The Globe and Mail publishes CJPME letter rebutting whitewashed column on extrajudicial assassinations

On October 4, 2023, The Globe and Mail published a letter from CJPME’s Jason Toney in response to an article written by columnist Andrew Coyne, ”No, India killing a Canadian is not ‘just like’ America killing bin Laden.

Coyne’s op-ed argued that when evaluating the morality of extrajudicial assassinations, one should consider three factors:

  1. “What kind of state is the actor;”
  2. “What kind of state is being acted upon,”
  3. And “What kind of individual is involved.”

For Coyne, states can be split into straightforward categories: the “good guys” (US, Israel, Canada, etc.) and everyone else. He writes, “Israel has assassinated those it holds responsible for the murder of Israeli citizens,” and describes a questionable moral framework that would indicate that Israel acted morally in such cases.

While it’s disappointing that such a whitewashed, simplistic argument could be published in one of Canada’s most-read newspapers, Mr. Coyne is a regular voice in mainstream Canadian media. CJPME is proud to be published in Globe and Mail pushing back against such a flawed and dangerous narrative.

The Globe’s version of Jason Toney’s letter reads:

“Context matters.”

Columnist Andrew Coyne’s tripartite standard for judging the morality of extrajudicial killing is to assess “what kind of state” is doing the murdering and where the killing is happening, then consider “what kind of individual” is being killed.

We (Canada, the United States and Israel – Mr. Coyne’s examples) are the objective “good guys,” and others are not. This is just how it is, he writes, and anything else is mere moral relativizing or an “undergraduate” desire to be contrarian.

When Mr. Coyne considers the above, “there is simply no comparison” between the good guys and the others. But why compare? He warns against tu quoque, or whataboutism, while seeming to play a twisted version of the game himself.

Why overlook and whitewash the despicable actions of the “good guys?”

Jason Toney Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East; Montreal

You can also read the letter online or in the October 4 edition of Globe and Mail.