Thursday, May 23, 2024

Ottawa abandoned Canadian Jews in their darkest hour

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Here’s what needs to be done to turn things around

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The fear in the eyes of Jewish-Canadians, who have been abandoned by their country in their very darkest hour, is matched only by the fear in the eyes of our government, which abandoned them. Canada’s desertion of nearly 400,000 of our proudest citizens is unparalleled, save for our desertion of Japanese-Canadians during the Second World War.

Our citizens, hated not because they are bombing Gaza, but because they are Jews, are frightened as never before. They are frightened by the venomous hatred from so many sources, manifesting in the screaming crowds in their neighbourhoods, vandalizing of businesses, death threats and calls to genocide, as our police and governments stand in silence.

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Our government is afraid for the same reasons. The massive explosion of hatred against Jews across Canada was spurred on by the non-reaction of our political leaders. Wanting to placate Islamic voters, who are present in increasing numbers, Canada’s government failed to condemn the hatred and is now frightened about what could come. Words yes, actions no, but as I learnt long ago, actions talk and bulls–t walks. Our government fears what will come from its inaction and knows that any tragedies will be its legacy.

We’ve had a lot of bull. None of the actions. Where are the political leaders, starting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, at synagogues, in Jewish neighbourhoods, frequenting Jewish businesses, directing enforcement of our laws during times reminiscent of Kristallnacht so long ago? They are invisible.

Their only actions are often repugnant. Take the hotbed of antisemitism, the NDP — please! In every action and with every word, New Democrats have supported not Palestinians, but Hamas and hatred. The B.C. NDP abandoned one of their own — not because she’s horrible, but because she’s Jewish. And on Passover, a special time for Jews, the Ontario NDP chose to push the issue of wearing the keffiyeh — which has become a symbol of terrorism — in Queen’s Park.

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Canada has failed all Canadians, not just Jewish-Canadians, with its situational ethics and appalling lack of leadership. Its not too late, however, but we require moral and courageous leadership. Here are a few things politicians and law enforcement can do to help right these wrongs.

Be present. Go to synagogues, businesses and neighbourhoods that have been affected. Show by your presence that you have not abandoned Jewish-Canadians, that fear and violence will not win and that all Canadians have a place in this country.

As a senior military leader, I ensured that when those troops whose very lives were entrusted to me were in danger, I was there with them. The prime minister, cabinet ministers and premiers should be present with our Jewish community in this dark time. They should condemn, by their presence, the daily terror many Canadians face because they are Jewish. Presence speaks loudly.

Enforce our laws. We have plenty of laws in this country — hate laws, threat laws, violence laws and more. Yet almost none of them have been employed to protect our citizens. Terrorist signs, clear threats to life and limb, support for genocide and the blocking of businesses and institutions are but a few examples of potentially illegal actions that have been tacitly condoned by authorities. Why do we permit it? Police should arrest Canadians who thumb their noses at our laws, and deport those who are not Canadian.

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Pressure Hamas. Every time we accept Hamas’s lies, we fail our fellow Canadians. Hamas — a murderous terrorist organization — cannot tell us how many hostages are still alive or where they are, but can instantly tell that an Israeli attack killed 150 innocent victims, all of whom were women and children. To accept such obvious lies is ludicrous, yet our government seems to fall for it every time.

Canada should accept nothing less than a ceasefire — from Hamas. We should demand that the terrorist organization account for all the hostages, allow them to be visited by the Red Cross and then release them. We should insist that Hamas lay down its arms. If Hamas lays down its weapons, the war and killing will be over. Conversely, if Israel stops its assault, the barbarity of Oct. 7 will reoccur, over and over again.

Stop funding UNRWA. UNRWA has long been known for providing sympathy and support for Hamas. The hundreds of kilometres of sophisticated tunnels under Gaza, the command centres built underneath United Nations buildings and hospitals and the weapons caches cost considerable amounts of money. Hamas was only able to afford them because western governments, such as ours, financed basic services in Gaza through organizations like UNRWA.

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Enough aid has gone to Gaza to build a solid and thriving society. Yet Hamas has chosen to maintain a perpetual state of violence rather than providing basic government services and lifting its people out of poverty. Meanwhile, hatred and incitement to violence is taught in UNRWA schools and it has allowed Hamas to use its infrastructure for terrorist purposes. UNRWA is part of the murderous problem, not the solution. Funding it means we are funding terror.

Help contain Iran. There is only one war in the Middle East and that is the one being waged by Iran. Hamas and Hezbollah are Tehran’s proxies. We may amputate those limbs, but the controlling hand remains. Canada should flex its international muscle. We should push for the return of severe sanctions to contain Iran and designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as the terrorist group it is.

Canada is being set ablaze from the Middle East. Fiddling while our country burns will destroy us all. O Canada.

National Post

Rick J. Hillier is a retired Canadian Forces general who served as the chief of defence staff from February 2005 to July 2008.

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