Israël.

 Les Associés de recherche EKOS (https://www.ekos.com/) ont mené un sondage national en ligne auprès de 1009 Canadiens, entre le 5 et le 10 juin 2020, au nom des Canadiens pour la justice et la paix au Moyen-Orient (https://fr-cjpme.nationbuilder.com/), de Voix juives indépendantes (https://www.ijvcanada.org/fr/), et du Réseau uni pour la justice et la paix en Palestine et en Israël (https://www.unjppi.org/). La marge d’erreur associée à l’échantillon est de plus ou moins 3,0 points de pourcentage, 19 fois sur 20.

 Il s’agit de la deuxième publication des résultats de sondage. La première partie (http://www.cjpme.org/survey2020_r1de ce sondage a été publiée le 17 juin 2020, et a abordé les questions relatives au projet d’annexion d’Israël et à la candidature du Canada à un siège au Conseil de sécurité des Nations unies.

 Les résultats du sondage présentés ici indiquent que les Canadiens ne veulent pas qu’Israël soit traité différemment des autres pays en ce qui concerne les conséquences de crimes de guerre ou de violations des droits de la personne présumés.

 Une grande majorité des Canadiens veulent que la Cour pénale internationale enquête sur les crimes de guerre présumés où qu’ils se produisent, incluant en Israël. 84% des Canadiens sont d’accord avec le fait que la CPI devrait enquêter sur les crimes de guerre présumés commis par les responsables israéliens, alors que 95% des Canadiens soutiennent une enquête sur les crimes de guerre présumés où qu’ils se produisent.

Les Canadiens soutiennent également l’indépendance de la CPI, et ne veulent pas que le Canada intervienne même s’il est opposé à une enquête. Seulement un tiers (33%) des Canadiens pensent que le Canada devrait envisager d’intervenir s’il s’oppose à une enquête de la CPI, et encore moins (29%) veulent que le Canada intervienne si l’enquête concerne Israël. C’est une conclusion  importante étant donné que le Canada a envoyé une lettre à la CPI en février 2020 pour tenter de dissuader la Cour d’enquêter sur les crimes de guerre présumés d’Israël. 

Le sondage a également révélé qu’une forte majorité de Canadiens ne veulent pas fermer les yeux sur les violations présumées des droits de la personne dans aucun pays, incluant Israël, quelques soient les circonstances :

  • 86% des Canadiens sont en désaccord avec l’affirmation selon laquelle le Canada devrait ignorer les violations présumées des droits de la personne par Israël puisqu’il est un allié.
  • 83% des Canadiens sont en désaccord avec l’affirmation selon laquelle le Canada devrait ignorer les violations présumées des droits de la personne d’Israël puisqu’il est un partenaire dans la lutte contre le terrorisme.
  • 85% des Canadiens sont en désaccord avec l’affirmation selon laquelle le Canada devrait ignorer les violations présumées des droits de la personne d’Israël puisqu’il partage des valeurs communes avec le Canada.
  • 87% des Canadiens sont en désaccord avec l’affirmation selon laquelle le Canada devrait ignorer les violations présumées des droits de la personne d’Israël même s’il passe des lois discriminantes à l’égard des groupes minoritaires.
  • 75% des Canadiens sont en désaccord avec l’affirmation selon laquelle le Canada devrait ignorer les violations présumées des droits de la personne d’Israël si Israël est menacé.

Alors que le gouvernement canadien a souvent accordé à Israël un traitement de faveur, et hésite à critiquer ses violations des droits de la personne, les résultats globaux de l’enquête indiquent que la tendance fréquente du Canada à accorder à Israël un laissez-passer à Israël (« l’exceptionnalisme israélien ») n’est pas populaire auprès des Canadiens. Les exceptions à cette tendance sont les partisans du Parti conservateur, qui ont tendance à être beaucoup plus disposés à ignorer les violations des droits de la personne d’Israël. Mais même parmi les partisans du Parti conservateur, une majorité s’y oppose.

Le sondage a également montré que quatre Canadiens sur cinq (82%) veulent que le Canada maintienne sa politique actuelle sur Jérusalem et continue de demander à ce que la ville soit partagée, contre seulement un cinquième (18%) qui veulent que le Canada reconnaisse Jérusalem comme étant exclusivement la capital d’Israël. Même parmi les partisans du Parti conservateur, dont le nouveau chef est partisan du déplacement de l’ambassade à Jérusalem, une majorité (54%) soutient plutôt un maintien de la politique actuelle du Canada.

 

1.   Survey Introduction

 

1.1.   Scope of Part 2 of Survey Findings

This report constitutes the second release of results from a June 2020 survey probing the attitudes of Canadians on foreign and domestic policy related to Israel-Palestine. The results presented in this report constitute about 50 percent of the complete survey’s findings. Part 1 was released on June 17, 2020, as “Out of Touch: Canadian Foreign Policy Disconnected from Canadians’ Views.” 

 

1.2.   Survey Methodology

EKOS Research Associates (EKOS), an experienced public opinion research firm, was hired to conduct an online poll to seek answers to these questions. EKOS is a full-service consulting practice, founded in 1980, which has evolved to become one of the leading suppliers of evaluation and public opinion research for the Canadian government. EKOS specializes in market research, public opinion research, strategic communications advice, program evaluation and performance measurement, and human resources and organizational research. 

Between June 5-10, 2020, a random sample of 1,009 Canadian adults from EKOS’ online panel, Probit, aged 18 and over, completed the survey. The survey was made available to all respondents in either English or French. The margin of error associated with the sample is plus or minus 3.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The margin of error increases when the results are sub-divided.

EKOS statistically weighted all the data by age, gender, education and region to ensure the sample’s composition reflects that of the actual population of Canada, based on 2016 census data. 

The survey results presented in this report are with residuals excluded.  The full data for the survey findings released in this report, both with residuals (“don’t know” and “no response” percentages included) and without residuals can be found at http://cjpme.org/survey2020 or http://ijvcanada.org/survey2020. 

 

2.   Survey Results

 

2.1.   Canada, the International Criminal Court and Israeli Exceptionalism

 

Background

The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established in 1998 for the purposes of investigating and trying “individuals charged with the gravest crimes of concern to the international community: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression.”[1] Throughout the 1990s, Canada provided leadership which helped lead to the establishment of the ICC, and on December 18, 1998, Canada was the 14th country to sign the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. When it enacted the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act in June 2000, Canada became the first country in the world to adopt comprehensive legislation respecting the ICC. [2]

In December 2019, after a four-year preliminary investigation at the request of Palestine, the ICC announced that it was seeking to open an investigation into alleged Israeli and Palestinian war crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. The ICC’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda stated she was satisfied that there was sufficient evidence that war crimes had been committed, but asked for a legal opinion as to whether the court had jurisdiction to proceed with an investigation.[3]

To the surprise of many, media reports in February 2020 revealed that the Canadian government was seeking to deter the ICC investigation announced by Bensouda in December. The Canadian government had sent a formal letter to the ICC asserting that because Canada does not recognize Palestine as a full state, it did not recognize Palestine’s right to appeal to the court for an investigation.[4] Despite Canada’s failure to recognize a Palestinian state, 138 of 193 UN member states do recognize the state of Palestine, which willingly acceded to the authority of the ICC in 2015.[5] In the face of objections from Canada and a handful of other countries, the ICC chief prosecutor nevertheless issued an opinion on April 30 stating that Palestine is indeed a state, and that an investigation should proceed.[6]

More recently, Canada’s attempts to deter the ICC investigation into Israel come in the context of US sanctions imposed upon Bensouda and another ICC official.[7] These sanctions, which were coordinated with Israel,[8] are a clear attempt to shut down investigations into alleged US war crimes in Afghanistan, as well as alleged Israeli war crimes in the OPT. While Canada released a muted statement expressing disappointment with US sanctions as well as its support for the independence of the ICC, it has not called for US sanctions to be lifted.[9]

Canada’s opposition to a possible ICC investigation into Israel is consistent with a longtime pattern of diplomatic actions seeking to shield Israel from accountability over its violations of human rights and international law. Canada’s pro-Israel voting record at the United Nations is just one of the most obvious examples of this.[10] In another case, Canada has repeatedly intervened to protect the import of goods from illegal settlements in the West Bank, first by overruling a decision by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to stop importing the goods due to their incorrect “Product of Israel” labels,[11] and later by going to court to appeal a decision by a federal judge who had ruled that such labels were “false, misleading and deceptive.”[12] Canada’s disapproval over Israeli plans to annex parts of the West Bank has also been particularly muted,[13] especially when compared to the full condemnation and multiple rounds of sanctions that Canada has imposed upon Russia over its annexation of Crimea since 2014.[14] Some consider this behaviour to be a type of “Israeli exceptionalism”: overlooking Israel’s human rights abuses under a variety of pretexts.

With two of the survey questions, the survey’s sponsors wanted to explore Canadians’ views on the ICC, especially as it relates to the Court’s potential investigation of Israeli officials.  Notably, the sponsors sought to answer two high-level questions:

  1. Do Canadians want the ICC to be entirely impartial in its application of international law around the world, even if that means that Israeli officials could be prosecuted by the Court? 
  2. Do Canadians want the Canadian government to respect the independence of the ICC, even if it means that the perceived interests of the Government of Canada could be threatened? And should this respect for the independence of the Court be maintained even if the Court decided to investigate Israeli officials? 

Split samples were used in the survey inquiries, where one half of respondents were asked generally about the conduct of the ICC, and the other half were asked their view about an ICC investigation focused on Israeli officials. The splits were identical for each question, so half of the respondents received back-to-back questions relating to the ICC generally, while the other half received back-to-back questions relating to the ICC and the case of Israeli officials.

 

2.1.1.    A Strong Majority of Canadians want the ICC to Investigate Alleged War Crimes Wherever They Occur, Including Israel

 Canadians were asked the following question:

The International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague investigates individuals accused of serious crimes, namely genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. Do you think that the International Criminal Court should investigate alleged war crimes [wherever they may occur / committed by Israeli officials]?

As mentioned above, the question was asked as a split sample, so half of Canadians were asked about investigating alleged war crimes wherever they may occur, and the other half were asked about investigating alleged war crimes committed by Israeli officials.

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Survey Question Results

When asked if the International Criminal Court should investigate alleged war crimes wherever they may occur, 95% of Canadians agreed, and only 5% responded “no.”

 When the question specifically asked if the ICC should investigate alleged war crimes committed by Israeli officials, 84% of Canadians agreed, and 16% responded “no.” While Liberal (95%), NDP (99%), Green (100%) and Bloc (94%) supporters still felt strongly that the Court should be impartial in its conduct, Conservative supporters differed significantly.  55% of Conservative supporters felt that the ICC should investigate, even if Israeli officials were at risk of being prosecuted, while 45% opposed any ICC investigation of Israeli officials.

 Notably, the rate of residuals (don’t know/no response) was almost three times higher when the question was about Israeli officials (20%) rather than a country in general (7%).

 Overall, the responses to the two versions of the question did not diverge dramatically: 95% of Canadians support an impartial ICC investigation in the general case, and 84% of Canadians support an investigation of Israeli officials. The exception to this is among Conservative Party supporters: where 91% supported impartial ICC investigations in general, but only 55% felt this way if Israeli officials were targeted. 

 

2.1.2.    Only One-Third of Canadians Think Canada Should Consider Stepping in if it is Opposed to an ICC Investigation – Even Fewer When it’s Israel

Canadians were asked the following question:

[When a country is accused of / Given that Israel has recently been accused of] serious human rights abuses, and the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague is asked to carry out an investigation, do you think the government of Canada should consider stepping in if it is opposed to the investigation?

As mentioned above, the question was asked as a split sample, so half of Canadians were asked about the possibility of Canadian intervention with an ICC investigation in the abstract, while the other half were asked about the possibility of Canadian intervention with an ICC investigation of Israeli officials.  

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Survey Question Results

With the split sample where respondents were asked if Canada should consider stepping in if it is opposed to the ICC investigating a generic country, 33% said that Canada should consider stepping in, and 67% said that Canada should not. Liberal, Conservative, and NDP supporters were virtually identical in their responses.

With the split sample where respondents were asked if Canada should step in if it is opposed to the ICC investigating Israel, even fewer felt that Canada should intervene: 29% said that Canada should consider stepping in, while 71% said that Canada should not.

Conservative supporters gave identical answers to both versions of the question (31% Yes to 69% No). Liberal and NDP supporters were actually about 10% more likely to oppose Canadian interference when the question was about Israel rather than a country in general.

Overall, the answers did not significantly vary depending on whether the question was about a country in the abstract or about Israel specifically, and in both versions at least two thirds of Canadians were opposed to Canadian interference in the court’s investigations.

Discussion

Taken together, these two survey answers show that Canadians do not support Israeli exceptionalism as it relates to the International Criminal Court. Although pro-Israel bias is clearly evident, it is largely isolated to Conservative Party supporters.

Canadian opinions about a potential ICC investigation of Israel are not very different from their opinion of ICC investigations in general. Canadians are only about 11% less likely to support an investigation into alleged Israeli war crimes, with support dropping from 95% to 84%. Further, about two thirds of Canadians do not want Canada to step in if it is opposed to an ICC investigation, regardless of whether the country under investigation is Israel. In other words, more than two-thirds of Canadians want Israel to be subject to the same ICC investigative process as any other country accused of war crimes.

 

2.2.   Canada, the Human Rights Abuses of Allies, and Israeli Exceptionalism

Canadians were asked the following question:

How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements about Canada's relationship [with its international allies / with Israel]?

Canadians were asked to rank a series of five statements on a scale from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree.”

A split sample was used, so that half of those surveyed were provided with statements about an unspecified allied country, and the other half were provided with statements that specifically mentioned Israel.

In the discussion below, “strongly agree” and “somewhat agree” are grouped together, while “strongly disagree” and “somewhat disagree” are grouped together, unless otherwise noted.

Residuals (“don’t know” and no response) were never above 10% and are excluded from the analysis. In every case, however, residuals were at least two times higher when the question was about Israel, compared to the alternate. When asked about a country in general, residuals were in the 3% to 5% range, and when asked about Israel the residuals were in the 8% to 10% range.

 

Survey Question Results

 

2.2.1.    The Vast Majority of Canadians Don’t Think Canada should Overlook the Human Rights Abuses of Allies, Including Israel

In this question, Canadians were asked whether a country’s status as a Canadian ally should influence Canada’s response to that country’s alleged human rights violations.  One half of the split sample referred to an ally in the abstract, while the other half of the split sample named Israel, as follows:

Split 1: Canada should overlook a country's alleged human rights violations if it is an ally. 

Split 2: Canada should overlook Israel's alleged human rights violations since it is an ally.

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When asked if Canada should overlook a country's alleged human rights violations if it is an ally, 90% of Canadians disagreed, and only 10% agreed. Supporters of all political parties had similar responses on this issue: Liberal (90% disagree to 10% agree), Conservative (86 to 14), NDP (94 to 6), Green (92 to 8), BQ (88 to 12).

When asked if Canada should overlook Israel's alleged human rights violations since it is an ally, 86% of Canadians disagreed, and 14% agreed. Compared to the alternate question, the answers from most party supporters were similar: Liberal (93% disagree to 7% agree), NDP (96 to 4), Green (96 to 4), BQ (100 to 0). For supporters of the Conservative Party, however, agreement was much higher at one third of supporters (33%), which means that Conservative supporters are more than twice as likely to support overlooking alleged human rights violations committed by Israel compared to a country in the abstract.

 

2.2.2.    A Strong Majority of Canadians Don’t Think Canada Should Overlook the Human Rights Abuses of Partners in the Fight Against Terror, Including Israel

In this question, Canadians were asked whether a country’s status as a partner in the fight against terrorism should influence Canada’s response to that country’s human rights violations.  One half of the split sample referred to a partner in the abstract, while the other half of the split sample specifically named Israel, as follows:

Split 1: Canada should overlook a country's alleged human rights violations if it is a partner in the fight against terrorism.

Split 2: Canada should overlook Israel's alleged human rights violations since it is a partner in the fight against terrorism.

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When asked if Canada should overlook a country's alleged human rights violations if it is a partner in the fight against terrorism, 88% of Canadians disagreed, and 12% agreed. Supporters of all political parties had similar responses on this issue: Liberal (86% disagree to 14% agree), Conservative (84 to 16), NDP (94 to 6), Green (94 to 6), BQ (88 to 12). NDP supporters were most likely to strongly disagree with overlooking a country’s alleged human rights violations (78%), whereas Liberal and Conservative supporters were split in their opinions between strongly disagree and somewhat disagree.

When asked if Canada should overlook Israel's alleged human rights violations since it is a partner in the fight against terrorism, 83% of Canadians disagreed, and 17% agreed.  The answers from most party supporters were similar: Liberal (92% disagree to 8% agree), NDP (94 to 6), Green (96 to 4), BQ (91 to 9). Supporters of the Conservative Party were divided: a majority (59%) disagreed with overlooking Israel’s alleged human rights violations but a strong minority (41%) agreed. Only one third (30%) of Conservative supporters ‘strongly’ disagreed, compared to Liberal (66%), NDP (74%), Green (74%), and BQ (59%). Moreover, a quarter (24%) of Conservative supporters ‘strongly’ agreed, compared to only 2% of Liberal and 0% of the others.

 

2.2.3.    A Strong Majority of Canadians Don’t Think Canada Should Overlook the Human Rights Abuses of a Country, Including Israel, Even if Many Consider it to Have Shared Values

In this question, Canadians were asked whether the perceived shared values of a country should influence Canada’s response to that country’s alleged human rights violations.  One half of the split sample referred to an ally in the abstract, while the other half of the split sample named Israel, as follows:

Split 1: Canada should overlook a country's alleged human rights violations if many consider it to have shared values with Canada.

Split 2: Canada should overlook Israel's alleged human rights violations since many consider it to have shared values with Canada.

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When asked if Canada should overlook a country's alleged human rights violations if many consider it to have shared values with Canada, 88% of Canadians disagreed, and 12% agreed. Supporters of all political parties had similar responses on this issue: Liberal (89% disagree to 11% agree), Conservative (84 to 16), NDP (95 to 5), Green (100 to 0), and BQ (89 to 11).

When asked if Canada should overlook Israel's alleged human rights violations since many consider it to have shared values with Canada, 85% of Canadians disagreed, and 15% agreed. While disagreement among supporters of most parties was in the mid-90s (with agreement at 7% or below), only 64% of Conservative supporters disagreed, while 36% agreed. 20% of Conservative supporters ‘strongly’ agreed, compared to only 1% of Liberal supporters and 0% of the others.

 

2.2.4.    The Vast Majority of Canadians Don’t Think Canada should Overlook the Discriminatory Laws of Allies, Including Israel

In this question, Canadians were asked whether a country’s status as a Canadian ally should influence Canada’s response to that country’s discriminatory laws.  One half of the split sample referred to an ally in the abstract, while the other half of the split sample named Israel, as follows:

Split 1: Canada should overlook an allied country's alleged human rights violations even if it passes laws that discriminate against minority groups.

Split 2: Canada should overlook Israel's alleged human rights violations even if it passes laws that discriminate against minority groups.

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When asked if Canada should overlook an allied country's alleged human rights violations even if that country passes laws that discriminate against minority groups, 92% of Canadians disagreed, and 8% agreed. Supporters of all political parties had similar responses on this issue: Liberal (94% disagree to 6% agree), Conservative (89 to 11), NDP (95 to 5), Green (96 to 4), and BQ (92 to 8). 92% of NDP supporters ‘strongly’ disagreed, whereas 54% of Conservative supporters strongly disagreed  and 34% somewhat disagreed.

When asked if Canada should overlook Israel's alleged human rights violations even if it passes laws that discriminate against minority groups, 87% of Canadians disagreed, and 13% agreed. Overall, 62% ‘strongly’ disagreed, and only 4% ‘strongly’ agreed. Levels of disagreement were high among supporters of most parties: Liberal (96% disagree to 4% agree), NDP (96 to 4), Green (100 to 0), and BQ (85 to 15). Among supporters of the Conservative Party, however, only 70% disagreed, and a full 30% agreed.

 

2.2.5.    A Strong Majority of Canadians Don’t Think Canada should Overlook the Human Rights Abuses of Countries Under Threat, Including Israel

In this question, Canadians were asked whether the fact that a country is under threat should influence Canada’s response to that country’s human rights violations.  One half of the split sample referred to a country in the abstract, while the other half of the split sample named Israel, as follows:

Split 1: Canada should overlook a country's alleged human rights violations if the country is under threat.

Split 2: Canada should overlook Israel's alleged human rights violations if Israel is under threat.

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When asked if Canada should overlook a country's alleged human rights violations if that country is under threat, 83% of Canadians disagreed, and 17% agreed. While there was not too much variation between party supporters, the number of those who ‘agreed’ was greater than in previous questions: Liberal (85% disagree to 15% agree), Conservative (79 to 21), NDP (90 to 10), Green (86 to 14), and BQ (89 to 11). Across the board, the number of Canadians who ‘strongly’ disagreed was lower than for other questions, as Canadians were more likely to ‘somewhat ‘disagree or ‘somewhat’ agree.

When asked if Canada should overlook Israel's alleged human rights violations if Israel is under threat, 75% of Canadians disagreed, and 25% agreed. Three quarters of Canadians disagreed,  including supporters of most political parties: Liberal (80% disagree to 20% agree), NDP (92 to 8), Green (85 to 15), and BQ (86 to 14). Supporters of the Conservative Party, on the other hand, were divided in this question: a slim majority (54%) disagreed, while 46% agreed. Out of these, 28% of Conservative supporters ‘strongly’ agreed, compared to only 2% of Liberal supporters, 1% of NDP, and 0% of the others.

Discussion

As with the previous questions in relation to the International Criminal Court, these responses about Canada and its allies show that Canadians do not support Israeli exceptionalism. Although a certain amount of pro-Israel bias is clearly evident, like with the ICC questions, it is largely isolated to Conservative Party supporters.  Simply put, Canadians do not want their government to overlook a country’s human rights violations, regardless of context, and whether or not the country is Israel.

When asked whether Canada should overlook Israel’s human rights violations, in every single case the majority of Canadians disagreed. Even on the one question that received the most support for overlooking Israel’s violations – in the context of Israel being under threat – there was a total of only 25% support for this idea from Canadians overall. Even among Conservative supporters, who were far more likely to agree (and even ‘strongly’ agree) to overlook Israel’s violations, on every single question the majority disagreed.

Nonetheless, there is a consistent discrepancy in how Canadians responded to these questions depending on whether the question was posed in the abstract or if it specifically mentioned Israel. For example, the number of Canadians who disagreed with the idea of overlooking a country’s human rights violations dropped by 3-5% when the question was about Israel. On the specific variant about whether overlooking violations is appropriate because a country is under threat, the number of Canadians who disagreed dropped by 10% when the question was about Israel.

This bias against holding Israel to account is most significant among Conservative Party supporters. On the series of questions about whether Canada should overlook a country’s human rights violations, the number of Conservative Party supporters who disagreed dropped by a considerable 20-25% when the question was about Israel. In a similar way, on the question of ICC investigations, 91% of Conservative Party supporters back ICC investigations in theory, but only 55% support the investigation if it is about Israel.

There is also some variation in the responses from supporters of other parties, such as the Liberals and NDP. In some cases, their disapproval about overlooking human rights violations softens when it is about Israel (i.e. they ‘somewhat’ disagree rather than ‘strongly’ disagree).

In other cases, however, Liberal and NDP supporters are actually less likely to give a pass when the country under discussion is Israel: among Liberal supporters, disapproval rates about overlooking human rights violations increased slightly when asked about Israel (in 4 out of 5 questions). In a similar way, Liberal and NDP supporters were actually about 10% more likely to oppose Canadian interference with an ICC investigation when the question was about Israel rather than a country in general.

Overall, however, despite the tendency among some Conservative supporters to be partial to Israel, a very strong majority of Canadians oppose Israeli exceptionalism through all the permutations of this question. 

 

2.3.   Canadians’ Position on Jerusalem

 

Background

Resolution 181, the 1947 UN partition plan for historic Palestine stipulated that Jerusalem was to be a shared international city.  Nevertheless, the fighting in 1948 left Jerusalem as a divided city, with Israel in control of West Jerusalem, and Jordan in control of East Jerusalem.  For two decades the city remained a border zone, with Israel developing West Jerusalem, and a concentrated Palestinian population developing East Jerusalem.  In 1967, Israel invaded and occupied Palestinian East Jerusalem along with the rest of the West Bank.  Thirteen years later, Israel officially annexed the city in 1980, declaring that “Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel.”[15] This action was condemned by United Nations Security Council Resolution 478 (1980), which mandated all UN member states withdraw their diplomatic missions from Jerusalem.[16] As a result, countries holding diplomatic relations with Israel have consistently maintained their embassies in Tel Aviv.  Until this day, Canada “does not recognize Israel's unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem,” and maintains that the “status of Jerusalem can be resolved only as part of a general settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute.”[17]

In December 2017, US President Trump announced that the US would recognize greater Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and would move its Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.[18] The announcement was roundly condemned by the international community,[19] and to date only one other country (Guatemala) has followed the US in relocating its Embassy.[20]

While the official position of the Canadian government has not changed, political leaders have seemingly softened their opposition. In 2017, the Trudeau government abstained on a UN resolution condemning Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, claiming the resolution was one-sided in its language.[21] In the following years, the Conservative Party of Canada pledged to recognize Jerusalem as “the capital of Israel”[22] and to relocate the Canadian embassy to Jerusalem.[23] As of August 2020, Conservative leader Erin O’Toole has been very vocal about this promise to relocate the Embassy,[24] which would effectively acquiesce to Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem.

 

2.3.1.    A Strong Majority of Canadians Oppose Recognizing Jerusalem as Exclusively Israel’s Capital

 

The Trump administration’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem in 2017 re-opened the controversy over Canada’s position on the status of Jerusalem. The survey sought respondents’ opinions on whether they felt Canada should follow Trump’s example in legitimizing Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem, supporting proposals to change Canadian policy on the status of Jerusalem.

The survey asked the following question:

Since the 1940s, the international community - including Canada - has envisioned Jerusalem as a city to be shared between Israel and the Palestinians. Whereas the US has recently recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Canada's current policy does not. Which of the following statements most closely matches your own opinion?

  • Canada should maintain its current policy, and continue to call for Jerusalem to be shared; or
  • Canada should change its current policy and recognize Jerusalem as exclusively Israel's capital.

To avoid favouring either response, the order of the response bullets was randomized for each respondent.

Q05_-_FR.PNG

Survey Question Results and Discussion

Four out of five Canadians (82%) responded that Canada should maintain its current policy, and continue to call for Jerusalem to be shared. Only one fifth (18%) said that Canada should recognize Jerusalem as exclusively Israel’s capital.

Among all but Conservative supporters, there was almost unanimous support for maintaining the current policy in favour of a shared capital: Liberal (94% maintain to 6% change), NDP (98 to 2), Green (91 to 9), BQ (88 to 12). Conservative Party supporters are split almost down the middle, with a slim majority of Conservative supporters supporting a shared capital (54% maintain vs 46% change).

This demonstrates that Canadians overwhelmingly reject proposals to recognize Jerusalem as exclusively Israel’s capital. This includes a majority of Conservative Party supporters, who disagree with the party leader’s position.

 

 

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