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December 17, 2014 3:45 pm

Canada, Australia Boycott Geneva Convention Conference Over Concerns of Anti-Israel Bias

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Australian Ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – Canada and Australia on Wednesday boycotted a conference in Switzerland discussing the Fourth Geneva Convention and the situation in the Palestinian territories due to concerns about the conference’s anti-Israel bias.

“Canada has conveyed its deep concerns and has communicated clearly that it will neither attend this conference nor lend it any credibility,” Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said in a statement earlier this week.

“Canada is deeply disappointed by the convening of this one-sided and politicized conference, which serves only to single out one country, Israel, for criticism,” he said. “Canada has complete faith in the strength of the rule of law in Israel, and we believe the Israelis are capable of investigating matters surrounding the events that took place in Gaza in the summer of 2014.”

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Australian Ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma, meanwhile, said on Twitter that Australia “will not be attending today’s special conference in Geneva on the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

The Fourth Geneva Convention—which provides for humanitarian protections for civilians in a war zone and all 196 members of the U.N. are signatories too—has often been used by critics of Israel to condemn Israeli actions in the Palestinian territories.

At the Swiss conference, 126 of the 196 parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention adopted a declaration that humanitarian law must be followed in areas affected by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Associated Press reported.

The declaration also said that Israel should “fully and effectively” respect the Fourth Geneva Convention.

“This is a signal and we can hope that words count,” said Paul Fivat, Switzerland’s special ambassador for the Geneva Conventions.

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  • Luigi Rosolin

    Well done by AU and Canada: how is that attached Israel by Gaza Palestinian’s had not the right to defend himself. Why EU is supporting the Palestinian’s ideology that is proclaim like Iran to wanted the Jews been destroy? Is not UN see the difference from a democratic government from a control terrorist regime that also base they hate ideology with the Islamic extreme cult. Had the world not open up the eyes of what Islam ideology cult cause?

  • goldi steiner

    I am proud to be a Canadian!
    I am Canadian by choice, and” there is no place on earth where i would rather be” to paraphrase the lead song from ‘My Fair Lady’.
    I am proud of our Prime Minister, and of the choice of leaders he surrounded himself with.

  • JACQUES Hadida

    This Geneva Conférence Is no different than the United Nations when it comes to dealing with Israel.
    The majority of Arab and Muslim nations, hating Israel, for being so different from them, will invite nations needing their wares (ie: petroleum) to vote in their favor, thus against Israel.
    So what can one expect?
    On one side we have ISIS killing Moslems by the thousands and no one speaks, but should a Palestnian die, then everyone attacks Israel.
    The world has lost its common sense and sadly is satisfied with a status-quo that no one benefits of.
    Luckily, very few countries, like in this case Australia and Canada, will show the world their true colors and support one of the finest democracies on our planet .

  • shloime

    and not a single word about the many, flagrant violations by hamas?

    • Dale

      Has there ever been?

  • Julian Clovelley

    Can’t help feeling this republished JNS article is a little upside down and does not confirm with JNS’s stated purpose “We provide objective, non-partisan reporting from Jewish communities throughout the U.S., Europe, South America, South Africa, Australia and a wide array of Israel news.”

    The core fact in the subject of this article is that “At the Swiss conference, 126 of the 196 parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention adopted a declaration that humanitarian law must be followed in areas affected by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Associated Press reported” – That is a “majority” however you look at it

    Instead this article is constructed as being about how “Canada and Australia on Wednesday boycotted a conference in Switzerland discussing the Fourth Geneva Convention and the situation in the Palestinian territories due to concerns about the conference’s anti-Israel bias.”

    The Australian Government currently is increasingly unpopular, and subject in most of its policies to ridicule within Australia, having reversed practically every one of its election promises and in recent days having turned a promise of a budget surplus into a 40.5 billion dollar(Australian) deficit. Currently the Abbott Australian Government seeks solace in just about the only place it can get it – which being the Canadian Government. Both are renowned for their reactionary stance on matters such as climate change policy

    There are editorial standards surely, in any newspaper or news source seeking credibility for its output, that demand articles be centred on the main issue and not side issues. I would have thought that a conference related to the Geneva Conventions was such an issue, not the two parties that failed to attend for whatever reason. What we have here is a bit like an article reporting a major sporting event that is centred on the fact that Vladamir Putin didn’t watch it, and totally fails to describe the actual event

    It is deeply disturbing to see Israeli and Zionist Right Wing extremism trying to portray every criticism of their stance as – “anti Israel per se” and “Antisemitism”. The trouble with lies is that if you tell them often enough people begin to believe them (where have we heard that before). Who said “By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise.” – Contrary I am sure to its intentions Right Wing extremismt propaganda is effectively “defining” modern “Antisemitism” and – as Karl Marx exploited in his first words of the Communist Manifesto, it is a very small step from defining an idea to creating its very existence.

    Let me explain this process using the Marxist example – The Manifesto began “A spectre is haunting Europe, the spectre of Communism. All the powers of the old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre:” Marx then went on to define “Communism” – particluarly in section II of the Manifesto.

    That definition n fact did not coincide with all of the definitions of the time. But Marx managed, by being the first to so clearly define Communism, to shape its current and future nature. It was a clever propaganda coup and one views is morality according to one’s political opinion

    Do Israel and the Jewish community really seek to delineate what constitutes “Antisemitism” as being pro-Democratic, pro-Geneva Conventions, pro-intenational charities, pro-international law. pro-International Criminal Court, pro United Nations, pro multiculturalism, and anti Apartheid? Right Wing extremists seem to be portraying what many see as common decency and practical progressive politics as “Antisemitism” – What are observers left with but a bunch of people demanding the right to occupy for fifty years, and with no apparent end, territory seized in a war – and furthermore to settle that territory with the consequent need to impose martial law on the indigenous population

    Come off it – this is dreadful propaganda. It blinds people to the reality that Israel is also a diverse democracy that contains within itself many conflicting streams of thought – and perhaps worse – that the Jewish community worldwide is also ideologically diverse.

    To my mind an editorial rethink in Jewish media is urgently needed, imposing the standards that some of its writers demand of others. I do not think Zionist extremism – or the “Jewish Right” fairly define Israeli and Jewish identity in the eyes of the world

    And this is dangerous

  • Top UK and USA military figures have praised Israel’s concern for the human rights of civilians, something hard to say about any of the Islamist war zones. In terms of the UN there are about 24 Arab states out of a total of 50+ predominantly Muslim states. Many other states depend on Islamic oil, No surprise Israel stands alone, with only the USA, Canada and Australia refusing to attend. Even the UK, America’s closest ally, has not refused to attend.Top professors of Law have explained why Israel’s actions in the occupied West Bank do not violate the Geneva Conventions.