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Campaign to stop Israeli military recruitment in Canada gathers pace

December 22, 2020 at 3:27 pm

The Canadian Embassy in Tel Aviv host a party with Canadian lone soldiers in the Israeli Army on 16 January 2020 [Canada in Israel/Twitter]

A campaign to end the illegal recruitment of Canadian citizens by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) has been gathering pace. One hundred and seventy prominent Canadian faith leaders, activists, artists and intellectuals have called on Justice Minister David Lametti to investigate and possibly take legal action “against all those involved in recruiting and encouraging recruiting” in the country for the IDF, according to The Electronic Intifada.

In addition to the Canadian signatories, leftist scholar Noam Chomsky, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, filmmaker Ken Loach, Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire and journalist Chris Hedges have also joined the campaign.

A formal complaint over Israel’s recruitment of soldiers within Canada has been filed by John Philpot, a criminal litigation attorney and international law expert. Such recruitment is “a crime under the criminal code of Canada,” Philpot told The Electronic Intifada. Legal experts say that such recruitment is a violation of Canada’s Foreign Enlistment Act, which prohibits a foreign state from enlisting Canadian citizens into its armed forces.

Despite laws against serving in foreign armies, pro-Israel Canadian Jews have been recruited to serve with Zionist armed forces since as far back as 1947, when Jewish-Zionist militias started to drive half the Palestinian population from their homes at gunpoint in what became known as the Nakba (Catastrophe). Historians have described what happened as “ethnic cleansing”.

READ: ‘Radical’ organisations in Europe recruiting for the Israeli army

The IDF has never shied away from highlighting its foreign recruits, referred to as “lone soldiers”. The Zionist state often boasts about enlisting hundreds of Canadian citizens for its occupation forces, joining other foreigners including some from the US.

There is said to be no record of the number of Canadian citizens recruited to serve in the IDF. Last year, the Israeli Consulate in Toronto said that a representative of its military would be interviewing potential recruits.

The role of the Israeli Embassy in such recruitment has prompted Philpot to call on Lametti to investigate Deborah Lyons, Canada’s Ambassador to Israel. She held a party at the Canadian Embassy in Tel Aviv to honour its citizens serving in the Israeli army.

Nearly 1,500 people are said to have sent letters to Lametti demanding that IDF recruitment should be stopped. Philpot is also reported to have said that schools which promote the enlistment of their students into the IDF could also face charges.