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Something ‘clearly wrong’ when Hamas praises Canadian foreign policy

“It is utterly unacceptable,” Sam Eskenasi, director of advocacy at the nonprofit La’ad Canada, told JNS. “This stance poses a direct threat to Jewish communities worldwide, including in Canada.”

Protesters call for a ceasefire on Oct. 28, 2023 in Toronto. Credit: nadtochiy/Shutterstock.
Protesters call for a ceasefire on Oct. 28, 2023 in Toronto. Credit: nadtochiy/Shutterstock.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau received the equivalent of a long-distance high five from Hamas last week, after Canada’s affirmative U.N. vote on Dec. 12 supporting an “immediate sustainable ceasefire” in Israel’s war against the Hamas terror organization.

In a five minute English-language video statement posted on Dec. 18, Ghazi Hamad, a senior leader of the terror group, praised Canada, Australia and New Zealand by name.

“We welcome these developments and consider them in the right direction toward isolating the fascist Israeli government globally, and ending the longest-ever occupation in our modern time,” Hamad said. “We must remove that country, because it constitutes a security, military and political catastrophe to the Arab and Islamic nation, and must be finished.”

In the video, the terrorist spokesman also claimed that Israel has killed 1,700 Palestinians and accused Israel of killing its own people to avoid swapping hostages for terrorists in Israeli jails.

The U.N. resolution passed with 153 nations supporting the motion and 23 abstaining. Canada’s position was considered a departure from its norm of standing with Israel, while several Liberal members of Parliament went against the ruling Canadian party’s position and condemned the vote, in a rare move.

“When Canada starts getting thanked by terrorists for being supportive allies then it’s safe to say our foreign policy has hit an all time low,” wrote Michael Higgins in the National Post.

“The Canadian-listed terrorist entity’s praise for Canada is a reflection of the government’s new position on the Israel-Hamas war,” stated the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, a major advocacy group.

The day of the vote, Canada, Australia and New Zealand issued a joint statement “unequivocally” condemning Hamas’s terror attack on Israel on Oct. 7, as well as “the appalling loss of life and the heinous acts of violence perpetrated in those attacks, including sexual violence.”

The three countries also condemned the terror group’s “unacceptable treatment” of hostages and called for the immediate release of hostages, recognized Israel’s right to exist and self-defense—noting it must, in so doing, “respect international humanitarian law”—and said, “There is no role for Hamas in the future governance of Gaza.”

Mélanie Joly, the Canadian foreign affairs minister, also issued a statement the day of the U.N. vote.

“Since Oct. 7, over 18,000 Palestinian civilians have been killed in Gaza, thousands of children are now orphans,” she said. “Countless Palestinian civilians in Gaza are suffering without water, food, fuel, or medicine and their homes have been reduced to rubble. We must recognize that what is unfolding before our eyes will only enhance the cycle of violence.”

Fred Maroun, a Canadian who immigrated from Lebanon in 1984 and often writes for Israeli and Jewish media, told JNS that Canada should never have voted for a resolution demanding a ceasefire.

“Not finishing the job of eliminating Hamas is not a viable option for Israel, and Canada should not demand it,” Maroun said.

“Canada has strongly denounced the Oct. 7 massacre, has demanded the release of the hostages and even recognized that Hamas can no longer be allowed to run Gaza,” he said. “Voting for a ceasefire contradicts these positions, because it would allow Hamas to regroup and to continue to control Gaza.”

Sam Eskenasi, director of advocacy at La’ad Canada, a nonprofit focused on education and research, told JNS that “Something is clearly wrong when Hamas, an internationally-recognized terrorist organization, perceives our country’s foreign policy statements as aligning with its goals.”

Sam Eskenasi
Sam Eskenasi, director of advocacy at the nonprofit La’ad Canada. Credit: Courtesy.

“It is utterly unacceptable,” he said. “The explicit declaration in the Hamas charter is that their conflict is with Jews globally—‘Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious.’ This stance poses a direct threat to Jewish communities worldwide, including in Canada.”

Recent Toronto police statistics suggest a 211% increase in antisemitic hate crimes since Oct. 7, with Jewish Canadians accounting for more than 57% of total hate crimes in the city despite being just 3% of the population, Eskenasi said.

“This surge in hate crimes underscores the urgency for the Canadian government to reassess and decisively reshape its foreign policy statements,” he said. “This critical action is necessary to prevent inadvertently legitimizing or reinforcing the dangerous rhetoric and objectives of Hamas, thereby safeguarding Jewish Canadians from the heightened and intolerable wave of antisemitism they are currently facing.”

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