On March 20, 2023, the Hill Times published a letter to the editor by CJPME’s Jason Toney about the need for Canadian politicians to stop meeting with far-right Israeli figures, and for this issue to be included in broader coverage of far-right extremism.
Here is an excerpt of the edited letter:
Who politicians meet with matters. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that far-right politics are gaining a foothold in Canada. While this article mentions a recent meeting between Conservative MPs and far-right Israeli real estate developer Chaim Silverstein, this only scratches the surface of connections between Canadian officials and Israeli extremists.
In February, Trade Minister Mary Ng met with Ofir Akunis, a minister in the most far-right government in Israel’s history, and an anti-Palestinian extremist who advocates for annexing the occupied West Bank.
More recently, Senate Speaker George Furey and Senators Don Plett and Patti Laboucane-Benson met with members of Israel’s far-right government on a trip to Israel. Of particular concern was Furey’s meeting with Knesset Speaker MK Amir Ohana (Likud), who is on record as saying that Muslims have a “murderous culture” and that Palestinians are merely “guests” in their country.
Let’s face it: politicians need to be more discerning about with whom they rub shoulders. Far-right Israeli extremism is dangerous as it has a real-world impact on the lives and safety of Palestinians under Israel’s regime of oppression, which human rights groups describe as apartheid. Canadian officials must stop giving them a pass.