Canadian politicians and media rally behind Israel’s murderous response to Palestinian uprising

Led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canada’s entire political establishment, from ostensible “left” to hard right, have joined the imperialist chorus of condemnations of the Palestinian uprising and declared the far-right Netanyahu regime should be given a blank cheque in mounting a horrific, criminal onslaught on Gaza.

Little more than two weeks after they rose in unison to applaud a Nazi war criminal, the leaders of all the parties in Canada’s parliament have joined together to endorse the Israeli state’s “right” to wantonly slaughter Palestinians and denounce opposition to Israeli repression as “anti-Semitic.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, shortly after his Liberal government came to power in Nov. 2015. [Photo: Twitter/Trudeau]

Trudeau, who leads a government that has been as steadfast in its support of the Israeli regime as its Conservative predecessor, declared in a statement posted on X, “Canada strongly condemns the current terrorist attacks against Israel. These acts of violence are completely unacceptable. We stand with Israel and fully support its right to defend itself…Civilian life must be protected.”

It would be hard to combine more hypocrisy and lies into such a short statement. In the first place, the military actions against Israel are the product of a mass popular uprising, as shown by the scope of the operations, not a “terrorist attack.” It is inconceivable given Israel’s omnipresent surveillance and longstanding security crackdown on the Gaza Strip, turning the densely populated territory into an open-air prison, that an attack on the scale launched by Hamas could have taken place without the active support of a large portion of its 2.3 million inhabitants.

Secondly, Israel is not “defending itself,” but launching a genocidal crackdown on the entire Palestinian population. In the style of the most oppressive regimes throughout history, Netanyahu and his ministers have denounced Palestinians as “human animals” and “savages” to justify the cutting of water, food, electricity and fuel supplies to Gaza and an aerial bombardment that has already leveled entire neighbourhoods. For Trudeau, it would appear that the only civilians who count are Israeli, while the entire Palestinian population is fair game for illegal collective punishment and slaughter.

Trudeau was joined in his enthusiasm for the Israeli government’s savagery by Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre and New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jagmeet Singh. Speaking at an Israel “solidarity” event in Ottawa on Monday evening, also attended by Trudeau, Poilievre called Hamas “evil in its purest form” and a “sadistic, demonic genocidal terrorist death cult.”

Singh was more muted, but nonetheless unequivocal in joining the universal condemnation of the mass uprising as a “terrorist attack.” He wrote, “I strongly condemn these horrifying attacks by Hamas on Israel. Civilians should never be targeted and all hostages must be released immediately. We fear what the coming days will bring. Terrorism and violence solve nothing.”

The Quebec political elite—whether staunch federalist, the autonomist-chauvinists of the province’s ruling CAQ, or pro-independence—have also uniformly condemned the “violence” of the Palestinian uprising. They have stridently asserted the “right” of the massively armed Israeli state, which violently represses the Palestinian population every day, to “defend itself.” In a statement posted to X, the Bloc Quebecois, the federal sister party of the pro-independence Parti Quebecois, stated that it “firmly condemns the terrorist attack by Hamas against Israel and its civilian population.”   

Demonstration in Toronto in support of the Palestinian uprising. [Photo by WSWS (Courtesy a supporter) ]

The unflinching endorsement of the Israeli government’s onslaught by Canada’s entire official political setup was on display at a rally Monday in Toronto attended by Progressive Conservative Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, and the NDP mayor of Toronto Olivia Chow. Chow was touted by what remains of the NDP’s “left” and its pseudo-left periphery during her election campaign earlier this year as a transformational candidate. She devoted her remarks Monday to a vicious denunciation of protesters taking to the streets to support the Palestinians.

The unanimous support within Canadian ruling circles for the far-right Netanyahu government comes as no surprise. As a key strategic and military partner of US imperialism for over three quarters of a century, Canada has for decades backed the Israeli regime to the hilt. The Canadian Armed Forces has close ties to the Israel Defence Forces and Canada has been a significant supplier of military equipment.

Ottawa has also unswervingly defended Israel against any criticism of its blatant human rights abuses at the United Nations, especially over the past two decades as successive Israeli governments dropped any pretense of support for a “two state” solution and intensified the “settlement” of the West Bank. It has stood virtually alone in voting with the US repeatedly against resolutions condemning the indiscriminate violence used against the Palestinian populations in Gaza and the West Bank.

The readiness of the Canadian ruling class and its political representatives to support the most ruthless violence has also been demonstrated throughout the ongoing US-NATO imperialist war against Russia. They have poured weaponry into Ukraine, cavalierly dismissed concerns about the possibility of the war escalating into nuclear war as akin to appeasement, and vowed the slaughter should continue until Russia is eliminated as a “strategic threat.” With all-party support, Canada has sent well over $2 billion in weapons to the far-right regime in Kiev, including tanks, military vehicles, ammunition, and anti-aircraft systems. Canada played a major role in preparing and instigating the war, including by helping to integrate the far-right Azov Battalion into the Ukrainian army following the fascist-spearheaded 2014 coup in Kiev that Ottawa also had a major hand in.

The methods Canadian imperialism is prepared to use to achieve its interests were revealed when every MP in the House of Commons, led by Trudeau, rose September 22 to applaud Yaroslav Hunka, a veteran of the Waffen-SS’s Galicia Division. The Division, whose members swore allegiance to Adolf Hitler, was implicated in the Holocaust and the massacre of tens of thousands of Poles in Galicia.

Anyone who thinks it an exaggeration to say that Canadian imperialism is prepared to countenance and participate in war crimes of a like magnitude should review the blood-curdling commentary flooding Canada’s corporate-controlled media. Typical was Tuesday’s editorial in the Globe and Mail, the mouthpiece for the Bay Street financial elite. Under the title, “Canada must stand with Israel” it demanded the Trudeau government back the Israeli state’s genocidal onslaught on Gaza, and not flinch at what it terms “collateral civilian casualties.”

“Affirmations and solidarity are easy enough at the moment,” declared the Globe, “but they will become more difficult to sustain as Israel begins to uproot Hamas from the Gaza Strip, as it must … It will be tempting, as casualties inevitably mount, to lapse into the lazy notion that the two sides in the conflict need to agree to a ceasefire…

“This is not a conflict; it is a justified war against terror ... And a ceasefire will have to come at a time of Israel’s choosing, once it believes the threat posed by Hamas has been eliminated…”

The “elimination” of Hamas, an organization that enjoys significant support in the Gaza Strip and has previously won elections to govern the territory, can only mean the deliberate massacring of thousands of civilians. And if the Israeli regime, which has already labelled Palestinians “animals” and demonstrated through years of brutal occupation that it has no respect for their rights, is to be given a free hand to determine when a ceasefire should take place, civilian deaths on an unprecedented scale are inevitable.

There is widespread opposition to the hysterical campaign for the mass slaughter of Palestinians emanating from the ruling class. Protests each involving hundreds of people have been held in Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Vancouver over recent days. At the Toronto event, protesters chanted “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” One demonstrator carried a sign with the apt slogan, “Occupation is a crime, resistance a response.”

The strong sympathy within the population for the plight of the Palestinian people has been met with a furious response from politicians and the media. Trudeau denounced all protests in support of the Palestinians, declaring Monday, “I strongly condemn the demonstrations that have taken place, and are taking place, across the country in support of Hamas’ attacks on Israel. The glorification of violence is never acceptable in Canada.” Poilievre, who has cultivated support from the far-right “Freedom” Convoy’s thugs who menacingly occupied Ottawa, declared, “I unreservedly condemn any and all who took part in the disgusting celebrations that we have seen on our streets.”

The ruling elite is clearly fearful that opposition to the brutal oppression suffered by the Palestinians could link up with widespread hostility to the US-led imperialist war against Russia, which has yet to find positive political expression, and the growing strike movement among various sections of workers to defend wages and conditions as the cost of living increases.

It is precisely the development of such a movement in the working class that is necessary to halt the imperialist-backed onslaught against the Palestinians and defeat the fascist-backed Netanyahu government that threatens the democratic and social rights of Palestinian and Israeli workers alike. As the International Committee of the Fourth International wrote in its statement on the events in Israel, “The uprising in Palestine is itself part of a developing eruption of anger and opposition in the form of mass strikes and protests throughout the world. It is this social movement, guided by a consciously socialist and revolutionary program and perspective, that must be mobilized to put an end to imperialist war, inequality and all forms of oppression.”