(Article by Andrew Mitrovica republished from AlJazeera.com)
In the four weeks since the Israeli prime minister began the wholesale destruction of Gaza, Canada’s emissaries – big and small – have been preoccupied with Israel’s interests at the expense of Canadians they purport to serve at home and abroad.
Worse, several furtive and suddenly mute “media relations” hirelings have refused to answer detailed questions about whether Canada agreed to haul an untold number of Israeli reservists back to Israel on Canadian military aircraft, so they could, presumably, join in the genocide of Palestinians as well as the horror being endured by hundreds of besieged Canadians, who, since October 7, have tried to escape the murderous madness engulfing Gaza.
Canada’s glaring complicity with an apartheid state committing crimes against humanity rather than attending to the dire circumstances of Palestinians – including Canadians of Palestinian descent, such as Nobel Peace Prize nominee Dr Izzeldin Abuelaish – rests with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who in a predictable, performative act of empty “solidarity” met recently with Palestinian Canadians in Toronto while his rank diplomats were gladly doing Israel’s bidding.
What a stain and disgrace.
More than a week ago, I provided Trudeau’s charges with a series of questions concerning the likelihood that – apart from his administration’s rhetorical backing of Israel’s killing machine – Canada had, at taxpayer’s expense, flown Israeli soldiers (reservists) to Tel Aviv as a “courtesy” to Netanyahu and racist company.
Before I decipher how Trudeau’s equally cynical minions responded to my queries, it is instructive to set out the broader context, which reveals Canada’s absolute subservience to Israel’s needs and genocidal designs.
My interest was piqued after I watched an October 13 press conference featuring two Canadian diplomats and a senior military officer in which the latter acknowledged that Canada had agreed to a “request from the state of Israel through Global Affairs Canada” to “action” the return of as many as 30 Israeli citizens from Athens to Tel Aviv on two flights on Canadian military planes.
My interest was further piqued when the vice admiral was asked if the returning Israelis were “reservists”. This was his curious reply: “I don’t have the details, information on who they were. It was a request from the state of Israel which we got through Global Affairs Canada. We certainly actioned that.”
Of course, obedient Canada “actioned that”.
Still, in other words, the vice admiral said: Sure, our special Israeli passengers may or may not have been soldiers, but it wasn’t our call. We just did what we were told to do because Israel told Global Affairs Canada what it wanted it to do and tout de suite.
At the same time, much of Canada’s prostrate media published glowing profiles of Israeli Canadian reservists already in Israel or itching to “report for duty in the Israeli military” and “go out and fight”.
The propriety, let alone the legality, of Canadians suiting swiftly up with a foreign government’s military potentially to maim or kill Canadians in occupied Gaza and the West Bank was never raised or considered by giddy reporters and editors blinded, as always, by their unequivocal approval of Israel’s “right to defend itself” no matter the thorny ethical, moral or legal consequences.
It’s called the “establishment press” for good and ample reason.
On merry cue, they rushed to anoint a pretend socialist turned the Liberal Party’s in-house Jeeves – Canadian UN envoy, Bob Rae – a hero for delivering a historically illiterate screed blaming Iran and its proxies for the destruction of Gaza that could well have been written, verbatim, by his dear, grateful friends in the Israeli delegation.
Given his grovelling quest for honorary Israeli citizenship, Rae would, no doubt, have little if any trouble with his busy colleagues at Global Affairs Canada shouting, “Aye, aye, sir!” when Israel came calling for help to get its “citizens” home before they shepherded to safety traumatised Canadians stranded in the shattered remains of the dystopian hell known as Gaza.
So did Canada enable Israeli soldiers (reservists) to join the “war” on Gaza?
Here is the short, circumspect written reply I received four days later from Global Affairs Canada spokesperson Pierre Cuguen: “At the request of Israel, assisted departure flights between Tel Aviv and Athens transported 36 Israeli nationals back to Israel, including a surgeon and diplomats. … None were explicitly reservists or military personnel.”
Please note Cuguen’s use of the weasel word: “explicitly”, which is nowhere near a firm denial despite another Global Affairs spokesperson telling me: “I’m sure we do know who they [the Israelis] are.”
Translation: Global Affairs Canada did not ask, nor did it care, whether the 36 “Israeli nationals” it flew back to Tel Aviv were soldiers and, happily, they did not tell.
I asked Global Affairs Canada to confirm or deny that it had, in effect, adopted a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy towards repatriating Israeli “reservists”.
There was a slew of other prickly questions that Global Affairs Canada refused to answer, responses that would shed fulsome and necessary light on this outrageous business.
What agency or department of the Israeli government made the request?
Who was the original request directed to at Global Affairs Canada?
When was the request made?
What was the precise nature of the Israeli request?
Who at Global Affairs Canada agreed to the Israeli request?
Why did the government of Canada – through Global Affairs Canada – agree to Israel’s request to fly its citizens back to Tel Aviv?
How much did it cost to repatriate dozens of Israeli citizens?
Why was it Canada’s, and not Israel’s, responsibility to repatriate its “citizens”?
How many other times since early October has Ottawa received and agreed to requests from Israel to repatriate its “citizens” at Canadian taxpayers’ expense?
If so, how many other Israeli “citizens” have been repatriated to Israel via Canadian military aircraft?
Who were those Israelis – reservists or not?
If Canada has repatriated Israeli reservists to Israel using Canadian resources, why did the Canadian government – through Global Affairs Canada – agree and believe that was the right thing to do?
In an effort to get Canada’s diplomats to fulfil their duty and responsibility as “public servants” and sincerely address a grave subject of serious concern to scores of Palestinian Canadians and their many allies, I attempted to contact Anabel Lindblad, director of media relations and issues management at Global Affairs Canada, several times to no avail.
Lindblad – like the department, foreign minister and prime minister she works for – prefers, apparently, to satisfy requests from Netanyahu’s rancid regime over entertaining questions posed on behalf of devastated Palestinian Canadians.
What a stain and disgrace.
One of the urgent questions Lindblad left, shamefully, unanswered was whether Global Affairs Canada was prepared to extend to Dr Izzeldin Abuelaish – a world-renowned humanitarian and Palestinian Canadian – the same courtesy and arrange for his safe travel to Gaza to comfort his bruised and bloodied 65-year-old sister, Yousra, and his surviving family members – 21 of whom were erased last week by Israel when it attacked the Jabalia refugee camp.
This is not the first time Abuelaish has had to grieve the shocking loss of loved ones – victims all of Israeli shelling. In 2009, three of his daughters and a niece were decapitated when two tank shells obliterated his home in Gaza.
Abuelaish discovered that his beloved and accomplished nieces and nephews and other relatives had been killed instantly or suffocated to death when a rescuer answered his sister’s cell phone and described futile attempts to pull them from the rubble of a home where they had gathered together to pray for salvation and wait for the inevitable.
“I will return when there is a ceasefire because I must,” Abuelaish told me in an interview. “I need to be with my family in Gaza because every Palestinian is my family.”
Abuelaish was not among the Palestinian Canadians whom Trudeau chose to hear from in Toronto late last month in one of those choreographed “listening” sessions, meant, I suspect, to convey the hollow impression that their genocide-subsidising country cares about the fates of Palestinians in Canada and Gaza – while opposing an immediate ceasefire.
Abuelaish remembers, as I do, when Trudeau lied to him and Canadians about supporting an initiative called Heal 100 Kids to get 100 Palestinian children – injured in body and mind – to Canada, where doctors, nurses and hospitals had volunteered to repair innocents who required repairing.
Abuelaish has, instead, accepted an invitation from a committee of the Belgian Federal Parliament to appear this week to share his sorrow-saturated thoughts about the unfolding genocide and how to stop it.
Meanwhile, Trudeau and his diplomats will continue to mollify, shield and defend Netanyahu and racist company.
What a stain and disgrace.
Read more at: AlJazeera.com