On May 16, Justin Trudeau issued a statement about the disturbances in Gaza, declaring that “Canada deplores and is gravely concerned by the violence,” reiterating the highly suspect claim that “many unarmed people, including civilians, members of the media, first responders, and children” were among those wounded. He went on to condemn Israel’s “reported use of excessive force and live ammunition” as “inexcusable,” while expressing no concern whatsoever about Hamas’s incitement to violence or its attacks on Israel with Molotov cocktails and incendiary kites. (The rocket and mortar fire had not yet begun.) Perhaps understandably, Trudeau also expressed concern about one Tarek Loubrani, who claims to have been injured in both legs by Israeli gunfire. When he found himself criticized for his remarks, writes Vivian Bercovici, Trudeau went to two Jewish parliamentarians for help:
The backlash to Trudeau’s statement was strong and quick. He seems, perhaps unwittingly, to have stumbled onto a hornet’s nest and turned to two Jewish MPs to clean up his mess—Michael Levitt and Anthony Housefather, representing electoral districts in Toronto and Montreal, respectively, with large Jewish populations. They issued a peculiar statement. While not directly critical of the prime minister, they unequivocally condemned and held Hamas responsible for the deaths and injuries at border clashes.
Some observers speculate that Trudeau hopes . . . to allow himself to be “correct,” depending on where and how the chips fall. By dereliction, the prime minister has signaled that the Israel-Gaza issue is a “Jewish” one, as opposed to [part of] one of the most important geopolitical crises in the world. Hamas, like Hizballah, Syria, [and] the Houthis, is yet another Iranian proxy. It is disturbing that two Jewish MPs, representing “Jewish” districts, are the only ones in the Trudeau government speaking out in support of Israel. . . .
[Trudeau] tends to express himself in a sweeping, imprecise manner, oft-repeating distaste for the obsessive bullying of Israel in international forums. All of which is laudable. And he likes to say things about what good friends Canada and Israel are, but that even good friends can, sometimes, disagree.
Indeed, and those are likely the lines he trotted out when he spoke on the telephone with Prime Minister Netanyahu one day after his written thrashing of Israel. . . . Netanyahu’s office declined to comment on the exchange, but Trudeau issued a short readout on the call, [making clear that he] did nothing to walk back his perfervid criticism of Israel other than to acknowledge, as a possibility, “reported incitement by Hamas.” As if there is any doubt. What Prime Minister Trudeau does not say, in this case, is far more important than what he does.