Canadian Jewish Leaders Confident Govt. Will Honor Promise to Move Embassy
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Canadian Jewish Leaders Confident Govt. Will Honor Promise to Move Embassy

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Canadian Jewish leaders, obviously disappointed that Prime Minster Joe Clark has delayed his promised move of the Canadian Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by the appointment of Robert Stanfield to study the issue, nevertheless expressed confidence today that the promise will be fulfilled.

Dr. W. Gunther Plaut, president of the Canadian Jewish Congress, said that Clark “has obviously attempted to defuse a very explosive situation because it is difficult to deal with foreign policy decisions in a crisis atmosphere. I have every reason to believe that Mr. Clark still expects to move the Embassy at the right time and to the right place.” He added, however, that “this matter has become a question of Canadian independence…. Is Canada capable of conducting foreign policy in accordance with its own judgement or will it constantly make its decisions as a result of threats or blackmail?”


Harold Buckwald, of Winnipeg, national chairman of the Canada-Israel Committee, declared. “We are confident this does not represent a change of policy on the part of the government. Mr. Clark’s commitment to move the Embassy has not changed.” He said he thought that “Robert Stanfield’s participation in establishing the facts and circumstances involved in the Embassy matter will provide a calming effect.”

Thomas Hecht, vice president of the Canadian Zionist Federation, said “Our position in the Jerusalem matter is to ‘study the full implications of the latest development while assuming that the Canadian government’s position and commitment have not changed. In other words, we assume it is not a position of ‘if,’ rather that of ‘when’ and ‘how.’ We have full confidence that the government of Canada will act in a sovereign manner.”


Ben Milner, president of the Herut Movement of Canada, said that “Canada has always shown its independence and always took the proper steps…. I feel that the government’s latest action on Jerusalem is the result of outside interference with the Canadian government decision. In a way this is giving in to blackmail.” Jeffrey Lyons, a Toronto Jewish Lawyer and a friend of Clark, who accompanied him to Israel last January, said “The Embassy policy started when we were in Israel and mainly was the result of a proposal made by the present Minister of Immigration Ron Atkey. I didn’t think it would be this explosive. But it will come. The Embassy will be moved to Jerusalem as promised.”

Lyons expressed disappointment with the Canadian Jewish community’s reaction. He said he had been told the community was united and would support the commitment to move the Embassy. “But it didn’t turn out that way,” he said. “I was misled.” He said some in the Jewish community, particularly in Toronto, were opposed to the Embassy move because of fear of anti-Jewish attitudes that would be provoked by the controversy.

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