11 Ways for Canada to End its Support for Apartheid Israel's Genocide in Gaza
by Yves Engler - Canada’s recent vote for a ceasefire at the UN lessens this country’s complicity in Israel’s genocide in Gaza. But this small victory for popular mobilization was quickly undermined by the government joining the US-led Red Sea shipping coalition and is far overshadowed by Canada’s innumerable forms of support for Israel.
With its unspeakable horrors in Gaza Israel has stirred the most sustained antiwar and internationalist mobilization since the (Canadian backed) US war in Vietnam. Last weekend protests took place in 30 cities with over 3,000 marching in Montréal in the eleventh weekend in a row of mass protests. The popular uprising pressured the Trudeau government to shift its usual stance and vote against the US/Israel position at the UN.
Below are 11 demands that would lessen Canadian complicity with Israeli violence and colonialism:
• Speak the truth. Israel is an apartheid state that has been brutalizing Palestinians for a century and is now committing genocide in Gaza. Say so. Ottawa should denounce Israel’s killing of 90 journalists, 260 UN workers, 9,000 children, etc.
• Support UN resolutions upholding Palestinian rights. Over the past two decades Canada has consistently isolated itself against world opinion on Palestinian rights at the UN.
• Cancel all permits for arms exports to Israel. As per the UN Arms Trade Treaty Canada shouldn’t export to a country responsible for grave human rights violations.
• The justice minister should state publicly that any inducement or recruitment for the Israeli military in Canada contravenes the Foreign Enlistment Act and must be investigated criminally.
• Cancel the Canada Israel free-trade agreement or at minimum restrict products from the occupied West Bank. When the Liberals “modernized” the accord in 2019 they refused an NDP amendment for the deal to require distinct labelling on products originating from “illegal Israeli settlements” even though 2016 UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which has the force of international law, calls on “all states… to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.”
• Rescind adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) anti-Palestinian definition of antisemitism. It’s designed to undermine opposition to Israeli colonial violence and six months ago Canadian Heritage decided its grantees must agree to the IHRA definition, which precludes calling Israel a racist endeavour even though it was born in ethnic cleansing and practices the crime of apartheid.
• Eliminate the position of Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Antisemitism, which is designed to deflect criticism from Israeli apartheid. The initial special envoy was noted anti-Palestinian Irwin Cotler and the position is now held by Deborah Lyons who organized a pizza party for Canadians fighting in the IDF when she was ambassador to Israel in 2020.
• Direct the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to investigate registered charities that may be contravening existing CRA regulations by supporting the Israeli military, racist organizations and West Bank settlements. Over the past year complaints have been submitted to the CRA detailing 10 different charities’ — with over $100 million in revenue — violating these rules while 5,000 individuals recently emailed the revenue minister calling on the CRA to investigate Indigo CEO Heather Reisman’s Heseg Foundation for Lone Soldiers for possibly violating CRA rules by supporting a foreign military.
• Revaluate whether all taxpayers should subsidize donations to apartheid Israel. Since October 7 maybe a quarter billion dollars has been raised by registered Canadian charities for projects in Israel. Since the federal government introduced deductions for charities in 1967 maybe $6 billion in donations to Israel have been subsidized by taxpayers, which amounts to $2 billion in public support. Is it right for all Canadians to pay a share of some individuals’ donations to a country with a GDP equal to Canada’s? How many Canadian charities funnel money to Sweden or Japan?
• End Canada’s criminalization of Palestinian political life. Over 10 percent of Canada’s terrorist list is made up of organizations headquartered in a long-occupied land representing one-tenth of one percent of the world’s population. The leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Canadian-based International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy, which was listed because it supported orphans and a hospital in Gaza through official (Hamas controlled) channels, both need to be immediately removed from Canada’s terrorist list. Whatever one thinks about Hamas tactics, the IDF has killed nearly 300 times more children since October 7 and they are not on Canada’s terrorist list.
• Apologize to Palestinians over Canada’s sizable contribution to the unjust UN Partition Plan, which called for ethnically segregated states and gave most of the land to the newly arrived minority. As external affairs officials warned privately in 1947, the Canadian-shaped roadmap would lead to the decades of conflict we are seeing.
The demands of Palestine solidarity are not radical. In many cases it’s simply a matter of upholding Canadian and international law.
Basically, we need to demand that Canada stop its unique, preferential treatment of a genocidal state. The truth is if Israel was treated like a regular, far away, ally that would represent an important step towards justice.