Canada’s silence on Israel’s crimes isn’t surprising
Canada has always been silent when Israel decides to kill as many Palestinians as it wants to, for any reason.
That one word has defined Canada’s response to the summary execution and maiming of hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza lately by Israeli thugs, otherwise known as soldiers, perched comfortably behind makeshift hills meters away in Israel.
Canada remains silent while Israeli snipers continue to murder Palestinian children. Canada remains silent while Israeli snipers continue to shoot Palestinian children in the head and legs with “butterfly” bullets – meant to kill instantly and disfigure irrevocably – for waving Palestinian flags on what remains of Palestinian soil.
Canada remains silent while Israeli snipers continue to execute Palestinian journalists wearing vests marked “PRESS” as they record droves of Palestinians being wantonly murdered and maimed again and again and again.
Canada remains silent while Israeli snipers continue to target and gas thousands of Palestinian children, women and men for defending their dignity, sovereignty, and humanity during peaceful demonstrations on Palestinian soil since the Great March of Return began on March 30.
Though shameful, Canada’s silence isn’t surprising. Canada has always been silent when Israel decides, yet again, to kill as many Palestinians as it wants to, at any time, for any reason.
What is slightly surprising, however, is the belief among many so-called “progressives” that a government led by a Liberal prime minister, Justin Trudeau, and a Liberal foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, would think and act differently with regard to Canada’s steadfast support for Israel’s “right” to kill as many Palestinians as it wants to, at any time, for any reason.
On this lethal score, there is no difference between Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland and any other past Canadian prime minister or foreign minister.
Like their predecessors, Trudeau and Freeland believe that Israel has the “right” to kill as many Palestinians as it wants to, whenever it wants to, for any reason it wants to, for as long as it wants to.
These same deluded “progressives” believe, of course, that a Trudeau-led Canada is fundamentally different from a Donald Trump-led America. Canada, unlike America, they say, respects and protects human rights, territorial integrity and international law.
Fools. When it comes to the execution, maiming and gassing of unarmed Palestinian children, women and men on Palestinian soil by Israeli snipers, Justin Trudeau is a clone of Donald Trump and Chrystia Freeland is a cliche-spouting facsimile of US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.
Recently, Pompeo told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in effect to keep killing as many Palestinians as he wants to, at any time, for any reason. “We believe the Israelis have the right to defend themselves, and we’re fully supportive of that,” Pompeo said in Amman, Jordan on April 30.
(Pompeo parroted Barack Obama, who, as the Democrats’ “hope and change” presidential candidate, reassured Israel in May 2008 that: “As president, I will do everything in my power to help Israel protect itself from these and other threats. I will make sure that Israel can defend itself from any attack, whether it comes from as close as Gaza or far as Teheran.”)
The Liberal Party of Canada used precisely the same recycled rhetoric and rationale to condone Israel’s invasion of Gaza and the slaughter of more than 500 Palestinian children. “Israel has the right to defend itself and its people,” Trudeau said via a cryptic press release in July 2014.
Hence, Canada’s silence today.
But Freeland’s loquacious streak on Twitter has revealed a breathtaking hypocrisy and sanctimony that I didn’t think even wily, ambitious politicians like Canada’s perpetually effervescent foreign minister, were capable of.
Here’s Freeland on World Press Freedom Day reminding her followers that, before she became a politician, she was a long-time journalist in Canada and abroad.
“As a former journalist and as Minister of Foreign Affairs, I will use every opportunity to raise concerns regarding violations of freedom of expression,” she wrote on May 3.
In her tweet, Freeland linked to a Global Affairs Canada press release issued under her name that reads in part: “In too many places, members of the media face constant and unacceptable threats. The numbers don’t lie: last year 75 were killed, 81 were imprisoned, and one person is still missing. These attacks weaken democracy, silence the voices of the oppressed, and undermine public trust. We categorically condemn anyone who in any way intimidates and harasses journalists working in defence of the truth.”
Attached to Freeland’s statement is a map that highlights in black the places around the globe where journalists have been killed, threatened, imprisoned, silenced, intimidated and harassed for doing their job.
In Freeland’s map, none of the “places” where Palestinian journalists have been killed, threatened, imprisoned, silenced, intimidated or harassed by Israel for doing their job “in defence of the truth” are painted black.
As a result, Freeland has never seized the “opportunity” to “categorically condemn” Israel’s “injustices” since her ministry’s map makes plain that Israel hasn’t killed, threatened, imprisoned, silenced, intimidated or harassed Palestinian journalists in Gaza.
The historical record, however, is as bloody, as it is damning and clear. As many as 11 Palestinian journalists killed during the Israeli invasion of Gaza in 2014. Netanyahu’s smear of Al Jazeera and his brazen attempts in 2017 to shutter and, by extension, silence, the news agency’s Jerusalem bureau. The murders by Israeli snipers of Ahmad Abu Hussein, a 24-year-old photojournalist who was shot in the abdomen on April 15 or Yaser Murtaja, a 30-year-old journalist, husband and father who was also shot in the abdomen and succumbed to his injuries on April 7.
Freeland has said and done nothing about the executions of her erstwhile colleagues in Gaza not only because that’s what Canada’s de rigueur foreign policy vis-a-vis Israel demands, but because the ex-journalist likely isn’t inclined to scuttle her barely camouflaged designs eventually to succeed her dauphin boss.
To win the crown, Freeland knows it’s political suicide to offend or alienate the same institutional and corporate interests – inside and outside the establishment media – that habitually and unquestionably side with Israel in every way, on every count, and that helped propel Trudeau into office.
So, while Freeland is silent in the face of the flagrant brutality visited upon so many innocent Palestinians by Israeli soldiers, on May 2 she leapt at the “opportunity” to demand on Twitter that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas “withdraw” his “deeply offensive” remarks made in a bizarre address last week to the Palestinian National Council about the Holocaust (Abbas has since apologised).
It’s no mystery why Freeland finds a foul, historically illiterate speech “deeply offensive,” but not the murder of kite-flying Palestinian kids.
In her cynical calculus, the right of Palestinians – young or old – to march together peacefully to reclaim their stolen lands without being grievously injured or killed will always be trumped by Israel’s “right” to defend itself.
Still, Freeland’s transparent, self-serving hypocrisy and silence are not only contemptible, but anathema to any self-respecting “journalist.”
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.