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Message to Canada: If you are going to offer advice and opinions, remembering that your influence is virtually infinitesimal, perhaps you should prioritize support for those countries and societies that share our values.

Middle Eastern history is littered with the bones of well-meaning but misguided outsiders who thought they could ‘civilize’ this enormously complicated and oftentimes savage landscape.  In recent centuries, the European Crusaders, Ottoman Empire, Soviet Union and America all believed they could fix what has always been broken, only to leave behind dead soldiers and dead dreams.

So given that these major powers couldn’t achieve their goals in this part of the world, what do international featherweights such as Canada hope to achieve when they insert themselves into the never-ending turmoil that is the Middle East? It’s a question that must be asked in light of Canada’s recent actions involving Iran, Israel and the Palestinian Arabs.

Let’s look first at Iran, whose ongoing efforts to acquire nuclear capability, never-ending threats to annihilate Israel and sponsorship and support of terrorist groups all over the world do not seem to cause Prime Minister Justin Trudeau much concern.

Canada continues to trade with Iran (more than a billion dollars of goods imported from Iran in 2020); Trudeau’s Liberal government supports the JCPOA nuclear deal, which paves the way for the Islamic Republic to develop nuclear weaponry; and government ministers still hint at reopening Canada’s embassy in Iran.  Furthermore, Canada has not taken any concrete steps in recent years to signal any misgivings about Iran’s genocidal aspirations.

Small countries like Canada have little influence on foreign actors, but why not at least have the courage to call out Iran for what it is – a danger to peace and order, the world’s leading financier of terrorism, a despotic and backwards regime that represses and murders its own citizens, and a clear threat to Israel’s existence?  Not going to happen under this prime minister.

Then there’s the matter of Israel and the Palestinians. Former US President Donald Trump demonstrated a viable path to a resolution of this long-standing dispute by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, cancelling American payments to the terrorist groups controlling Gaza as well as to their criminal partners in various United Nations agencies, and engineering the Abraham Accords, which proved that normalization was possible in the Middle East even in the face of the usual Palestinian obstruction and denial.

Canada’s position?  A continuation of the same decades-long ineffective and counter-productive policies that have incentivized Palestinians to stick to their 75-year strategy of ‘resist, terrorize and obfuscate’.

Canada continues to send tens of millions of dollars annually to the terrorist regime governing Gaza and to UNWRA, which has proven itself to be a willing partner for Hamas. Canada also has its resident diplomats and visiting ministers providing aid and comfort to Hamas.

Example number one: Jason Tulk, the head of Canada’s Representative Office in the Palestinian Territories, recently participating in a ceremony with Palestine’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs which handed out plaques in the shape of Hamas’s version of the map of Palestine that completely erased the State of Israel. Tulk couldn’t be bothered to object to the affront to common sense and history, and his involvement in this affair could only signal to Palestinians that a member of the G7 agrees with their nihilistic aspirations.

Example number two: Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Marc Garneau, visited Israel and Gaza in early July, and his message to Israel was that Israel should curb its “provocative settlement activities in East Jerusalem” (as opposed to Jordan’s tight-fisted treatment of Jews and Christians when they occupied East Jerusalem between 1948 and 1967, I assume) and that his government’s priority was to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza. (Perhaps he forgot that the Hamas terrorists controlling Gaza precipitated the war that resulted in destroyed infrastructure surrounding weapons arsenals).

Canada’s Advice to the Palestinians

His advice to the Palestinian officials with whom he met?  They should conduct elections as soon as possible so that Palestinians would have the “opportunity … to express themselves democratically.”  Not a word about rockets fired at Israel being the cause of the recent war between Israel and Hamas, no apparent recognition about the fact that democracy has never been a feature of Palestinian culture or history, no criticism of Palestinian using some of the money coming from Canada to reward terrorists and their families, no insistence that peace will only be possible if and when Palestinians accept Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.

As an aside, but entirely consistent with Canada’s lukewarm support of Israel, we also had the recent spectacle of the federal government convening a committee to study the issue of anti-Semitism (a noble and timely initiative) but refusing to give a seat on the panel to the leader of Canada’s Green Party, the only Jewish leader of a federal party.  Why would they not want to hear from the one political leader in Canada who could speak informatively about the issue?

I have a message for the Canadian government, whose recent forays into Middle East politics and the issue of anti-Semitism can only be described as vacuous and unhelpful: If you are going to offer advice and opinions, remembering that your influence is virtually infinitesimal, perhaps you should prioritize support for those countries and societies that share our values and register your disapproval of those that violate every norm of western morality.

Unfortunately, the current government and our prime minister have shown no indication that they are guided by such principles.

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Article by Henry Roth

Henry Roth was born in Haifa and immigrated to Canada in the early 1950s. The son of Romanian Holocaust survivors, he has been married to Brenda for 43 years, is the father of two sons, Marc and David, the happy grandfather of Nicolas and a proud and loud Zionist.