President Reuven Rivlin on Monday met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the capital, Ottawa, as part of a state visit to Canada.
Rivlin commended Trudeau for taking a stand against anti-Semitism and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and for Canada’s support of Israel internationally, including for the parliament’s move to freeze relations with Iran.
The president spoke of Iran’s regional influence in the Middle East and said, “The world cannot allow Iran” to build “a Shiite axis in Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.”
“The only way to halt Iran’s plans is by concerted international pressure and targeted military action whenever needed,” Rivlin said, according to a readout from his office.
Later Monday, Trudeau and Rivlin were set to pay a visit to Ottawa’s Holocaust Memorial.
In January, Trudeau blasted the BDS movement as anti-Semitic and contrary to “Canadian values,” and accused it of intimidating Jewish students on university campuses.
Last November, Trudeau issued a formal apology on behalf of his country for its refusal to accept 907 Jewish refugees, who were seeking asylum from Nazi Germany, aboard the German ocean liner MS St. Louis in 1939. Canada turned the ship away and, with no safe haven, it returned to Europe, where more than 250 later died in the Holocaust.
In January, a survey found that a majority of adults in Canada are uninformed or misinformed about the Holocaust, and that six out of 10 believe fewer people care about the Holocaust than used to.
Twenty-two percent of Canadian millennials had not heard of the Holocaust before, or were unsure whether they had heard of it. Fifty-two percent of millennials were unable to name a single concentration camp or ghetto, and nearly a quarter of Canadians – 23% – believed that 2 million Jews or fewer were killed in the Holocaust.