Mr. Trudeau, after Israel’s election on November 1, do you still think Canada and Israel have “shared values”?

Prime Minister Trudeau rarely misses an occasion to talk about how Canada and Israel have “shared values”. But the most recent Israeli election, in which more than 80% of Israelis voted for parties espousing Jewish supremacy, including extreme racist parties, challenges that assertion. Is it time for Mr. Trudeau to drop that language and face the reality that Israel is a state in which the majority of the population holds views very different from those held by most Canadians? Read more….

CTIP was in Israel/Palestine for three weeks from October 27 to November 14 after 3 years of covid-imposed absence. This is the first in a series of 3 articles on our observations. It deals with Israel’s recent election, which took place during our visit. As we watched the election campaign and Israeli coverage of it, we reflected on its implications for Canadian policy.

The significance of the recent Israeli election for Canada is much deeper than the return of Benjamin Netanyahu. It sheds a light on what Israelis really think and they values they really hold.

Jewish Israelis across the political spectrum overwhelmingly showed support for parties that espouse what Amnesty International has labelled “Jewish supremacy” over the whole of what was once Palestine. (Tellingly, the Amnesty International allegation was not even discussed during the election.(

Over 90 out of 120 members in the parliament represent right wing Zionist parties. The “liberal Zionist” Meretz party, descendant of Israel’s founding political party, was wiped out. And the “Arab” parties, as they’re referred to, will once again be shut out of the governing coalition – as they have been for 72 of Israel’s 74-year history.

And Mr. Netanyahu is far from the most right wing member of the Knesset. His coalition. includes open racists like Bezalel Smotrich known for his homophobic, ultra-nationalist and religiously bigoted statements (he said that he was “a proud homophobe”) and Itamar Ben-Gvir of the Jewish Power Party, a convicted Jewish terrorist who is a disciple of the convicted Jewish terrorist rabbi Meir Kahane. 

Young Israelis flocked to vote for Itamar Ben-Gvir, a convicted Jewish terrorist

Even on the other side of the aisle, Netanyahu’s opposition has its own racists. It includes former General Benny Gantz, whose election video a couple years ago featured him boasting of having killed 4000 “terrorists” in Gaza and Naftali Bennett, formerly of the New Right party, whose government oversaw an unprecedented peak of house demolitions.

Do Canadians and Israelis really have shared values?

All this must be awkward for Mr. Trudeau who seems determined to ignore the slow but incessant evolution of Israeli society into a right wing racist culture. In his recent congratulations to Mr. Netanyahu on his election, Trudeau again referred to our our “shared commitment to upholding democratic values”.

While Trudeau remains blind to the rightward drift of Israeli politics, even people like New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, a longtime supporter of Israel, have yielded to the evidence.

“The Israel we knew has gone”, he lamented in a recent opinion piece. “The coalition that Likud leader Bibi Netanyahu leads is (…) a rowdy alliance of ultra-Orthodox leaders and ultranationalist politicians, including some outright racist, anti-Arab Jewish extremists once deemed completely outside the norms and boundaries of Israeli politics.”, he wrote.

Friedman is a liberal Zionist. One of those who hoped Israel would be a light to the world. He expresses shock and disappointment at these elected right wing politicians, but skips over the fact that they were elected by millions of Israeli voters.

“The most surprising thing about the Israeli elections is the surprise and “disappointment” expressed by liberal Zionists, in Israel and abroad.“, notes longtime Israeli activist Jeff Halper. “How could this happen?” Shock at “the most right-wing government in Israel’s history.” As if anything has really changed except that Israelis no longer feel the need to dress up their settler regime in liberal, “democratic” terms.”

Time to stop pretending

Palestinians have been saying for a long time that Israel is a colonial state built on the expropriation of their lands. The recent election has made it clear that Israel is not the romantic dream once imagined by many Jewish Canadians.

Isn’t it time for Prime Minister Trudeau to stop pretending that Canada and Israel share the values of democracy, human rights and equality, when Israeli society has just massively indicated that they hold no such values?


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

18 comments

  1. I’m not sure of this gradual right wing drift. The situation is more overt now than it used to be. That is actually a good thing in the long run because there will be no room to hide behind flimsy fluff like shared values. Israel has been violently right wing for many decades. Did Golda or Begin have shared values? Sharon?

    I’m not going to go on a rant about that as many nations have a sordid past including Canada. I just dont see a drift. Just as trump has mainstreamed violent white supremacy so has something mainstreamed the violent racism Israel. Who knows but i’m betting the impunity for their war crimes and crimes against humanity.

  2. This is journalism malpractice or deliberate misinformation. Your message has some merit but by distorting the fact deliberately you demonstrate either ignorance or attempt to deceit.
    80% of Israelis did NOT vote for extreme right parties. The right does not have 90 out of 120 Knesset seats. Please offer a correction or stop sending propaganda.

    1. Mr/Ms Zohar, thanks for your comment.
      Most Canadians would think that anyone who is explicitly racist, and openly holds that one group of people is “better” than another (based on religion, or colour, or ethnicity, etc. ) belongs in the “racist, extreme right” category. It may be that your definition of what is “extreme right” is quite different from what Canadians would define that way.

      Please check out the results listed by Ha’aretz. https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/elections/2022-11-03/ty-article/israel-election-final-results-netanyahu-jewish-far-right-win-power-fiasco-for-left/00000184-3e80-daf1-abc4-7f9a53f40000

      1. Edit of previous post. Please use this one and delete the earlier one:

        Peter, in response to Alis Zohar you wrote “Most Canadians would think that anyone who is explicitly racist, and openly holds that one group of people is “better” than another (based on religion, or colour, or ethnicity, etc. ) belongs in the “racist, extreme right” category. ”

        I would certainly count myself among Canadians who would agree with this statement. Where you have it wrong, in my opinion is in claiming that 90 out of 120 MKs in the new Knesset fall into that category. While I share Thomas Friedman’s dismay at the increased power of right wing religious parties in the new government and the possible inclusion of Itamar Ben Gvir who has been convicted of inciting violence against Israel’s Arab minority, it is inaccurate to characterize the Likud, which will dominate the government, as racist or Jewish Supremacist.

        I’m no fan of Benjamin Netanyahu and would have preferred a government led by Yair Lapid. However, the Likud is a democratic party similar in its politics to the Canadian Conservatives or the American Republicans. The National Unity party, led by Benny Gantz is more centrist.

        On questions of national security, there is indeed broad agreement within the Israeli population that the police and armed forces must act to defend Israel’s people when they come under attack. Policies which you decry as racist are in fact driven by the ongoing state of war between armed Palestinians groups dedicated to Israel’s destruction, and the armed forces of the State of Israel, of which Benny Gantz was at one time Chief of Staff.

        When Benny Gantz says he eliminated 4000 terrorists he is calling attention to the time when he was Chief of staff and led Israel’s defense forces in facing down periodic outbreaks of violence against Israel’s people initiated by these armed groups. That doesn’t make him a racist or a Jewish supremacist.

        When Jonathan Friedman says the Israel we have known is gone, he is referring to the increased power of religious parties and the diminished power of secular Israelis. He is also concerned, as am I, about proposed changes to the role of the Supreme Court which has been an important protector of the rights of Israeli minorities, including its Arab citizens, and also an important check on the activities of the Israeli military to ensure that while performing its role of protecting Israel’s people, it continues to act within the bounds of Israeli and international law.

        While I am dismayed by the possibility that extremists will be included in the next Israeli government, the party of Ben Gvir is a watered down verion of Kahanism (still bad!) in the way that the party that just won the Italian election is a watered down version of Fascism (also still bad!), which is unfortunately part of the political landscape in a number of countries at the moment.

        Canada too, has such people in our politics and while they don’t reflect my values, Israel is not so different from Canada as you suggest in your piece. So, yes, Canada and Israel continue to have shared values, including the importance of democratic elections and the protection of the rights of all citizens.

        Israel differs from Canada in its circumstances as Canadians, (thank God!) do not have to cope with frequent politically motivated violence from armed terrorists who reject the legitimacy of the Canadian state. When Palestinian Arabs cease to murder Israelis and try to achieve their political ends at the negotiating table without the use of force, Israel will be more like Canada in this way as well. I pray that the coming year, which marks the 75th anniversary of Israeli independence will also bring an end to the 100 year war against the Jews of Palestine and the beginning of reconciliation which will lead to peace and a Palestinians State in the territories captured in the 1967 war.

    2. Mr. Larson. Believe me that I am just as concerned as you are with the rise of the extreme right in Israel especially if Gvir and Smodrich demands for key cabinet like Defense and Internal Security are met. As well as the proposed anti democratic legislation. However your information is misleading incorrect and deliberate. There was only 1% difference in the popular vote between the Centre Left and Right and
      Extreme Right. No party or block in Israel has ever or can ever command 90 seats in the Knesset. I just came back from Israel where I went to vote in person for the Centre Left block. Your ringing the alarm is justified but misleading readers with false information is a journalism malpractice. I lecture on Israeli politics and the Middle East but I do it with integrity.

      1. Hey Amnonz,
        Thank you for your comment.

        I did not say that there is a 90 seat block in the Knesset. I said that over 90 of the elected members of the new Knesset would be considered racist in Canada.

        Since you lecture on Israeli politics perhaps you can help us understand:
        How many Knesset members (either individually or through their party) would disagree with the notion that “only Jews have the right to self-determination” in Israel/Palestine as stated in the Nation State law?
        How many would disagree with the notion of Jewish supremacy from the river to the sea?
        How many would stand up for equality of all citizens of Israel, Jewish or not, to live where they want to?

        Thank you.

      2. I’m sorry amnonz but it’s extremely difficult to take you as a serious person. Maybe i’m wrong. While i disagree with almost everything you said i won’t waste anyone’s time arguing. Your positions don’t deserve it.

        Just show evidence, preferably proof actually, that he is being deliberately misleading.

        Btw i garnered great amusement at your claim that you lecture on Israeli politics and the middle east but you do it with integrity.

        How wonderful to get a objective judgement of yourself from you.

        As an atheist let me say “God bless”.

        I’m sure your mother loved youm

  3. As it’s outlined in your article, there should not be a surprise as “what happened”.
    Gideon Levy in a recent, talking to leftists in Israel (by extrapolation to all leftists). What did you think going to happen, not really standing up to the occupation, for the last 50 years. The occupation is main reason of corrupting the souls of the people.

    I can add that these are the results of the consecutive Israeli governments policies, together with the army, of lies, propaganda and brain washing of the people, which is going on for about 100 years. All done in slow motion, resulting in a supremacist, nationalistic and hateful society against the Palestinians, including ramifications in the world. All done for the ultimate goal of taking over more land.

  4. Of course I believe Israel and Canada have shared values you anti semite you. Canada and Israel don’t kill Canadians and Israelis on a daily basis the way Palestinian terrorists kill ISRAELIS and Jews.You have never to my knowledge condemned Palestinian killings of Jews and Israelis. That makes you an anti semite because you praise anything Palestinian and condemn anything Israeli and Jewish. You are the most prejudiced person I know. The Halocaust is of no interest to you. I’m sorry I ever had anything to do with you.you would not know truth if it was staring you in the face. I am not happy with the outcome of the Israeli elections, but Israelis don’t reward Palestinian terrorists for killing Jews and Israelis the way the Palestinian government does.you are one of a kind and your prejudices surprise me since you are neither Jewish, Israeli or Palestinian. Some Jew(s)and or Israeli(s) must have turned you into the racist you are. Or maybe you are just jealous of them.

    1. Thank you Mr. Ehrenworth,
      The article was about how values accepted as normal by Canadians (equality, human rights, etc.) are not accepted as normal by Israeli society when it comes to the Palestinians – either those under occupation or those who are citizens of Israel.

      Whether you like me or not is not really a part of the discussion.

      Please answer these questions:
      How many Israelis (either individually or through their party) disagree with the notion that “only Jews have the right to self-determination” in Israel/Palestine as stated in the Nation State law?
      How many would disagree with the notion of Jewish supremacy from the river to the sea?
      How many would stand up for equality of all citizens of Israel, Jewish or not, to live where they want to?

      I know that some Israelis would do so. But its a tiny (but very brave) minority, I’m afraid.

    2. Mr. Ehrenworth, Have you considered starting a blog called CTPL (Canada Talks Peter Larson? Your contribution above seems to belong there. You are not discussing the topic of this blog – how to make Israel/Palestine better for all of the people who live there or would like to return. Your thoughts on that issue would interest me.

  5. Peter,
    This is nothing new. Israel and Canada have NEVER had shared values. That’s just a phrase that politicians use to hide the real reason for the things that they do. Politicians use words very freely; for example. they call a country a “democracy” in spite of the fact that it denies the vote to many who live in areas that are completely under their control and does not practice social equality. I have often been tempted to send some MPs a dictionary but I know that they would never use it.

  6. Peter Larson is an anti semite and doesn’t believe Israel has a right to exist. But Israel does exist and will continue to exist in spite of your hatred of it and in spite of the fact that it has made a terrific contribution to mankind. Not bad. The nation of Jews is only 13,000,000 in the world. In 1939, there were 18,000,000. What happened to the rest including 100s of my relatives. Too bad Hitler wasn’t 100% successful, eh Larson.

    1. Hey Mr. Ehrenworth, I don’t hate Jews and I don’t even hate you.
      I know that more than 6 million Jews were killed by European Christians in the Holocaust, including some of your relatives, and find that repulsive and horrifying. To imply that i applaud it is a calumny. I also agree that Jews have made many contributions to mankind. All of that does not negate what the State of Israel is currentlyl doing to Palestinians, in the name of Jews and Judaism.

  7. I agree with Dr. Parnas that politicians like Trudeau would say anything to justify their agenda.

    As a Palestinian-Canadian whose parents were expelled from their home in Palestine in 1948, I feel obliged to remind some readers about basic facts:

    – British occupation of historic Palestine (1917 – 1948) enabled a settler-colonial state called Israel after expelling 3/4 of the Palestinian people from their homeland. This includes my family who still lives in exile.

    – This ethnic cleansing is still going on as we speak. Here is one evidence: Amnesty international said in its report below: ” Israeli authorities must be held accountable for committing the crime of apartheid against Palestinians”.

    https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2022/02/israels-apartheid-against-palestinians-a-cruel-system-of-domination-and-a-crime-against-humanity/

    – Israel denies Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homes, it forces a brutal siege against people in Gaza since 2007, its military continues to occupy and expand settlements all over the place. This should end and can not be justified under any condition as Amnesty and some Israeli human rights organizations explained:

    https://www.btselem.org/

    – According to international law, Palestinians have the right to defend themselves. The UN General Assembly passed a resolution asserting: “the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, including armed struggle.”

    https://www.un.org/unispal/document/auto-insert-184801/

    Personally, I hope that we will be able to end the Israeli apartheid system using popular resistance that includes Palestinians and Jews. I have many Jewish friends here in Canada and I am proud of their leadership roles to defend justice and equality in Palestine and the world. We can work together when we liberate ourselves from fear and treat each other as equals.

  8. Timely article. It should not come as a surprise however, that Israeli politics has become tainted by extremist views. It has no choice but to do any and everything to promote Jewish dominance in Israel. The use of the term Jewish state is very different from homeland of the Jewish people. A Jewish state must first and foremost promote Jewish culture, religion, history etc and to differentiate Jews from non Jews. It necessitates that Jews and non Jews cannot be equal or the term loses meaning. For most of its history, Jewish “supremacy” has been held in check by more mainstream secular politicians. The inclusion of the Kahanist leaning members of the Knesset is bad for arabs, secular Jews and ultimately Israeli relations with the rest of the world.
    This swing towards fascism is a worldwide issue and has been drifting this way since the end of the Cold War when nationalism began to express itself. Nationalism ultimately transforms into more extreme behaviour and ends as fascism.
    I cannot accept the proposition that Israel behaves as it does because of innate Arab hostility. This is a vast oversimplification of the politics and psychology of occupation, including the legitimate right of all people under occupation to resist their occupiers. Many years of peace negotiations have included incrementally more recognition of the Jewish character of Israel from “”recognition “ to “recognition of its right to exist “ to right to exist as a Jewish homeland and finally recognizing a Jewish state. This attitude requires the Palestinians to accept the legitimacy of their dispossession, a demand made of no other indigenous peoples. At each stage, the rights of the citizens under occupation have been reduced and the methods to enhance the Jewish character of Israel more extreme and violent.
    As regards sharing values, yes, superficially we do. Different political parties with different views, minority voting rights, etc. but there are many laws in Israel that discriminate against the Arab population, the most glaring example being the “marriage “law in which a Jewish person can live anywhere and marry anyone but if a Palestinian from the West Bank or gaza marries an Arab citizen of Israel,they cannot live in Israel. There are village councils that decide the ethnic makeup of a community, home demolitions, administrative detention without charge, interrogation and incarceration of children, and extrajudicial killings of Palestinians by the IDF, security forces, and border police are all behaviours that are intolerable in Canada. It’s time for the Canadian government to display our values by concrete acts, not anaemic press releases and biased support for one side to the detriment of the other. Failure to live by our actions will only extend the suffering of both Israelis and Palestinians.

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