The Canadian government has come to the defense of Saudi Arabia, telling The Jerusalem Post that the desert kingdom's policy of barring entry to Canadian citizens whose passports bear an Israeli visa or border stamp is "accepted practice."
According to the Web site of Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, "Canadians have been denied entry into Saudi Arabia because their passports bore: a) an Israeli visa; b) an Israeli border stamp; or c) an Egyptian or Jordanian border stamp issued by an office bordering Israel (such a stamp would indicate the traveller entered from Israel)."
Contacted via e-mail by the Post, Department spokesman Lisa Monette was asked how the Canadian government views the Saudi policy. Monette refused to criticize or condemn the practice, instead asserting that, "it is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter."
When pressed further on the matter and asked if Canada had raised the issue with Saudi officials, Monette once again reiterated the right of every country to impose such rules, describing it as the "accepted practice within the international community."
Contacted by the Post, a leading Canadian Jewish organization expressed outrage over Saudi Arabia's policy and said they would raise the matter with Canadian government officials in Ottawa.
"We will ask the Canadian government to make every effort to ensure that Canadian citizens are not discriminated against by the human-rights abusing regime of Saudi Arabia," said B'nai B'rith Canada Executive Vice President Frank Dimant. "The issue goes well beyond Canadian passports and is a matter for all democracies in the world to deal with," he added.