Montreal, December 21, 2022 — With the announcement of the formation of Israel’s 37th government, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is calling on the Canadian government to expel the Israeli ambassador to demonstrate that it is distancing itself from Israel’s new far-right regime. CJPME notes that the coalition led by Prime Minister-elect Benjamin Netanyahu, who enshrined Israel’s deeply racist Nation-State Law and whose plans to annex significant portions of the occupied West Bank remain “on the table,” is propped up by even more extreme, far-right elements. The Religious Zionism party (including Jewish Power), whose leaders have promoted vigilante violence, racial segregation, the annexation of the West Bank and the deportation of “disloyal” Israelis and Palestinians alike, is the third largest party in the Knesset and a major coalition partner. Expelling the Israeli ambassador would send a clear and unambiguous signal that the new government’s stated intentions to violate human rights and international law are completely unacceptable.
“Israel’s new far-right government poses a real and immediate threat to the safety and security of Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line,” said Michael Bueckert, Vice President of CJPME. “Prime Minister Trudeau must expel Israel’s ambassador and prove that Canada doesn’t hold ‘shared values’ with apartheid and a regime of Jewish supremacy,” added Bueckert.
CJPME notes that Israel’s new government has put the lives of Palestinians into the hands of the most extreme far-right and racist figures in Israeli politics. As Israel’s new ‘National Security Minister,’ Jewish Power’s Itamar Ben Gvir will have control over policing agencies which operate in both Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories (OPT), as well as development in the Galilee and the Naqab/Negev where Israel has been seeking to diminish the presence of Palestinian Arab and Bedouin communities. Meanwhile, Religious Zionism’s Bezalel Smotrich has been given unprecedented control over the infrastructure of occupation, putting him in control of policy regarding both Israeli settlers and Palestinians in the West Bank. Israeli human rights groups Yesh Din, Breaking the Silence, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and the Israeli Center for Public Affairs have warned that the signed coalition agreements between Likud and Religious Zionism involve measures that amount to "annexing the West Bank to Israel and strengthening the apartheid regime in the West Bank."
“We must come to terms with the reality that this far-right government is fundamentally a continuation of Israel’s ongoing racist trajectory,” added Bueckert. CJPME notes that the former ‘change’ government led by Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid oversaw the extrajudicial execution of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, the persecution of leading Palestinian civil society organizations, an aggressive and lethal military offensive against Gaza, the rapid expansion of illegal settlements, and an escalation of violence making 2022 among the most deadly years for Palestinians in the West Bank. CJPME argues that any political opposition to the new government in power must also be extended to the underlying structures of domination and oppression which have violated the rights of Palestinians for many decades, which are increasingly understood as apartheid.