By World BEYOND War, Independent Jewish Voices, Just Peace Advocates, and Canadian Foreign Policy Institute, May 21, 2021
Toronto, Ontario — Today members of the Jewish community and allies delivered a clear message at the Israeli consulate in Toronto about bloodshed from Israel’s violence in Gaza and across historic Palestine.
Rabbi David Mivasair, a member of Independent Jewish Voices, said, “It can no longer be business as normal at Israel’s consulates in Canada. The death and destruction inflicted by Israel in Gaza, as well as the heightened violence by Israel across Palestine, cannot be washed away. This belligerence is the latest in an ongoing aggressive 73-year settler-colonization project by Israel across historic Palestine. The ceasefire doesn’t end the injustice and oppression.”
Since May 10, at least 232 Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli bombardment of Gaza, according to health authorities, including 65 children. Over 1900 people have been wounded.
Rachel Small, organizer with World BEYOND War, explained, “We are making the violence of Israel’s brutal occupation, military attacks, and ethnic cleansing visible right here on the consulate’s doorstep. We are making it impossible for anyone to enter and exit Israeli government offices here without directly confronting the violence and bloodshed they are complicit in.”
Rabbi Mivasair quoted the Book of Genesis saying, “‘The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the earth.’ Canadian Jews and others joined today to make sure that cry is heard even if the blood stops being spilled anew. Red paint streaming from the Israeli consulate onto the street in Toronto represents the blood of massacred innocent Palestinian civilians, the blood on Israel’s hands. As Canadians, we demand that our government holds Israel accountable for war crimes and stops the Canada-Israel arms trade.
“Jews in our communities in Canada are overcome with grief and anger. Many of us stand in solidarity with our Palestinian siblings. We say loud and clear, ‘not in our name.’ Israel can no longer continue to commit these atrocities in the name of the Jewish people.”
Since 2015, Canada has exported $57 million worth of weapons to Israel, including $16 million in bomb components. Canada recently signed a contract to purchase drones from Israel’s largest weapons maker, Elbit Systems, which supplies 85% of drones used by the Israeli military to monitor and attack Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.
Across Canada, tens of thousands of people in dozens of cities have been on the streets denouncing Israel’s violent attacks. The Canadian government received at least 150,000 letters within days following the Israeli attacks on Al-Aqsa and Gaza. They call on Canada to hold Israel accountable for its violations of human rights and international law, and to place immediate sanctions on Israel.
John Philpot of Just Peace Advocates says, “The Israeli consulate in Toronto has advertised on several occasions an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) representative available for personal appointments for those wishing to join the IDF, not just those who are required to do mandatory service. The Canadian Foreign Enlistment Act makes it illegal to induce or recruit for a foreign military and Canada Revenue Agency guidelines state that ‘supporting the armed forces of another country is not a charitable activity.'”
Yves Engler from the Canadian Foreign Policy Institute indicates that “at the same time as Canadians are being recruited to join the IDF in violation of the Foreign Enlistment Act some registered Canadian charities support the Israeli military in probable contravention of Canada Revenue Agency regulations.”
A petition sponsored by NDP MP for Hamilton Centre, Matthew Green, calls upon Minister of Justice David Lametti to undertake a thorough investigation of those who have recruited or facilitated recruiting in Canada for the Israel Defense Forces, and, if warranted, lay charges against those involved. To date over 6,400 Canadians have signed this petition.