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Trudeau Could Still Lead Us On The Israel-Hamas War – What’s He Got To Lose?

Trudeau's Wavering Stance on Israel: A Political Tightrope Walk

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Throughout the West and around the democratic world leaders were affirming they stood with Israel and its right to defend itself. Here in Canada, Trudeau and Freeland added a clause: “in accordance with international law.” (Photo: Supplied)

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I confess I had hopes. Back on October 9, me and 15,000 other people rallied in Toronto in support of Israel. This was in those black days when the news just kept getting worse: the numbers confirmed murdered and kidnapped kept rising, the news of mass torture and rape began to circulate, while horrific videos taken by the terrorists themselves were all over the internet, and in Canada and around the world, upon hearing the news of the slaughter, thousands of people were rejoicing – literally dancing in the streets (here).

One of the speakers that night in Toronto’s Mel Lastman Square was Chrystia Freeland, our Deputy Prime Minister, while the Prime Minister himself was speaking at a similar rally in Ottawa. In Ottawa, Trudeau condemned Hamas’s terrorist attack, and stated: “We stand with Israel and reaffirm our support for Israel’s right to defend itself (here).” Freeland delivered this same message.

I wanted to believe they meant it. The Jewish community in Canada is tiny and vulnerable, as is Israel in the world at large. I needed to believe.

Throughout the West and around the democratic world, other leaders were affirming they, too, stood with Israel, they too affirmed Israel is right to defend itself. But unlike elsewhere, here in Canada, Trudeau and Freeland added a clause: “in accordance with international law.”

I hoped this was just a bit of reflexive Liberal preening – adding a completely obvious caveat as a reminder that the Liberals consider themselves high-minded. I could forgive them their vanity.

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By now, though, it’s clear Trudeau was laying the groundwork to try to please both sides: those supporting Canada’s ally, the only fellow democracy in the Middle East, and those who hate that democracy.

For the benefit of those supporting Israel’s war to destroy Hamas so that Israelis may once again live without fear, Trudeau decries Hamas’s terrorism.

But he also fashions statements for the other side. On November 14, he declared Israel must end its “killing of women, of children, of babies” – phrasing it as if Israel chooses to kill innocents. Trudeau’s words could have been written by Hamas’s propaganda department. His words had an eerie echo of centuries of blood libel – of accusations of Jews killing babies for ritual or for pleasure or because that’s just what Jews do.

The same day, November 14, a poster depicting the blood libel was put up at the main entrance to the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto: a picture of a hook-nosed Netanyahu sacrificing a Palestinian baby on an altar.

Not a coincidence.

I don’t imagine Trudeau believes in the blood libel. But at this moment in Canada, the idea of Israelis (and those Jews who support Israel) as evil incarnated has become part of the Zeit Geist. That we’re committing genocide against helpless Palestinians is an article of faith for the left (and for the extreme far right).  

Then on November 16, Trudeau again affirmed Canada’s “long-standing support for Israel and its right to defend itself” (here), as if he hadn’t slandered Israel as baby-killers two days earlier. 

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We saw this policy of extreme wobble earlier when Hamas claimed Israel had bombed the al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza. Trudeau rushed to a microphone to declare the bombing “absolutely unacceptable” and “not legal.” 

Why the rush? I think because Trudeau expected the accusation would soon be disproved because (a) the claim came from Hamas and you don’t believe what terrorists say (duh) and (b) because Israel doesn’t randomly bomb hospitals. Trudeau needed to get his outrage on record while it was still credible.

By morning, that credibility was gone. Photos taken by daylight showed a hospital that hadn’t been hit at all; instead, a parking lot with several burnt cars. An Israeli missile had supposedly killed 500 people. Where was the huge crater such a strike would have left? There wasn’t one.

It was a misfired Palestinian rocket that caused the damage, Israel said, and quickly offered proof. Yup, misfired Palestinian rocket, intelligence agencies from the US, France, the UK and Canada all agreed. Yup, Palestinian rocket, said all the independent experts. One of many hundreds of such misfired terrorist rockets that have fallen on Gaza and killed who knows how many people.

Trudeau stayed silent several days (leaving it to his Defence Minister Bill Blair to confirm it was a Palestinian rocket) and then resumed saying Israel’s a good friend, yada, yada.

Why the extreme wobble? 

Assuming they may vote on where he stands on the war in Gaza, Trudeau surely has his eye on ridings with large Muslim populations, especially in the Greater Toronto area which the Liberals must hold to get re-elected (or at least escape utter destruction).

Just as important, Trudeau seems to face a rebellion within his party. Twenty-three of his MPs put their names to a letter calling for a ceasefire. 

This is directly contrary to Liberal policy. To call for a ceasefire is to say to Israel: No, you cannot defend yourself. If Jews are killed, massacred like it’s the Holocaust all over again, that’s okay. Hamas must be allowed to rebuild and do it again – as they have promised to.

On the other hand, there’s also a vigorous Liberal faction that genuinely believes Israel is right to defend itself. Millions of Canadians also believe it.

Politically, Trudeau can’t square this circle, and continuing to wobble will just enrage both sides.

In comparison to both regional and global armed conflicts, Israel retains the record for the lowest number of civilian casualties per military strike. (Photo: Combat Antisemitism Movement)

May I make a suggestion….

Justin, this is your chance to man up – to actually be a leader. Get in front of one of those microphones you love and simply tell the truth:

War is a horrible business, and of all wars, urban warfare is the worst, especially in a situation like Gaza, where Hamas has dug in beneath hospitals, schools, and apartment buildings.

But Israel did not start this war and has no choice other than to win it and to end Hamas as a viable military force.

As it always has, Israel is of course trying to minimize civilian deaths, and despite Hamas urging Gazans to act as human shields, Israel is having considerable success.

As I write this, Hamas says that 14,000 have died in Gaza – a number which doesn’t distinguish between civilians and terrorists nor between those killed by Israeli strikes and those killed by errant Hamas missiles. Nor is there any reason to believe anything Hamas says.

Even so, by way of comparison, the war Canada and its allies fought against the Taliban in Afghanistan killed about 200,000 people – and that was with little close urban fighting of the kind we’re seeing in Gaza.

As the conflict continues, here are a few things to keep in mind:

First, responsibility for all deaths, on both sides, lies with Hamas for starting this war.

Second, remember that wherever Hamas is in control and wherever Palestinians still fear Hamas, it controls every word and image that comes out of Gaza.

Doctors and nurses who work in Gaza hospitals may be enthusiastic supporters of Hamas. For example, Dr. Abu Salmiya (also rendered in English as Abu Selmia), Director of al Shifa Hospital, fills his social media with praise for terror attacks and terrorists – no surprise as his brother was a Hamas military commander until killed by the Israelis. And one guess as to who appointed Selmia as Director in the first place.

Yet the CBC, other media, and the UN’s World Health Organization rely on Selmia as the source for many of their most lurid stories (see here).[i]

Other doctors in Gaza, who aren’t willing channels for its propaganda, live in fear of Hamas (see here). We cannot expect them to say anything to the media that Hamas wouldn’t want them to say.  

Likewise, local photographers and stringers in Gaza who supply the news to the international wire services must also answer to Hamas. As for the Al Jazeera network, it has the best access to Gaza for a reason – it’s on Hamas’s side. The government of Qatar funds both of them: Al Jazeera and Hamas.

What’s most important to keep in mind is that, in time, Israel will break Hamas’s grip on Gaza. This war will end, and Hamas will no longer terrorize either Israelis or the people of Gaza.

Pray for that day, may it arrive swiftly, and rebuilding can then begin.

Go ahead, Justin, just say all that. I’ll help write your speech. What have you got to lose? Even if you don’t win the next election, at least you’ll go down in history as a real leader, not as a wobble doll.

——

[i] Abu Salmiya has now been arrested by Israel and is being questioned as a terror suspect. See here.

Brian Henry is a writer, editor, creative writing instructor, and publisher of the Quick Brown Fox blog. He’s written opinion pieces for the National Post and the Toronto Star. He was also a regular contributor to the (now defunct) Jewish Tribune and the Engage and Harry’s Place websites in the UK.

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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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