We tend to think of ourselves as Canadians as ‘nice’, and moral, and probably fairly honest.
What is happening related to the war in Israel and Palestine raises questions about our national character, fibre, and values in my opinion. I also think truth is sometimes lacking in the online discourse.
I have been digging into our involvement – originally out of curiosity, and then horrified, to be honest with some of what I’m finding. But I have to share it with you. I’ve tried to keep this as short as I can, but there’s a lot to say! If you’re short on time, simply read the following bullet points, and then the conclusion. If you have more time, read it all. Even more time, follow some of the links and learn even more. Truth matters.
- Do you know that Canada not only opposed a ceasefire at the UN for the longest time (happily we did change that position in mid-December) but is also complicit in the supply of arms to Israel (see below for specifics)?
- Are you aware that Canada (we) actively supported the US’s recent escalation in the region by launching military attacks into Yemen?
- Have you heard that we (Canada) “don’t accept the premise” of South Africa’s case for genocide to the International Court of Justice (details below)? We can’t seem to give reasons why, but we have no problem saying we don’t support it.
- Do you know how many of us are benefiting financially from the war, whether we realize it or not (this one I really don’t want to know – more information below)?
- Do you know that Canada is not one of the 139 (out of 193) United Nations members that recognize the State of Palestine?
- Do you know that in 2002, we (Canada) opposed having the International Court of Justice render an advisory opinion related to the rights of Palestinians and how Israel’s violations of their rights under international law create legal consequences for all States and the United Nations? Even though the UN General Assembly requested such an opinion? Apparently because the rendering of such an opinion might “contribute to a polarization of positions that risk moving the parties further away from a just and lasting resolution to the conflict”? Honestly, I wonder how we can get any further away from a just and lasting resolution at this point.
I believe that only when we know the truth can we step up and try to bring peace. Some of what I have to share with you, I would rather not know, so I sympathize if you feel the same.
I won’t explore each of these points in detail, but I encourage you to look into them yourself, and ask yourself how you feel about Canada’s support for the killing that is happening right now. Are you happy that we are making money off this war? Are you happy that the government continues to oppose any international actions to stop the killing, without providing reasonable cause for their decisions?
Our government represents us, so it is important to know what is happening. Only then can we take action to hold them to account, or to encourage the making of better choices.
Canada is supplying military components and arms to Israel
In December 2023, Project Ploughshares published a report called “Fanning the Flames: The grave risk of Canada’s arms exports to Israel”. If you want all the details, I highly recommend reading it.
- Canada has exported military equipment to Israel since at least 1978, and the total value of exports of military goods to Israel in 2022 (reported on Canada’s Export Control List by Global Affairs Canada was over 21 million dollars.
- Canada’s military exports to Israel mainly fall into three categories: 2-4 (bombs, torpedoes, rockets, missiles, other explosive devices […], 2-10 (aircraft and related equipment) and 2-11 (‘electronic equipment, spacecraft and components’)
- Canadian manufacturers have applied to export circuit boards for Israel’s fleet of F-15 and V-22 aircraft, components for radios, transport vehicles and other military goods
- Canada also supplies over 1 billion dollars in military exports to the United States each year, and some Canadian-made components are integrated into the F-35 aircraft which are eventually supplied to the IDF. Canadian supplies have manufactured segments of the F-35s airframe and internal components, including engine monitoring sensors, printed circuit boards, segments of the landing gear, inserts of the weapons bay door, and more.
Canada ‘does not accept the premise of the case brought by South Africa’ [to the International Court of Justice]
The International Court of Justice is the United Nation’s highest legal body, and the only one that can adjudicate issues between member states, as well as the only body that has jurisdiction over genocide at the country or state level (rather than individuals).
South Africa brought a complaint against Israel arguing that Israel has violated the 1948 genocide convention (established in the aftermath of the Holocaust) with its actions in the last month, and specifically that Israel breached article II of the Genocide Convention with the “mass killings” of Palestinians in Gaza, as well as the forced displacements and blockades, and the deliberate destruction of the healthcare system.
I am not a lawyer, but have heard from those who are (and some who aren’t!) that both South Africa’s submission and presentation to the International Court of Justice were very well thought out, fact-based, and carefully presented by experts in international law.. You can read the entire submission by South Africa here on the Court’s website: https://www.icj-cij.org/sites/default/files/case-related/192/192-20231228-app-01-00-en.pdf or watch the presentation by South Africa online on the United Nations YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Q_zTb9dfGU (just be aware, it is 3 hours long).
Israel’s defence appears to be summarized as following:
- that South Africa’s case was ‘misleading’, and didn’t mention the hostage taking by Hamas on the first day of the hearing,
- that the current scale of killing is clearly not government policy,
- that Israel has a strong internal legal system, so any crimes that happen in Gaza can be dealt with internally,
- that procedurally South Africa should have tried to resolve this dispute directly with Israel before taking it to the International Court of Justice,
- and finally that the standards needed for the court to rule are not met because Israel has taken steps to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
I sometimes wonder if these people (governments in general; not only Israel) tell themselves so many lies that they end up believing them to be true. Or do they simply not believe that any truth exists? Or do they not care?
And what, we may wonder, is Canada’s response to this filing by South Africa?
Our government’s statement on this is baffling as they say they support the ICJ, and that the high threshold to meet the requirements for the crime of genocide ‘requires compelling evidence’. Which many would argue is exactly what South Africa provided to the International Court of Justice.
Nevertheless, Canada’s government does not “accept the premise” of South Africa’s case for genocide. I haven’t been able to find any expressions of the reasons why we don’t accept the premise. Simply statements over and over that the crime of genocide requires compelling evidence. No indication of where South Africa’s case falls short. You can read our (i.e. our government’s) official statement here: https://www.canada.ca/en/global-affairs/news/2024/01/statement-by-minister-joly-on-south-africas-case-against-israel-at-the-international-court-of-justice.html
How we each individually benefit financially from the war and/or support the war financially
This topic can be broad, deep and complex, and I don’t want to get too far into the weeds, so I will stay at a very high level and provide links for further research if you dare to delve into it.
The biggest way we benefit financially from the war is through investments. Including some of the largest exchange traded funds (EFTs) like Vanguard and Blackrock. If you have investments, have you noticed them increasing in value in the last three months? Much of that is due to spending related to the war. Companies like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, RTX (Raytheon), Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics are making a fortune from providing materials for the war, and we may well be benefiting individually from that. The phrase ‘blood money’ is hard to avoid. A few good resources if you want to read in depth about this include: https://www.commondreams.org/news/weapons-used-by-israel and https://news.littlesis.org/2023/10/26/corporate-enablers-of-israels-war-on-gaza/.
Other than our investments, the biggest way we may support the war financially without even realizing it is through what we purchase. Sabra Hummus, Sodastream products, Domino’s pizza, McDonalds, Chevron, Puma, ReMax, Burger King, Intel, and many more companies are either selling products made in illegal settlements in Israel or directly supporting the Israeli army. Choosing how and where we spend are money can get complicated (no doubt about it!) but is can also be a way of aligning our finances with our values. Check out www.bdsmovement.net for a reliable source of information, and see their clear and simple infographic, along with each specific company targeted for a boycott and the reasons why at https://bdsmovement.net/Act-Now-Against-These-Companies-Profiting-From-Genocide . If you’re buying a product manufactured in Israel, ask if it comes from the settlements.
Canada’s complicity in the killing in the Middle East looms large. The next question becomes what can we do about it, and the in depth answer to that question is the topic for a whole other article. Step One is to be aware of the truth. Investigate further to whatever extent you may be interested.
Let’s not perpetuate the myth, though, that we are nice Canadians on the world stage when we actively support the killing and illegal (according to the United Nations) occupation by Israel.
We may want to say that our government does not represent us. And I suspect many citizens of the state of Israel feel the same. I suspect many Palestinians also feel the same about their governments. If we know what our government and companies here in Canada are really doing, then we can take action to pressure them to change. And we can change our own purchasing and investing decisions, if we know what we are supporting with our financial decisions.
There is hope in truth.