“Justin Trudeau is and always has been an antisemite”, according to Canada’s former ambassador to Israel. While Vivian Bercovici has staked out an extreme position, other commentators have expressed some variation of this perspective since the PM expressed opposition to killing of babies.
In a statement in which he repeatedly condemned Hamas and failed to explicitly call for a ceasefire, Trudeau told the press “we’re hearing the testimonies of doctors, family members, survivors, kids who’ve lost their parents. The world is witnessing this — the killing of women and children, of babies. This has to stop.”
In response to the prime minister’s comment former Liberal MP and current CEO of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center Michael Levitt posted to X, “The scathing remarks also landed here at home, where Jews like me, reeling from weeks of surging antisemitism, got the message loud and clear, and will worry that they have the potential to further fan the flames of Jew-hatred that we are facing.” In an interview with CBC Levitt reiterated the point, claiming the prime minister’s comments “further fuel antisemitism and lashing out at Jews in Canada.”
In an article headlined “Trudeau’s Israel tirade hands Canada’s anti-Semites a propaganda victory” Toronto Suncolumnist Laurie Goldstein echoed this line of reasoning. He argued that “Trudeau handed anti-Semites in Canada a new club to beat Jews over the head with by blaming Israel alone for the conduct of the war in Gaza — with theatrical pauses for effect — before he even mentioned Hamas.”
Former Conservative senator, United Jewish Appeal (UJA) Toronto Board Chair and now head of UJA’s Committee to combat Antisemitism, Linda Frum blamed Trudeau for a purported bomb threat at a private Jewish school (which holds “IDF days”). Above a statement noting “Toronto’s largest Jewish school TanenbaumCHAT was evacuated today due to threats made against the school”, Frum posted, “A few days ago PM Trudeau falsely accused Israel of deliberately killing babies. You can draw a straight line from there to here ….”
(In the real world, Trudeau has enabled Israel’s genocide in Gaza. Alongside dispatching Canadian special forces there and flying 30 Israeli reservists to the country, Trudeau’s government has called for “eliminating” Hamas, supported Israel’s “right to defend itself” and visited to encourage Israeli violence. At the same time Ottawa has refused to halt arms exports, prevent illegal recruitment for the IDF or stop Canadian charities from unlawfully assisting Israel’s military, as detailed in a recent notice of intention to prosecute the PM for aiding and abetting Israel’s war crimes.)
The argument that criticizing Israel for killing babies equates to attacking Canadian Jews is enabled by Zionist groups linking Canadian Jewry to Israel. Claiming to represent Montreal’s 90,000 Jews, Federation CJA recently launched a campaign to send cards to “our” Israeli soldiers. “Make cards for our brave IDF soldiers”, explains a section on their site that includes a financial appeal for Israel. Card writers are told to drop their messages of support for the IDF off at Beth Tikvah Synagogue and Federation CJA’s office. The Jewish federations in Toronto, Vancouver and elsewhere are also fundraising for Israel and promoting the IDF.
If told Israeli soldiers are “ours” then criticism of the IDF can easily appear like an attack on Montréal Jews. But the Israeli military is slaughtering children.
The advocacy agent of Canada’s Jewish Federations, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), was set up partly to further conflate Jews with Israel. A decade ago, the Tanenbaums, Schwartz/Reisman and other wealthy hard-line apartheid promoters created CIJA to replace the Canadian Jewish Congress and Canada Israel Committee. They removed Canada from the name but left Israel in it partly to further blur the distinction between Canadian Jewry and Israel.
If your principal concern is promoting Israel, perhaps it is politically sensible to minimize the distinction between Israel and Judaism. By doing so you increase the pressure on Canadian Jews to back Israel. Simultaneously, it frames opposition to Israeli violence and apartheid as anti-Jewish.
But destroying the meaning of “antisemitism” cannot possibly be good for the average Canadian Jew. When a former Canadian ambassador openly calls the prime minister an “antisemite” for opposing the killing of babies the pro-Israel-no-matter-what crowd really have lost their minds.