newsIsrael at War

‘Canada completely lost its moral compass,’ MK says of arms cutoff to J’lem

"Canada completely lost its moral compass and cannot be seen as a strong democracy anymore,” MK Sharren Haskel told JNS.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Canadian-born Israeli MK Sharren Haskel described as a betrayal Ottawa’s decision to halt arm sales to the Jewish state and its latest motion on Palestinian statehood.

“I am so angry. Canada was always held as a symbol of democracy and a nation that values and defends freedom, liberties and inclusiveness. Trudeau’s government is telling the world that Israel doesn’t have the right to defend itself against crimes against humanity and this is moral bankruptcy,” Haskel told JNS.

“Canada completely lost its moral compass and cannot be seen as a strong democracy anymore,” she added.

On Tuesday, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz slammed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau following Ottawa’s announcement that Canada would halt arms sales to Israel. 

“Regrettably, the Canadian government is taking a step that undermines Israel’s right to self-defense against Hamas terrorists, who have committed terrible crimes against humanity and against innocent Israeli civilians, including the elderly, women, and children,” tweeted Katz.

Canadian arms exports to Israel amounted to over $15.4 million in 2022, according to Canadian government data. (In 2022, Saudi Arabia received about $1.15 billion in Canadian military exports.)

Canada’s decision followed the non-binding resolution passed by the House of Commons on Monday whose draft initially called for the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state. The final version urged Ottawa to “actively pursue” the establishment of a Palestinian state as part of a two-state solution.

“The motion basically says that Trudeau’s government stands in support of radical Islam even as Israel fights a second independence war, which we did not seek and which we were forced into by a murderous terrorist organization that Canada itself listed as such,” Haskel said. 

“If Israel doesn’t have the right to defend itself from the worst massacre it has ever experienced, in which crimes against humanity were committed against our people and nation, then this ties down the hands of the free world in defense against radical groups who are sprouting everywhere and rising their heads up,” she added. 

To Haskel, Trudeau’s government has completely failed the Jewish community in Canada which is under violent attack. 

“Canadian Jews are taking down their symbols, hiding their identity, because Trudeau’s government has failed to protect them,” Haskel said. 

“History is going to remember this as one of the greatest moral failures of the Canadian government. Canada is supposed to be a true friend of Israel, and this feels like betrayal,” she added. 

According to Shimon Koffler Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), a Zionist and Jewish advocacy organization, both countries will have to work hard to heal the injury that Canadian decisions over the last six months have caused. 

“It’s not just only the latest developments, it’s also voting against Israel at the U.N., it’s some of the rhetoric that they have used with respect to Israel’s effort to destroy Hamas in Gaza,” Fogel told JNS. 

In November, Trudeau accused Israel of killing civilians in Gaza. “I urge the government of Israel to exercise maximum restraint. The world is watching, on TV, on social media—we’re hearing the testimonies of doctors, family members, survivors, kids who have lost their parents,” said Trudeau during a press conference.

“The world is witnessing this killing of women, of children, of babies. This has to stop,” he continued.

Trudeau received approval from Hamas, after Canada’s affirmative U.N. vote on Dec. 12 to a resolution calling for an “immediate sustainable ceasefire” in Israel’s war against Hamas. In an English-language video statement, Ghazi Hamad, a senior leader of the terror group, praised Canada, Australia and New Zealand by name.

“For the government, it’s a question of trade-off, they are looking at different constituencies, the Jewish community, the Arab Muslim Palestinian community and are trying to balance competing demands on the system,” Fogel said. 

“They have a minority government, they depend on a second party to stay in power and that party, the New Democratic Party, is hostile. As is often the case, we are the victims in their effort to keep the government in place,” he added. 

Canada is home to the fourth largest Jewish community in the world, with 393,000 Jews in 2020, according to the World Jewish Congress.

The country’s largest Jewish community lives in Toronto, numbering about 190,000. Chief of Toronto Police Myron Demkiw confirmed that there has been an explosion of antisemitic acts in Canada after Oct. 7 in a statement released on Monday.

“Of the 84 hate crimes so far in 2024, 56% are antisemitic. Last month was the highest number of antisemitic occurrences in the last three years,” Demkiw said. A Jewish-owned grocery store was firebombed and graffitied in Toronto.

In Montreal, in the weeks following Oct. 7, the police reported 79 hate crimes against Jews. In the entire year before, the number was under 40. Instances included shots fired at two Jewish schools, Talmud Torah and Yeshiva Gedola, firebombs thrown at a Jewish community center and a synagogue in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, and a violent clash between pro-Hamas and pro-Israel groups at Concordia University. 

“This trend actually predates Oct. 7,” Fogel said. “Since Oct. 7, it has almost taken on a life of its own. The core engine for this hate are the Palestinian and Arab Muslim communities partnered with the woke, radical left.

“They have no shame in embracing Hamas. They see Hamas and its ‘resistance’ as the beginning of a global effort to turn the world upside down,” he added. 

Fogel stressed that individuals within the government’s caucus have been “absolutely toxic” in their expressions of hate for Israel and by extension the Jewish community.

“Until 2021, we saw consistent support for Israel from all sides of the political spectrum. Over the last couple of years and obviously in a more accelerated manner since Oct. 7, we have seen a deterioration in that commitment from the Liberal party,” he added.

Israel’s Consul General in Montreal Paul Hirschson told JNS that while Jerusalem “has excellent relations with Canada with growing economic ties and increased engagement in both cultural activity and academia, we have been disappointed with some recent statements and developments.”

Hirschson added: “We are confident that the existing bridges between our two peoples will continue to grow but we have real concern about increased antisemitism across the country.”

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