Domestic Battleground

Domestic Battleground: Canada and the Arab-Israeli Conflict

David Taras
David H. Goldberg
Copyright Date: 1989
Pages: 264
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  • Book Info
    Domestic Battleground
    Book Description:

    Few international issues have aroused as much passionate interest and political activity among Canadians. The contest on "the domestic battleground" has been decisive in determining Canada's policies in the Middle East. The Domestic Battleground provides the history and background needed to understand Canadian attitudes toward both the explosive unrest occurring in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the participants in the conflict - Israel, the Palestinians, and the rest of the Arab world. Taras and Goldberg analyse the struggles over the levers of decision making in Ottawa and the battle between moral stances and convictions that has taken place among concerned Canadians.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6206-6
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. Influencing Canada’s Middle East Policy: The Domestic Battleground
    (pp. 3-14)

    The Middle East has always been a catalyst for great-power confrontations, vast religious movements, and historicvolte-faces. It has always had a magnetic pull, enticing commitments and allegiances from far away. It has been a place of “fear and fury” as well as dreams. The conflict between Israel and the Arabs has been characterized by deep animosities, drastic misperceptions, and failures at compromise and has remained, despite the passage of generations, exceedingly bitter and intractable. While in its essentials it is a struggle between two national movements – Arab and Jewish – the conflict’s impact has spread far beyond the...

    • The Zionist Lobby and Canada’s Palestine Policy 1941–1948
      (pp. 17-36)

      The Canadian Zionist movement traces its roots back to the late 1890s and was given formal shape in November 1899 with the formation of the Federation of Zionist Societies in Canada, forerunner of the Zionist Organization of Canada (zoc). In 1920 the federation had approached the Canadian government to intercede with Britain on behalf of the Zionist movement to ask that an area on the east bank of the Jordan River be included in what was to become the Palestine Mandate.¹ The approach, like that of most Jewish attempts to influence Canadian governments on a variety of issues until late...

    • From Passivity to Politics: Canada’s Jewish Community and Political Support for Israel
      (pp. 37-62)

      The Jewish community has been the most fully mobilized of any of the domestic groups in Canada concerned with events in the Middle East.¹ Canada’s Jews, which number approximately 308,000, have a legacy of a deep attachment to Zionism and a highly organized community structure. In launching its impressive campaigns on behalf of Israel, the Jewish community has had to face inner challenges as well as powerful external forces. This article will argue that because of a tradition of political passivity resting mainly on deep fears of anti-Semitism, political involvement has been difficult for Jews. Nonetheless as Canada’s Jews responded...

    • Canadian Corporations and Their Middle East Interests
      (pp. 63-85)

      While interest group participation in foreign policy making generally has been discouraged by governmental and bureaucratic élites, corporate involvement often has been viewed in a favourable light. Some analysts have viewed the process of decision as one in which there is close co-operation among governmental élites and corporate interest groups which together work out both the parameters within which decisions can be made and the decisions themselves.¹ In particular, the theory of élite accommodation holds that political decisions are made through a process of consultation and bargaining between interest group élites and political-bureaucratic élites, most of whose members share similar...

    • A Church Divided: A.C. Forrest and the United Church’s Middle East Policy
      (pp. 86-101)

      Scholarly writing on Canadian interest groups has focused almost exclusively on the interaction of groups with governments. The degree of access to senior politicians and officials and the amount of influence on government policies have been the preoccupations. Little has been written on inter-group politics in which interest groups struggle and bargain with each other on key issues and attempt to alter the behaviour and positions of rival organizations directly. The government is by-passed as conflicts are fought and sometimes resolved within society.

      This chapter will describe and analyse one such inter-group conflict. For seven years, from 1967 to 1974,...

    • Keeping Score: From the Yom Kippur War to the Palestinian Uprising
      (pp. 102-122)

      The preceding chapters of this book have introduced some of the players that contend in the domestic battleground of Canada-Middle East relations – the Canadian Jewish community, the domestic Arab community, Canadian corporations with interests in the Middle East, the United Church, the Department of External, Affairs and the media. We have also seen how some of these actors have influenced the making of Canadian foreign policy on specific issues pertinent to the Arab-Israeli conflict. This chapter attempts to synthesize and compare these forces for the purpose of drawing some broad conclusions about the domestic dimensions of the conflict.


    • “Here I Am in the Middle”: Lester Pearson and the Origins of Canada’s Diplomatic Involvement in the Middle East
      (pp. 125-143)

      Canada’s diplomatic involvement in the Middle East can be dated from February 1947, when the Department of External Affairs was informed by the British government of its decision to place the future of Palestine before the United Nations.¹ Canada took a major role in the negotiations which followed the British announcement, culminating in the recommendation of the General Assembly in November 1947 that the area be partitioned into separate Jewish and Arab states joined in economic union. The under-secretary of state for external affairs Lester B. Pearson, remembered becoming “emotionally involved in a very special way because we were dealing...

    • Clark and the Jerusalem Embassy Affair: Initiative and Constraint in Canadian Foreign Policy
      (pp. 144-166)

      On 25 April 1979, halfway through Canada’s 1979 federal election campaign and just minutes before a meeting with the Canada-Israel Committee (cic) at a Toronto hotel, the leader of the Progressive Conservative party, Joe Clark, announced to the press that if elected he would be prepared to transfer the Canadian embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Only a few months before, while on a trip to the Middle East, Clark had refused to make such a commitment, on the grounds that it might adversely affect the Egyptian-Israeli peace negotiations. On 5 June 1979, at his first press conference...

    • Foreign Policy Making Towards the Middle East: Parliament, the Media, and the 1982 Lebanon War
      (pp. 167-185)

      On 6 June 1982, three days after an assassination attempt on Shlomo Argov, Israel’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, Israeli forces crossed their northern border with Lebanon and began what Prime Minister Menachem Begin called the “Peace for Galilee” operation. Intent on destroying the ability of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to bombard Israel’s northern settlements, Begin insisted that Israel’s forces would go no further than the 40-kilometre perimeter necessary to achieve the desired security. However, within days Israeli forces had pushed the PLO out of its southern strongholds and forced it to retreat into Beirut and the Syrian-controlled Bekaa...

    • Perceptions of the Middle East in the Department of External Affairs and Mulroney’s Policy 1984–1988
      (pp. 186-206)

      About 1 per cent of Canada’s trade is with the fifteen countries of the Middle East; less than 2 per cent of its aid is targeted to the area; 7.6 per cent of its recent immigrants have come from the Middle East; about 2 per cent of its armed forces participate in Middle East peacekeeping operations; and 6.4 per cent of its diplomats man Canada’s ten embassies in the area.¹ These figures do not suggest a major Canadian involvement in the Middle East, and yet the region has long been a source of intense interest to Canadian diplomats and scholars....

    • Collision Course: Joe Clark, Canadian Jews, and the Palestinian Uprising
      (pp. 207-224)

      On 9 December 1987, Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip began rioting against Israel’s occupation. Beginning with apparent suddenness, theintifadahas raged for over a year. More than three hundred Palestinians have been killed, thousands injured, and thousands imprisoned. A boycott of Israeli products, the mass resignation of Arab officials who helped Israel administer the territories, and periodic general strikes have destroyed much of the infrastructure that Israel had erected over a twenty-year period. The cost of occupation which Israel, although not all Israelis, had borne lightly for over twenty years is now being fully paid,...

    • Canada and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A Discussion with Irving Abella and John Sigler
      (pp. 227-248)

      Taras What are Canada’s interests in the Middle East? How important are these interests in the larger scheme of Canadian foreign policy?

      Abella As Henry Kissinger put it: “There are interests and there interests.” Over the past decade, Canada’s primary interest has been economic–and it seems from all the position papers and statements emerging from the Department of External Affairs that it will remain that way for the foreseeable future. Since the early 1970s, the Middle East has been increasingly viewed by foreign policy makers as an area of vast economic opportunity, not only as a source of capital...

  8. Contributors
    (pp. 249-250)