Thanksgiving tragedy in Israel

While most Canadians reacted with justified horror to Hamas’ sadistic assault on Israel, there were many others in Canada who inexplicably supported the Palestinians’ actions. Academics, other leftists and some unions went public with messages of support for Hamas’ attacks. Photo credit: AP/Tsafrir Abayov


After this weekend’s horrific events in Israel, I find it impossible to write this column about anything else. As everyone must know by now, early Saturday morning, Hamas unleashed a vicious, unprovoked, surprise attack on Israel. Ever since Israel’s establishment in 1948, the sole democracy in the Middle East has been under attack, mostly by its neighbours, many of whom do not believe that Israel should exist at all. Yet despite Israel’s experience with numerous difficult conflicts over the years, many commentators have stated that this recent attack was the single deadliest day in Israel’s history. 

The attack had clearly been planned for some time. Just a few days prior to the attack, senior Hamas officials had met with the Iranian security officials who financed the operation and reportedly gave the go-ahead to launch the attack at that meeting. Israel responded with airstrikes in Gaza and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that his country was now “at war” and would inflict an “unprecedented price” on Hamas. 

The attack was especially heinous as it appeared to target civilians and especially the vulnerable such as children, women and the elderly. There have been previous surprise attacks on Israel by Hamas, but they typically targeted military personnel and installations, not civilians. Many of the attacks seemed especially sadistic, involving sexual assault and parading dead bodies of Israelis on the streets of Gaza. To date, some Canadians are known to have been killed in the attacks and other Canadians taken as hostages. 

The heads of government of many countries immediately came out expressing their support of Israel and condemning Hamas as soon as the attack was reported, but Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau was noticeably late in commenting. Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre was, however, very quick to unequivocally condemn the attack. Trudeau eventually made a statement condemning the attack on Israel. 

While most Canadians reacted with justified horror, there were many others in Canada who inexplicably supported the Palestinians’ actions. Academics, other leftists and some unions went public with messages of support for Hamas’ attacks. To the everlasting shame of Canadian public sector unions, a Hamilton, Ontario local of CUPE came out with an outrageous statement supporting Palestinian “freedom”. This is a union completely dependent on our tax dollars and should never be permitted to intervene in such important international political matters. 

This is not the first time Canadian government unions have undertaken such extreme and baseless positions against Israel, however, as in the past they have sponsored such things as promoting BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) efforts against Israel. Members of these unions should be vocal in opposing their leaders’ ridiculous positions that are undoubtedly not supported by the vast majority of their members. 

Once again, our Canadian government bureaucracy did not cover itself with glory during this chaos. While other countries’ embassies were desperately trying to help their citizens within Israel, the Canadian Embassy was closed for the Thanksgiving holiday. Really? The past few years have seen many appalling examples of incompetence from our very well-paid government employees, but this takes the cake. Embassy staff could really not see the urgency of the situation and acting quickly to assist Canadians, which is supposed to be their job? Trudeau has increased our federal government employee complement by 40 per cent, yet still Canadians receive inferior service for all the tax dollars spent. 

United Nations’ statements to date have been their usual mealy-mouth bromides, implying that both sides in the dispute have equal culpability in the current war. Nothing could be further from the truth. The appropriate response by Canada and other countries to this reaction is to stop funding UN agencies in Gaza. As Hamas’ principal backer, Iran should be isolated by reimposing the severe sanctions that were lessened by the Obama administration in the hope of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. There is zero evidence that this strategy worked and, given current circumstances, returning to the prior maximum sanctions on Iran is eminently justifiable. 

It is also hugely disappointing that here in Canada we have seen a number of demonstrations in favour of the violent and inhuman Palestinian attack on Israel. Canada’s welcoming of immigrants from all over the world has been largely a positive, but when any group seeks to bring conflicts from their home country to Canada, they should be prevented from doing so. 

It must also be said that there are many Palestinians who do not support Hamas. However, the majority do seem to continue to be in favour of Hamas’ ongoing crusade in striving for the annihilation of Israel. Throughout the many peace talks between the two sides over the past few decades, there have been several occasions in which the Palestinians were accorded many of the rights they sought in a so-called “two-state” solution to the age-old Arab-Israeli conflict. In all of these instances, the Palestinian leadership turned down the opportunity for peace while Israel supported that outcome. There are many informed observers that believe Hamas and its allies will never be satisfied until they have wiped Israel off the map, and that talks of peace are merely a smokescreen to cover up Hamas’ true intentions. 

This is why supporters of Israel believe they must use the opportunity of this truly heinous attack to get rid of Hamas forever. History indicates that Israel regularly ends up prevailing in these conflicts, so that outcome is likely. Any very limited credibility the Palestinian cause has had among reasonable people has been destroyed by this recent attack. It will only be fitting if this outrageous, savage and unprovoked action on the part of Hamas turned out to be the final nail in its coffin. 

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