Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, previously known for his criticisms of Israel and his voiced support for Palestinians, took to Twitter this past weekend expressing solidarity with the Palestinian, Arab, and Black Muslim communities.
“As members of the Palestinian, Arab, and Black Muslim communities gathered for prayer yesterday, I wanted them to know this: We know you’re worried and hurting. We’re here for you. We will not stop advocating for civilians to be protected and for international law to be upheld,” Trudeau announced.
This isn't the first time Trudeau's stance on the Israel-Palestine issue has generated debate. In May 2018, amidst border demonstrations in Gaza orchestrated by Hamas — during which many protesters approached the Israeli border, leading to clashes — Trudeau condemned Israel's actions.
Following the skirmishes, Hamas acknowledged that 50 of the 62 Palestinians who lost their lives during the events were affiliated with the group.
Yet, Trudeau's response focused on the Israeli response: "Canada deplores and is gravely concerned by the violence in the Gaza Strip that has led to a tragic loss of life and injured countless people. We are appalled that Dr. Tarek Loubani, a Canadian citizen, is among the wounded – along with so many unarmed people, including civilians, members of the media, first responders, and children … Reported use of excessive force and live ammunition is inexcusable."
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) took issue with Trudeau's stance, launching a petition urging the Canadian government to reaffirm its earlier denunciations of Hamas as a terrorist entity — a step the Prime Minister declined, the Daily Wire reported.
CIJA CEO Shimon Koffler Fogel remarked, “We are deeply disappointed the government’s statement ignores Hamas’ direct responsibility for recent violence on the Israel-Gaza border. This contradicts the government’s long-stated position that, as a close ally and fellow liberal democracy, Israel can count on Canada’s support when its security is threatened.”
Similarly, Avi Benlolo, the president and CEO of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, noted:
While we despair about loss of life, Canada should steadfastly condemn Hamas for inciting violence and for attempting to enter a sovereign nation to carry out terrorism.
It’s disappointing that our prime minister did not condemn Hamas in his statement.