“Mr. Trudeau – what values, exactly, do we share with Israel?” – asks retired Canadian M.D. and armed forces veteran

Young Jewish fanatics paraded through East Jerusalem on April 23rd yelling “death to Arabs” in a demonstration that the liberal American Jewish group If Not Now labelled a Jewish “pogrom”. Over 100 Palestinians were hurt. The Israeli government stood by – even protecting the fanatics. In an open letter to Prime MinisterJustin Trudeau, a Canadian doctor asks why Trudeau keeps on repeating that we share “common values” with Israel. Read more…

John Menzies, Guest columnist

April 25, 2021

Right Honourable Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister of Canada


In a recent speech you said that Canada and Israel shared “common values” and that Israel is an ally and a friend. I believe you should seriously reconsider which values we truly do share. 

Recent events in Jerusalem (which some have compared to a “pogrom”) have revealed what many people and organizations have been saying for years; the basic rights of Palestinians have been repeatedly denied by a culture of anti-Arab racism within the Israeli society, government, legal system, military and police. 

On Friday, April 23 a racist mob of extremist Jewish Israelis, many supporters of the openly racist Lehava movement, attacked Palestinians during Ramadan. The result was over 100 injuries and 22 hospitalized. “Death to Arabs,” “restore Jewish dignity,” “hang an Arab”, were all heard loud and clear after a week of promotion on extremist social media according to reports in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz. (Ha’aretz April 26, 2021)

CBC chose to run 41 seconds of video showing Ramadan activities but nothing of the Israeli Kahanists’ violent activities and no commentary. CTV and Global News both ran a story about rocket fire from Gaza into Israel but no mention of the racially motivated attacks in Jerusalem.

As of April 26, 2021, there still is no Canadian government press release condemning the attacks on Palestinians, although you found time to wish the Queen a happy birthday.

A Palestinian is detained during clashes with Israeli police, as the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan continues, in Jerusalem, April 23, 2021.

Lest you believe that Israeli racism is confined to violent acts by errant youth gangs, you should also know that the forced displacement of Palestinians from the Sheik Jarrah neighbourhood of Jerusalem, was undertaken by applying Israeli domestic law to territory that the whole international community, including Canada, holds to be occupied and not legally under Israeli control.

If the displacement goes ahead in Sheikh Jarrah, by August 1, 2021, up to 500 Palestinians will be expelled with nowhere to go and no compensation.

“Judaization” has long been a policy in Jerusalem in the belief that if enough Palestinians are expelled, annexation of East Jerusalem becomes irreversible. This is contrary to Canada’s official policy that the status of Jerusalem is part of Final Status Negotiations.

This situation is so grave that 190 organizations have written to the International Criminal Court asking for urgent intervention. 

Racism against Arabs/Palestinians is present in a broad cross section of Israeli society, fostered by the attitudes and statements of officials at all levels of government and even including some prominent rabbis. For example, Israeli cabinet members have called for “killing terrorist snakes, and their mothers” (Ayalet Shaked), “I have killed lots of Arabs in my life and there is no problem with that”(Naftali Bennet), and in an election campaign ad Benny Gantz boasted of reducing parts of Gaza back to “the stone age”. No wonder the right-wing base feels free to carry out a race riot.

Canada has made great progress

Canada has spent a long time coming to grips with the racism of our past, particularly against first nations people and a long way in identifying the protection of human rights as a core value of our Canadian identity.

As a probation/parole officer and as a physician I have personally seen numerous examples of the deadliness of institutionalized racism.We have made great strides in law in how we treat young offenders, in gun control, in recognition and treatment of mental health and substance abuse. We have even disbanded an army regiment over its racist conduct and have held a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to begin healing the wounds of native dispossession and discrimination, acts which are now recognized as genocide.

In Canada, hate crimes and supremacist incitement to violence are investigated and prosecuted, hate speech is not allowed, and anti-Semitic acts and Islamophobia are grounds for prosecution.

This is why I’m confused about why you would say we share “common values” with Israel.

From a human rights perspective, Israel resembles the Canada of yesterday when we put a head tax on Chinese, blocked the Komagata Maru, starved native reserves and tried to impose ‘whiteness” in residential schools. 

Canada has come a long way as a nation. We have values that make me proud to be a Canadian. But Israel does not share those values.

John Menzies, Md.

Pembroke, Ontario

Cc. The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Cc. The Honourable Jagmeet Singh, Leader New Democratic Party of Canada

Cc. The Honourable Annamie Paul, Leader Green Party of Canada

Cc. The Honourable Erin O’Toole, Leader The Conservative Party of Canada

Cc. Mr.Bob Rae Canadian UN Ambassador

Dr John Menzies is a retired Armed Forces Physician. He has worked in Canada, Germany, Haiti and Tanzania. He has a lifelong interest in indigenous history and human rights.

If you agree with Dr. Menzies’ letter to Prime Minister Trudeau, please feel free to share it with as many of your friends as possible.


Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) is the weekly newsletter of Peter Larson, Chair of the Ottawa Forum on Israel/Palestine (OFIP). It aims to promote a serious discussion in Canada about Canada’s response to the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue with a focus on the truth, clear analysis and human rights for all. Readers with different points of view are invited to make comment.

Want to learn more about us? Go to http://www.ottawaforumip.org.


  1. JPLO Note: It is not appropriate to term the fascist gang in Jerusalem ‘Jewish’ Supremacists since they were evidently Zionists. ‘Lehava’ could only be considered Zionist Supremacist, otherwise you would be adopting the identity made by those Zionists to be representative of Jewishness.

    We of the Jewish Socialist Bund do not accept such a designation making an amalgam of Zionism and Jewishness; no more ‘Jewish’ Nation-State but a Zionist State, no more ‘Jewish’ Supremacists but rather Zionist Supremacists. No more Israeli Apartheid but Zionist Apartheid. No more Jewish Lobby but only a Zionist Lobby. Not Jewish self-determination but colonialism.

    We are the Jewish People and we are demanding to be recognized as such apart from the Zionist State. By majority, we do not live in that State and do not intend to and we will take on fascism in each of the countries that we call homelands.

    Again, we are the Jewish People and we are not a ‘Jew’. The atomization and objectification made by this Christian initiated populist title is the same as that used by the Nazi regime on the yellow stars.. and yet the popular Christian parlance expects Jewish people to submit to such debasement, as well as Jewish use made of the term itself as a sign of assimilation, geared to formulate a ticket to integration.

    All in all it an insult and a falsification of who the Jewish People are all so as to facilitate the incursions into the Western Orient by the neo-imperial interests of the powers that continue to be in the capitalist sphere of activity.

    To use our name in vain is to be considered the essence of Antisemitism; whether by one ideology or another populist manifestation seeking influence for whatever.

    De : Canada Talks Israel/Palestine

    Peter Larson posted: ” Young Jewish fanatics paraded through East Jerusalem on April 23rd yelling “death to Arabs” in a demonstration that the liberal American Jewish group If Not Now labelled a Jewish “pogrom”. Over 100 Palestinians were hurt. The Israeli government stood”

    1. Thank you Dr. Weizfeld
      “It is certainly true that not all Jews are Zionists; it is also true that not all Zionists are Jews. However, the state of Israel claims to be a home for the Jewish people and anyone that they consider Jewish can become an Israeli citizen if they wish. This “right of return” doctrine does not discriminate between Jews who are Zionists and Jews who are not Zionist. They recently passed constitution-level laws that declare Israel a Jewish State. Many Jews disagree.”

      1. Peter Larson has not read the Law of Return codified by the Zionist State of ‘Israel’! That Law states that Jewish applicants for citizenship are accepted unless they are a threat to the security of the State. Anti-Zionist is defniend as a threat to the ideology of Zionism and therefore a threat to its State. It is not only many ‘Jews’ as you put it who disagree but rather half the Jewish population according to the recent poll.

      2. Hello Dr. Weizfeld,
        You are RIGHT! I have not read the “Law of Return” or any of the other documents that make up the Israeli “constitution”. But I have read many summaries and talked to experts (both Israeli and Palestinian) who do know quite a bit about it. So I have picked up the general idea. In short, Jews from around the world are welcome to come to Israel, non-Jews, less so. And Palesltinians not at all.
        If you, or anybody else is interested in discussing this more, OFIP will be holding a webinar on this very topic on Thursday, June 3rd with Jonathan Cook, an expert on the topic. He knows this stuff inside out because., although a non-Jew he was successful after many years applying, in getting Israeli citizenship. He will discuss that process, and Israel’s bizarre citizenship laws.

      3. Peter,

        I have read the English translation of the “Law of Return”. People who would be eligible (Jews and certain relatives of Jews) can be denied the right to “make aliya” if they are engaged in an activity directed against the Jewish people, are likely to endanger public health or the security of the State, or is a person with a criminal past. There is no mention of Zionism and, when I asked, I was told that having “strange political views” would not be a barrier. The terms of the law seem to be narrowly interpreted. For example, the “no criminal past” condition did not prevent Jonathan Pollard, who had spent nearly 30 years in Prison for espionage, from being allowed to exercise his rights under the law. My impression is that the above conditions are intended to exclude terrorist sympathizers or spies from claiming the right of return. Many of those who have exercised their rights as Jews are active opponents of certain parts of Israeli policy.

  2. It is easy for observers to dismiss the Kahanist marchers as a small but vocal minority but that is a mistake. They are the froth on top of a river of fear and hatred that flows quietly but deep. In discussions with many Israelis, I sense a deep conviction that it is impossible for Jews and non-Jews to share Palestine, that they need control of Palestine, that they have the right to control all of Palestine completely, and that peace will be impossible until they have cleansed the land of non-Jews who disagree. Dismissing the loud marchers as an extremist minority allows the press and politicians to ignore them. Canadians need to understand that they are but the tip of a powerful iceberg and stop supporting Israel.

    1. When the land was all Palestine, the PALESTINIAN Jewish minority shared the land with Muslims, Christians, and Druze, until the Zionist movement cut indigenous Jews from the herd of Palestinian identity and instituted settler-colonialism to import their desired demographic of White Jews.

      Let’s not make Jew a proxy for Israeli, because doing so feeds into the Zionist agenda of leveraging the European legacy of Jewish persecution to silence dissent regarding Israel’s atrocities.

      Making Jew a proxy for Israeli/Zionist also feeds anti-Semitism, because Jews outside of Israel end up being targeted.

    2. I applaud this very brave and insightful questioning of our government’s blithe statement of assumed “shared values with Israel “. Although I challenge Dr Menzie’s optimistic statements about the progress we have made righting the wrongs committed against Indigenous people, I am in complete solidarity that Trudeau’s statement about our shared values with the anti-Arab state of Israel are more a reflection of John A McDonald’s time than the present. As a Canadian, I do not support the actions or attitudes of the state of Israel towards the genocide of Palestinians. The Israelis are settlers , just as the Europeans are in Canada.

      1. Thank you for your comment. Short of reliving our history without the stain of racism and injustice to First Nations people, you are correct, we can never completely undo what was done. But when I think of how our attitudes towards human rights in general, and aboriginal Canadians in particular, have changed since my first parole court appearance in 1970, I do feel optimistic. I also feel extremely frustrated that the pace of change is so plodding and that problems present decades ago are still present, population health and clean water just to name two. I am encouraged though when I see departments of indigenous health in medical schools, recognition of indigenous health needs as different from non indigenous people, and the importance of indigenous culture as determinants of population health. These were not there in my early days even though they were clearly relevant. Although we’ll never completely erase the stain of our colonialism , we need not be silent when it unfolds in other parts of the world. Again, thanks for your comments.

      2. Sadly, Trudeau has shown over his time as PM he will attempt to justify much by dressing up in others’ clothing and pretending a bond that’s about as secure as safe drinking water on so many isolated First Nation reserves.
        His chameleon adventures have repeatedly left Canadians with feeling embarrassed and confused as they tend to imply far too strongly policy as endorsed by Canadians rather than his own flighty personality.
        I’m more than sure Pierre’s spirit must be in continuous toss mode.

  3. La dérive israélienne vers une forme de racisme d’extrême droite est extrêmement préoccupante. Human Rights Watch qualifie maintenant les actions israéliennes de “Crimes of apartheid and persecution”. L’appui du Canada à Israël, dans ces circonstances, devient intolérable. Ce n’est pas parce que nous abhorrons l’antisémitisme que nous devons nous faire complices de l’apartheid.
    Guy Archambault, ancien diplomate canadien

  4. As a Palestinian , I applaud your courage on an important issue, the Zionist fascism, indeed, it’s not limited to these neoNazis, rather it the reality of the entire colonial entity of “israel” .. Shame on Canada

  5. It has become intolerable and impossible to conceive how any person of religion with a conscience can feel so unaffected by what goes on in historic Palestine. Perhaps the fiasco of the US election was divine punishment for the sheer unprecedented heartless support of Trump for the Zionist agenda, whereby Palestinian grievances are of no concern, and Palestinians should be relegated to glorified bantustans and Indian reservations. So many Jews are simply brainwashed into believing that might makes right in international politics, particular international politics dominated by the Anglo-American Empire. But God is above that and will handle it. Let’s hope sooner rather than later.

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