Shocking Statements from CIJA’s Israel Office Director on Gaza

Montreal, January 12, 2023 Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is once again calling on the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) to publicly denounce the potentially genocidal remarks of their Israeli Office Director, David M. Weinberg. As Israel attempts to defend itself against genocide charges at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), CJPME is appalled by Weinberg’s public commentary which advocates for the Israeli military to reduce Gaza to rubble and calls into question whether there are any innocent civilians in Gaza. CJPME insists that CIJA clarify that they reject and condemn these positions.

“CIJA must condemn their senior director’s heinous advocacy for Israel to conduct its war unrestrained by international law or concern for civilian casualties,” said Michael Bueckert, Vice President of CJPME. “CIJA’s director is advocating for blatantly illegal actions in Gaza which reflect the genocide charges that Israel faces today at the ICJ,” added Bueckert.

To a Canadian audience, CIJA has falsely claimed that “Israel’s efforts to minimize civilian casualties while eliminating Hamas go well beyond those required by international law.” On the contrary, South Africa’s ICJ case demonstrates that Israel’s actions on the ground and statements from Israeli leaders are indicative of genocidal intent. Moreover, CIJA’s claims about Israeli conduct are contradicted by its director who in writing for an Israeli audience has repeatedly advocated for the opposite positions.

CIJA’s Israel Office Director Mr. Weinberg is a regular op-ed contributor to the Israeli press, where he has repeatedly advocated for Israel to commit war crimes as part of its war of elimination in Gaza. For example, CIJA’s director:

  • Argues that Israel’s actions should not be constrained by “international humanitarian law” and “laws of war,” writing: “shattered is the notion that these much ballyhooed but tendentious frameworks can any longer be allowed to tie Israel’s hands behind its back when the IDF goes on the offensive.”
  • Argues that Israel’s actions should not be restrained to minimize damage, writing “no more sporadic tiptoeing through the tulips with insanely meticulous surgical strikes.” Among Israel’s “legitimate” goals, he writes, is “to reduce Gaza neighborhoods from which Hamas operated to rubble (as a matter of principle and not just for military advantage – and no, this is not a war crime).”
  • Argues for abandoning humanitarian concerns and international law: “humanitarian concerns, both for the one hundred or so Israeli civilians still held hostage by Hamas and for the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians held hostage by Hamas, must be relegated to the sidelines. It is not easy or nice to say so, but concern for the hostages (– and yes, Palestinians in Gaza are brutally kept captive by Hamas in every way) cannot dominate Israeli decision-making.” He explains that this “means that Israel cannot tie itself into knots trying to satisfy every unfair, outrageous, so-called international humanitarian law regulation that was made-up especially for, and is applied only to, Israel – precisely, maliciously to neuter Israel’s military.
  • Questions the idea that there are innocent Palestinian civilians (in a war in which 70% of the casualties in Gaza are said to be women and children), writing: “Gaza’s ‘civilian’ population actively abetted Hamas in plotting against Israel, and thousands of ‘everyday’ Palestinians … carried-out the worst atrocities of the [October 7] assault […] The ‘uninvolved’ danced like dervishes around the trucks that hauled away the abducted men, women, and children of Kibbutz Beeri, crying ‘death to the Jews’ and helping Hamas hide them. ‘Uninvolved’ mothers proclaim they are proud to send their children into battle to turn them into shahids (martyrs). And ‘uninvolved’ teachers teach the children of Gaza that it’s a religious obligation and heroic task to kill Jews. The ‘uninvolved’ have helped Hamas hide its rocket launchers and other weaponry too. This does not mean that Israel can or should target every Palestinian household in Gaza. Not at all. But it does mean that the soft sentiments meant to prettify a lot of nasty Palestinians; to completely tie Israel’s hands behind its back in wartime; and to weaken Western resolve in backing Israel – are out of whack.
  • Writes that Israel’s approach should not be proportionate (a key aspect of international law) but that Israel “must and will apply disproportionate force to eliminate the enemy. Iran, Hamas, and their sycophants in Europe will throw the International Criminal Court at Israel, but so be it. Damn those biased, hypocritical international lawyers and judges who know only to criminalize Israel.”
  • Argues against any restrictions on Israel’s use of force in Gaza, writing: “Israel cannot tolerate ceasefires along the way – no truces, no armistices, no fallbacks, no restrictions on its use of (overwhelming and simultaneously precise) force – until total victory is achieved.” He further writes that Israel’s military objective “means and requires application of maximum, maximum, maximum military force against Hamas in every hideaway corner and under every school, mosque, and UNRWA facility in which Hamas terrorists are rottenly taking sanctuary. Without letup, without forbearance. With cold, calculated, crushing military force. With all tools at Israel’s disposal, as swiftly as possible, and without unnecessarily exposing Israeli troops to death and injury.”
  • Argues against future hostage release deals until Gaza is on the brink of “oblivion”: “At this point, the only additional hostage release deal that Israel should consider is a deal for the release of all Israeli hostages in one fell swoop, a deal that can and will come about only when Hamas is under the fiercest and most crushing weight of IDF attack. Only when Sinwar and his henchmen are truly on the brink of elimination and Gaza is about to be pulverized into oblivion for eternityonly when Israel truly threatens real “humanitarian disaster” in Gaza – might Hamas be willing to make a grand deal.
  • Supports Israel in cutting off water, fuel, and humanitarian goods to Gaza, writing that Israel must “terminate any responsibility for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip until Hamas is eliminated.”

“These horrifying statements do not point to a concern for minimizing civilian casualties or a respect for international law, but the exact opposite: CIJA’s director in Israel is advocating for the total abandonment of these concepts in support of unrestrained war of elimination in Gaza,” said Bueckert.

CIJA’s website lists Weinberg as a media spokesperson and states that he “maintains CIJA’s extensive set of contacts in Israeli decision-making circles.” CJPME previously called on CIJA to denounce his remarks in April of last year, pointing to a series of op-eds in which Weinberg called on Israel’s far-right government to “retake control” of Al-Aqsa/Temple Mount, expel the family members of Palestinian “terrorists,” and compared the bombing of Gaza to “mowing your front lawn” while likening Palestinians to “weeds” and “snakes.” CJPME expresses serious concern that CIJA has failed to condemn their director’s extremist positions, while giving a platform to a conference speaker who has shared images depicting Palestinians as cockroaches.