Canada-Israel Joint Declaration of Solidarity and Friendship

It has now been one year since the Prime Minister of the Government of Canada, the Right Honourable Mr. Stephen Harper made a historic visit to the State of Israel – a visit that marked a major milestone in the strong friendship and partnership between our two nations. Today, we, the Foreign Ministers of Canada and the State of Israel, met in Jerusalem to reaffirm the importance of this relationship, and to commit to strengthening cooperation even further.

Our friendship is built first and foremost on shared values. Our peoples share a passionate belief in, and willingness to defend, the principles of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. From this friendship stems an increasingly dynamic partnership – not just in diplomacy and government, but in our business and cultural ties.

Our ambitions for developing all aspects of this relationship were embodied in the Memorandum of Understanding between Canada and Israel regarding a Canada-Israel Strategic Partnership, signed at Jerusalem on 21 January 2014. The first anniversary of its signing provides an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to achieving its objectives. To that end, we have attached to this Declaration a series of concrete steps and commitments.

Collaborating on Security Challenges

This past year has unfortunately been marked by extremist violence and tragedy in both Canada and the State of Israel. Prime Minister Harper told the Knesset that Canada would stand with Israel “through fire and water”, and Canada has been true to its word. Equally, the State of Israel was one of the first to reach out to Canada after its own terrorist attacks. Both of our nations have shown solidarity with France, Australia, Nigeria, and all those affected by the scourge of global terrorism.

Whether the fight against violent extremism is conducted over the skies of Iraq or in the tunnels under Gaza, Canada and the State of Israel are fighting enemies whose hateful ideologies and goals threaten all peaceful, democratic societies. That’s why we are committed to enhancing our collaboration on security and defence, especially in the increasingly important area of cyber-security.

Shared Diplomatic Goals

Not all threats and challenges come in the form of bombs and rockets, nor can they all be solved by them. On the international stage, our diplomats work together closely, providing mutual support in advancing our shared values and national interests.

We have decided to build on this successful partnership by increasing the exchanges and interactions between Canadian and Israeli diplomats, including through sharing best practices in the use of social media and new technologies. We will also continue to expand our dialogue and strategic cooperation in addressing core regional and global issues such as the challenge posed by terrorism and its principal sponsors like Iran, or collaboration on development work in Africa and Asia.

Too often, international fora and non-governmental organizations don’t live up to the ideals on which they were founded. During our discussions we shared our growing concerns about the rise of anti-Semitism, and determined efforts to isolate and demonize the State of Israel. Threats to launch economic boycotts, calls for divestment and efforts to impose sanctions are unjustifiable by any objective standard. This kind of selective targeting of Israel will not succeed. We will continue to work closely together in countering these efforts, also with other like-minded partners.

Doubling our Commercial Partnership

Canada and the State of Israel are committed to expanding the commercial partnership between their dynamic, trade-oriented economies. We are confident that the objective we have set today of doubling the value of our commerce over five years is achievable.

Governments can play a role in making this happen, but the onus for genuine, sustainable growth rests with the private and non-governmental sectors. We call on Canadian and Israeli business leaders to redouble their efforts and to mobilize their resources to achieve this goal.

Today we welcome the progress being made in on-going negotiating rounds for the expansion of the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement, and we commit to expanding trade missions – focusing on new start-ups, innovation and science.

Enhancing People-to-People Ties

The bonds between our peoples are at the heart of the special relationship between our two countries, and always will be. That’s why we have recommitted to bringing Canadians and Israelis together through exchanges between our cultural, scientific, education and sporting communities.

Going forward we will explore new ways of supporting joint research initiatives, and of increasing opportunities for young people in both countries to engage with and learn from each other.

By committing to all of these objectives, we are optimistic that 2015 will serve as a new high point in the solidarity and friendship between our nations. We work together, we trade together, and we stand together.

Signed at Jerusalem on this 18 day of January 2015, which corresponds to the 27 day of Tevet 5775 in the Hebrew calendar, in the English language. The Hebrew and French texts will be signed on a later date, mutually decided upon by both Sides, all versions being equally valid.

John Baird
For the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

Avigdor Lieberman
For the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel