The Canadian Prime Minister’s Slandering of Israel, and His Insincere Effort to Make Amends

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.

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Read more at Commentary

More about: Canada, Gaza, Hamas, Israel & Zionism

Why the Recent Uptick of Israeli Activity in Syria?

Sept. 23 2022

On September 16 and 17, the IDF carried out airstrikes in the vicinity of Damascus, reportedly aimed at Iranian logistical centers there. These follow on an increase in the frequency of such attacks in recent weeks, which have included strikes on the Aleppo airport on August 31 and September 6. Jonathan Spyer comments:

The specific targeting of the Aleppo airport is almost certainly related to recent indications that Iran is relying increasingly on its “air bridge” to Syria and Lebanon, because of Israel’s successful and systematic targeting of efforts to move weaponry and equipment by land [via Iraq]. But the increased tempo of activity is not solely related to the specific issue of greater use of air transport by Teheran. Rather, it is part of a broader picture of increasing regional tension. There are a number of factors that contribute to this emergent picture.

Firstly, Russia appears to be pulling back in Syria. . . . There are no prospects for a complete Russian withdrawal. The air base at Khmeimim and the naval facilities at Tartus and Latakia are hard strategic assets which will be maintained. The maintenance of Assad’s rule is also a clear objective for Moscow. But beyond this, the Russians are busy now with a flailing, faltering military campaign in Ukraine. Moscow lacks the capacity for two close strategic engagements at once.

Secondly, assuming that some last-minute twist does not occur, it now looks like a return to the [2015 nuclear deal] is not imminent. In the absence of any diplomatic process related to the Iranian nuclear program, and given Israeli determination to roll back Iran’s regional ambitions, confrontation becomes more likely.

Lastly, it is important to note that the uptick in Israeli activity is clearly not related to Syria alone. Rather, it is part of a more general broadening and deepening by Israel in recent months of its assertive posture toward the full gamut of Iranian activity in the region. . . . The increasing scope and boldness of Israeli air activity in Syria reflects this changing of the season.

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Read more at Jonathan Spyer

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Syria, War in Ukraine