Three senators face criticism over trip to Israel, meeting with right-wing politician

OTTAWA — Three Canadian senators are facing criticism after visiting Israel and inviting a right-wing politician to Canada.

Senate Speaker George Furey joined Conservative Senate Leader Don Plett and unaffiliated Sen. Patti LaBoucane-Benson on a trip to Israel this week.

They met with local officials including Amir Ohana, the speaker of the Israeli parliament, which announced the senators had invited him to visit Canada.

Ohana has previously caused controversy by claiming in media interviews that Muslims are prone to "cultural murderousness."

The advocacy group Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East is criticizing the senators for posting about the trip without mentioning human-rights concerns, just weeks after Ottawa condemned the Israeli government's shift toward right-wing policies.

LaBoucane-Benson says the trio was unable to meet with Palestinian officials, but says she had called for peace and de-escalation of recent violence.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2023.

The Canadian Press