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The Trudeau Government’s Fake Fight Against Antisemitism, Part 2

Credibility undermined by treatment of Israel in the context of Palestinian conflict

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau strides to the microphone in Winnipeg on Sept. 19, 2019, to apologize to Canadians for posing in blackface. (Photo: Marty Gold)

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Does the Trudeau government still consider BDS to be anti-Semitic?

By the time 2020 rolled around, something curious happened. On February 4, 2020, during Question Period in the House of Commons, Conservative M.P. David Sweet made the following statement about BDS on university campuses and directed a simple question to the then Minister of Foreign Affairs:

“Mr. Speaker, the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement continues its campaign against Israel on Canadian campuses in Canadian cities. In my own backyard, when it first came about, some of the BDS movement called for sanctions against Jewish professors at McMaster University in Hamilton.

Given the alarming rise of antisemitismin Canada, North America and the world, could the Liberal government clarify whether it considers BDS to be anti-Semitic?”

Francois-Phillipe Champagne, the Minister of Foreign Affairs did not answer the question directly. Instead he replied “…we always stand up for Canadian values and Canadian principles and we will continue to do so not only in Canada but on the international stage.”

As it will be demonstrated in the next part, the answer to the question has become negative in the context of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

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Francois-Phillipe Champagne and the fight against antisemitism and the de-legitimisation of Israel.

In December 2019, when Francois-Phillipe Champagne was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jewish national organisation B’nai Brith asked him to lead the way for Canada to fight against antisemitism and the de-legitimisation of Israel on the world stage. And towards this end, the organization provided the Minister with a list of eight recommendations for carrying out this task.

To the best of the writer’s knowledge, the Minister did not act on any of these.

The application of the IHRA definition of antisemitism in foreign affairs 

In 2009, the Harper government adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism for foreign policy purposes.

One of the illustrations of the definition provided by IHRA is: “Applying double standards by requiring of [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.”

The government’s treatment of Israel in the context of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict provides ample evidence that so far Trudeau government has honoured the definition in its breach.

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Trudeau’s handling of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict

The government’s gratuitous criticism of the conduct of the government of Israel and Israelis in response to Palestinian terrorism feeds and lends an aura of truth to domestic antisemitism triggered by the conflict.

The evidence read as a whole, shows that Trudeau’s handling of the conflict is governed by his strong determination, a) to promote and preserve his strong electoral relationship with the Canadian Muslim community, while b) to the extent possible, not to unduly upset the Jewish community. To date, his record on the first objective has been outstanding, while it leaves much to be desired on the second objective.

During the period 2016-2107 the Foreign Minister Dion made it clear that Israel shares, if not bears the responsibility for the ills befalling it. He equated Palestinian and Israeli “violence” and incitement.

In the wake of two particularly horrifying stabbing attacks by Palestinian terrorists against two Israeli women- one slashed to death in front of her traumatised teenage daughter and the other wounded while pregnant, Dion warned Israel about receiving a more harshly worded reprimand.

In 2018, Trudeau issued an official letter strongly supporting “Palestinian Day” which took place in the Parliament building, coinciding with “Land Day” which is an annual event that calls for the annihilation of Israel.

From March 30 to May 15, 2018 Gazan activists organized weekly the “Great March of Return” demonstrations along the Gaza-Israel border. The event was soon endorsed and organized by Hamas who continued with it until December 27, 2019.

Beginning with 30,000-35,000 demonstrators, the number of demonstrators which included Hamas agents averaged 10,000 thereafter. Inevitably, the marches triggered violent attacks that caused the Israeli army to respond to defend the border and to protect its personnel where such responses were strictly unavoidable.

“Thank you Mr. Prime minister for your support,” posted the Association of Palestinian Arab Canadians on Facebook on May 2, 2018. “The Palestinian Canadian feels gratified that Canada took this principled stand in a timely and clear manner about Jerusalem. We urge you to ensure that Canada continues on this path of support for justice_ based peace in the middle east .” (Photo:  APAC – Association of Palestinian Arab Canadians)

The case of Dr. Tarek Loubani

During the armed confrontations, Dr. Loubani, a Canadian medical doctor of Gazan origin was injured by an Israeli bullet. His injury was treated by Israelis and then placed on a plane to enable him to travel to Europe to attend a scheduled conference. On May 16, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs  Chrystia Freeland issued the following statement concerning the Gaza conflict:

“We are deeply disturbed over the rising death toll in Gaza this past day. Israel has a right to defend its borders, but must never use lethal force against unarmed protesters. Hamas also bears much responsibility for the situation in Gaza by mixing armed combatants with peaceful demonstrators and encouraging Gazans to breach the border fence.”

Minister Freeland’s statement assigned Hamas much responsibility for the incident. Nevertheless , the statement in effect also condemned as war criminals the soldier who shot Dr. Loubani’s legs and the IDF for using force against unarmed protestors who were in fact being used by Hamas as human shields.

Trudeau obviously did not think his Minister’s statement put enough blame on Israel. He could not keep his shirt on.

Shortly after Freeland issued her statement, he issued his very own inflammatory anti-Israeli statement:

“Canada deplores and is gravely concerned by the violence in the Gaza Strip that has led to a tragic loss of life and injured countless people. We are appalled that Dr. Tarek Loubani, a Canadian citizen, is among the wounded – along with so many unarmed people, including civilians, members of the media, first responders, and children.”        

“We are doing everything we can to assist Dr. Loubani and his family, and to determine how a Canadian citizen came to be injured.           

“We are engaging with Israeli officials to get to the bottom of these events. Reported use of excessive force and live ammunition is inexcusable.               

“It is imperative we establish the facts of what is happening in Gaza. Canada calls for an immediate independent investigation to thoroughly examine the facts on the ground – including any incitement.”

In a moment of clear thinking about the matter, to his credit, the Prime Minister found the UNGA resolution tabled by Pakistan and other Muslim countries to be biased against Israel and he voted against a proposal to assign the United Nations the task of conducting the kind of investigation he had in mind.

True to form, Trudeau did not take the trouble to have the facts examined thoroughly. He condemned Israel based in good measure on the “reported” [but unverified] excessive force used by the IDF towards the civilians whom he described as “protestors.”

Canadian Doctor Tarek Loubani was among the hundreds injured in Israel four years ago when he was among Hamas activists posing as Palestinian protesters rushing the border.  (Photo: Facebook)

The statement had nothing to say about a) Hamas, the instigator of the events in front of the Israeli border; b) Israel’s absolute right to defend itself and insure the safety and security of its inhabitants. More damning, not long after Trudeau issued his unsubstantiated denunciation of Israel for having, in effect, committed war crimes, Yahya Sinwar, then Leader of Hamas in Gaza contradicted his key accusations when he declared:

“Our people took off their military uniforms and joined the marches; they have imposed their agenda upon the whole world; we decided to turn the bodies of our women and children into a dam blocking Arab collapse.”

Sinwar further identified 60 of the 69-70 deceased demonstrators as Hamas militants while the second terrorist group identified three of the remaining deceased as its own militants.

Col. Richard Kemp, an internationally recognised and respected military expert, told the special meeting of the U.N.  Human Rights  Council  that IDF troops should be commended for saving the lives of Palestinians during the violent rioting that occurred during the week of May 13.  

So much for the factual veracity of Trudeau’s statement.

As Fred Maroun, a Canadian of Arab descent and an established commentator on Middle-East affairs put it: “If a conflict was ever invented for the sole purpose of demonstrating the concept of virtue signaling, the ongoing Hamas attacks on Israel’s borders with Gaza would be it…’The Oxford Dictionary defines virtue signaling as “the action or practice of publicly expressing opinions and sentiments intended to demonstrate one’s good character or the moral correctness of one’s position on a particular issue’. Contrary to moral behavior, virtue signaling aims to appear moral, without regard to whether or not it is in fact moral.”

Fred Maroun is a Canadian of Lebanese origin who lives near Ottawa and has written extensively on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including about 200 posts in a Times of Israel blog, The Gatestone Institute, The Jerusalem Post, New Canadian Media, and others. In his view, “Trudeau had a choice. He could have shown courage and moral leadership … by denouncing Hamas for creating a situation that forces Israel to defend itself…” (Photo: @Fred_Maroun)

Maroun went on: “Trudeau had a choice. He could have showed courage and moral leadership of Nikki Haley the U.S ambassador to the U.N , by denouncing Hamas for creating a situation that forces Israel to defend itself, or he could have followed the crowd and made unsubstantiated accusations against Israel in order to appear to be [doing] the right thing. By choosing the latter, Trudeau and many other world leaders demonstrated the practice of virtue signaling.”

When the leader of the Conservative Party demanded that he apologize, Trudeau accused the Conservatives, for politicizing the issue of support for Israel and damaging Canada’s “pluralistic democracy”.

Presumably he was referring to the component of this pluralism which is anti-Israeli cum antisemitic electoral constituencies.

The same year after the Loubani incident, in the late fall, a Canadian Jewish couple visiting Israel was attacked by a Palestinian jihadist who opened fire on Israeli citizens on a drive- by. The husband was shot at five times. His wife, 30 weeks pregnant, was shot in the abdomen.

Their baby boy delivered by emergency C-section died. The couple started their recovery in hospital. The Conservative Opposition Leader promptly issued a statement expressing his grief at the death of the infant, praying for the complete recovery of the injured couple and condemning the terrorist attack unequivocally and in the strongest terms.

It took Trudeau two days to get around addressing the matter. He did not call for an international independent inquiry with respect to the Palestinian terrorism and in particular it’s “pay for slay” terrorism program to address the questions he raised about the Loubani incident, although the outcome of this case was far more devastating than that of the doctor.

Doğan D. Akman is an independent researcher and commentator. He holds a B.Sc. in sociology, an M.A. in sociology/criminology and an LL.B in law. He held academic appointments in sociology, criminology and social policy; served as a Judge of the Provincial Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, and occupied the positions of Crown Counsel in criminal prosecutions and in civil litigation at the Federal Department of Justice. His academic work is published in peer-reviewed professional journals, while his opinion pieces and other writings are to be found in various publications and in blogs.  

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Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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