CJPME Condemns Canada for Failing to Stand Against Genocide

Montreal, January 12, 2024 - Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is outraged by Canada’s refusal to support South Africa’s application to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Israel. Statements issued today by Prime Minister Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Joly state that Canada does not support the “premise” of South Africa's fact-based and compelling case. Tellingly, they are unable to identify any arguments in South Africa’s case that they disagree with. As such, they refuse to address the substance of the case, and retreat to denial.

Let us be clear. South Africa is alleging, with compelling evidence, that Israel’s actions constitute genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza, that Israel’s political and military leaders have expressed genocidal intent, and that provisional measures are necessary to stop Israel’s actions. Disagreeing with the “premise” of such allegations, while failing to disprove any of South Africa’s arguments, is a grave and shocking abdication of Canada’s responsibilities under the Genocide Convention.

No country is exempt from the prohibition on genocide. Canada should have put its full support behind South Africa’s application, which is one of the few remaining mechanisms to obtain a ceasefire and protect Palestinians from genocidal violence.

CJPME is also outraged by Canada’s failure to acknowledge the huge problem of anti-Palestinian racism. While Canada’s statement cites its opposition to Islamophobia, antisemitism, and anti-Arab sentiment, it omits the biggest victims of this conflict: Palestinians, whether those in Gaza, or those facing racism and repression in the West.

We reiterate our appreciation for South Africa in bringing this critical case to the ICJ, and demonstrating what true global leadership looks like. The Trudeau government’s failure to support South Africa will no doubt be a historic embarrassment, with grave humanitarian consequences.