Canada must pressure Israel to prevent a broader war with Iran: CJPME

Montreal, April 15, 2024Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is alarmed by Canada’s response to the military escalation between Israel and Iran, and is urging the government to do everything it can to prevent the outbreak of a broader war. Following Israel’s airstrike on an Iranian consulate in Syria on April 1, Iran retaliated over the weekend with an air attack on Israel. CJPME warns that Canada’s unconditional support for Israel, continued silence on its aggressions, and its failure to discourage Israel’s provocative attacks, may give the green light to Israel’s far-right government to pursue a catastrophic war with Iran that drags the US and Canada into full-scale confrontation with the Iranian military.

“Canada must be a force for de-escalation and peace, not further bloodshed and empire,” said Michael Bueckert, Vice President of CJPME. “By giving unconditional support to Israel’s use of force, Trudeau is emboldening the hard right elements in Israel, who are eager to drag the US and Canada into a full-scale regional war. At the same time, this confrontation risks drawing attention away from the genocide that Israel is committing in Gaza, and the urgent need for political and economic sanctions on Israel,” said Bueckert.

On April 1, Israel conducted an illegal airstrike on the Iranian consulate building in Damascus, which also damaged the Canadian embassy building next door. The strike killed Iranian generals and 14 other people. According to the UN’s 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, consular property is “inviolable” and must be protected from attacks. The strike was part of a series of Israeli attacks on Iranian-linked targets in Syria. Canada has remained silent about the airstrike, despite its clear breach of UN conventions, the damage to Canadian consular property, the lack of any warning, and the risk it posed to its staff.

On April 13, Iran responded by launching hundreds of drone and missile attacks against Israel, many of which were intercepted. In preparing to retaliate, Israeli ministers are contemplating using this incident as a justification for launching an “unprecedented” military response. Instead of pushing for de-escalation from all parties, however, Canada condemned the Iranian attack without mentioning by provocative Israeli actions that triggered it, while offering full support for Israel and its right to use force.

“While Netanyahu drags the entire region towards a catastrophic war, Canada won’t even speak up when its own embassy is attacked. Instead of pushing back on Israel’s provocative actions, Canada is giving unconditional support to a rogue state,” added Bueckert.

Since early October, CJPME has been calling on Canada to push for a de-escalation and immediate ceasefire in Gaza, and to prevent the possibility of a broader regional war. CJPME has also criticized Canada’s participation in the US-led military operations against the Houthis in the Red Sea, which represents a dangerous military escalation. CJPME urges Canada to do everything it can to force an immediate ceasefire by imposing a comprehensive two-way arms embargo, sanctioning Israeli officials, and holding all parties accountable for violations of international law.

About CJPME – Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is a non-profit and secular organization bringing together men and women of all backgrounds who labour to see justice and peace take root again in the Middle East. Its mission is to empower decision-makers to view all sides with fairness and to promote the equitable and sustainable development of the region.

For more information, please contact Michael Bueckert, VP CJPME, 613-315-7947

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East

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