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May 26, 2016 4:15 pm

Report: New Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau to Cut Short Pro-Israel Ambassador’s Tenure

avatar by Ruthie Blum

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Canadian Ambassador to Israel Vivian Bercovici. Photo: Canadian Friends of Hebrew University.

Canadian Ambassador to Israel Vivian Bercovici. Photo: Canadian Friends of Hebrew University.

Canada’s pro-Israel ambassador to the Jewish state is reportedly having her tenure cut short by new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is shuffling appointments of his predecessor, PM Stephen Harper.

In a veiled confirmation, Vivian Bercovici told The Algemeiner on Thursday that she “serves at the pleasure” of her country’s prime minister, and will “continue to fulfill [her] official duties,” as long as they are requested.

Bercovici was responding to reports in the Canadian press that Trudeau is on the verge of replacing her with Deborah Lyons, currently Canada’s ambassador to Afghanistan.

Though, according to the Canadian Jewish News (CJN), the administration in Ottawa has not officially confirmed or denied the report, Shimon Fogel, the CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs — the advocacy arm of the Jewish federations of Canada — told the outlet that the announcement of Bercovici’s departure would likely be made sometime before the summer.

Assumptions were that there would be a shuffle in diplomatic and other posts when Liberal Party leader Trudeau beat Conservative leader Harper.

“It’s pretty much the convention that political appointments don’t often survive a change in government,” Fogel told The CJN. “It’s standard operating procedure. So nobody should be surprised.”

Rumors about Bercovici specifically began circulating, however, not merely because she had been a Harper appointee. She “was very outspoken in her views,” Fogel told the CJN. “Some people may have taken note of that.”

Indeed, Bercovici, a corporate lawyer by profession, was a regular columnist in the Toronto Star, where her hard-hitting, politically conservative pieces – which were both supportive of the Netanyahu-led Israeli government and critical of the Palestinian Authority – may have been part of the reason for her capturing the attention of Harper and then-Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.

When Baird announced her appointment in January 2014, both he and Bercovici came under fire. One reason given for the controversy was that she had been selected from outside of foreign-service ranks. Another had to do with her being a Jew who had spent two years at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the early 1980s.

But it was her politics that aroused ire in the media, at home and abroad. She had warned against the Iran deal, criticizing US President Barack Obama and European leaders for appeasing the Islamic Republic. She had attacked the United Nations for what she called its hypocritical treatment of Israel. She had highlighted the lack of human rights in Arab societies. And – in the summer before her appointment — she had written:

Peace, even a fragile one, will take root only when the Palestinian leadership recognizes, unequivocally, the “right” of the Jewish state of Israel to exist within secure borders. Even [PA President Mahmoud] Abbas acknowledged recently the tragedy of the Palestinian and broader Arab rejection of the two-state solution proposed by the United Nations in 1947. What he does not acknowledge, though, is that for a two-state solution to work, one must be Jewish and the other Arab. For, in doing so, he would counter a core theme of the Palestinian narrative: that there can be no peace until all Palestinian refugees and their descendants are granted the “right” to return to their pre-’48 homes, even if they fall within present-day Israel.

When challenged by reporters suggesting that Bercovici was “too partisan,” Baird replied: “I think it won’t be a huge shock to anyone that Canada is a strong supporter of the state of Israel … the only liberal democracy in the region.”

When Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, broke out six months into her tenure, Bercovici took to Twitter to spar with anti-Israel social-media users accusing the IDF of targeting Palestinian civilians.

When asked by the Times of Israel whether she didn’t consider her posts to constitute Israel-advocacy, Bercovici answered, “My tweets are strongly worded. I would like to think that they reflect the message and tone of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird in terms of Canada’s unequivocal support for Israel.”

That was in July 2014. A few months later, in February 2015, Baird resigned from Harper’s cabinet. Trudeau assumed office on November 4, 2015.

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  • ita

    Hello…what do you think was going to happen with twice as many Muslims as Jews. Canada like the USA has allowing huge Muslim emigration tn the past 10 years. You think reform is about migrant Mexican farm workers? Look at the population statistics. The ballot boxes are being stuffed. Right in front of your eyes. So goes Canada the USA is next.

  • Why are we as a people so cursed with these Jew hating bastards as the Canadian PM who should go back to skiing or that moron Bernie Sanders who hates his parents.

    How do we get rid of them. We can pray for their demise.

  • Trudeau was cultivated by pro-Islamists seeking great power and the overthrow of Western civilization.

    Penetrating Trudeau’s inner circle, steering him, getting him elected (with plenty of oil money), pro-Islamic policies now abound. Thus the “caliphate” advances. Trudeau’s win was a loss for Canada and the free world.

    Anti-Israel policies will prevail. Mr. Fogel shouldn’t pretend this is business as usual.

  • Myron Slater

    It seems that Canada is trying to appease the Moslems living in their country. Take note, Canadians, you are heading towards the same future as the Europeans, the take over by the Moslems. The Israel Ambassador Bercovici, was a welcome change, someone who tells the truth!

  • Ted U.

    Trudeau is the Canadian Obama. I weep for Canada and her people.

  • Robert Davis

    If trudeau is so stupid as to replace her with pro arab ambassador, the links will not be good and Canada would be the loser. trudeau is just a stupid opportunist,a good for nothing, a play boy with no brain. The proof will be in the cake soon enough.

  • Ani

    Sad but not surprising. Canada has taken some large steps away from support of Israel with this latest election.

  • Iris Langman

    Ambassador Bercovici has been an excellent ambassador to Israel . Her knowledge and experience are an asset to Canada and Israel . She fully understood and grasped issues in the the region . She was not afraid to express her thoughts and support . She interacted with Israeli organizations in the most professional manor representing Canada with dignity and honesty . Her professionalism strengthens the ties between two great democracies . It would be a shame for both Canada and Israel to cut her tenure short .

  • if she does a great job, the praise will go to Harper who put her here, so it’s obvious Trudeau will have to search for some equivalent whose behavior will praise him. just what behavior he will consider sufficient praise is presently unknown. but im sure there are enough candidates for him to pick from. and by their deeds (or lack of them) will we know them… and him. // just sorry to lose such a great ambassador….

  • Trudeau is a pro Islam idiot. It is a great shame on civilization that such a ‘man’ should be in charge of a once great country. Pandering to Islam will only shorten the time to Canada’s conversion to the dark ages. Obama and Trudeaux are great mates and together plot the end of a free world.

  • Frances Weingarten

    It is my opinion that Vivian Bercovici was a splendid choice to be Canada’s ambassador to Israel. Her views on Israel were positive and rational and she didn’t hesitate to speak of her support of the country whenever it was deserved. We can only hope that if she is to be dismissed that her replacement will be someone who understands and supports the country. Israel deserves no less, being the only democracy in the Middle East and the only country in that part of the world which is tolerant and accepting of all people.

    • Moshe Stern

      Frances, don’t hold your breath waiting for a replacement to
      Ambassador Bercovici being a supporter of Israel. Trudeau, like his father Pierre, is no lover of Israel.

    • Esta Pomotovy

      A very accurate statement and opinion that reflects the reality of the Middle East.