Sponsored travel helping Israel win over Canadian MPs

Good piece in iPolitics on the influence of sponsored travel, focussing on Israel but not unique (i.e., Taiwan):

Independent MP Brent Rathgeber says he enthusiastically accepted the chance to visit Israel when he was invited in 2010.

“It was a fascinating trip. It was a great trip. I learned a great deal on all aspects of it. I grew up in a Christian home and it was fascinating to visit the holy sites.”

Rathgeber says the trips deliver value for the CIJA and could be having an effect on the reaction of Canada’s MPs to the current conflict.

“The sponsors of these trips, although in fairness they try to provide some balance on the conflict, obviously have a goal in mind in the education that they provide by taking you there. So, I am not surprised that all of the major parties seem to have a certain perspective with respect to this ongoing conflict in Gaza.”

Norman Spector, a former Canadian ambassador to Israel, is among those who have met with MPs on trips sponsored at the time by the Canada Israel Committee.

Spector said he also set up meetings and tours for MPs when he was ambassador but his tours included elements he suspects the CIJA tours are lacking – like a wide range of Palestinian views including members of Hamas before it was declared a terrorist organization and some of the far right voices in Israel.

“I doubt that many MPs have been taken on these missions to a refugee camp in Nablus or if any has seen raw sewage flowing at Jabalya camp in Gaza.”

Sponsored travel helping Israel win over Canadian MPs. (pay wall)

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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