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On October 19, 2020, an open letter signed by Noam Chomsky, Roger Waters, Ken Loach, former MP Jim Manly, as well as poet El Jones and author Yann Martel, and more than 170 Canadians as well as several others, has been delivered to Justice Minister David Lametti asking him to investigate recruitment taking place in Canada for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Alongside the open letter, a formal legal complaint was sent to the justice minister.
It is a crime in Canada to recruit anyone for a foreign military. It is also a crime to aid and abet such recruitment by offering incentives and encouraging any person to serve in a foreign military.
The Foreign Enlistment Act states, “Any person who, within Canada, recruits or otherwise induces any person or body of persons to enlist or to accept any commission or engagement in the armed forces of any foreign state or other armed forces operating in that state is guilty of an offence.”
The only exception would be the recruitment of Israeli citizens who are not Canadian.
On several occasions the Israeli consulate in Toronto has advertised that they have an IDF representative available for personal appointments for those wishing to join the Israeli military. Last November, the Israeli consulate in Toronto announced, “an IDF representative will conduct personal interviews at the Consulate on November 11-14. Young people who wish to enlist in the IDF or anyone who has not fulfilled their obligations according to the Israeli Defense Service Law are invited to meet with him.”
Minister Lametti stated on October 20, 2020 to Le Devoir that diplomats must respect the law and that the police will be responsible for investigation about illegal recruiting by the IDF. In November the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) launched an investigation, and on January 3, 2021 additional evidence was provided to RCMP in regard to illegal military recruiting.
Read some of the other media coverage.
Over 1500 letters expressing concern about the illegal Israeli military recruiting happening in Canada, and over 600 letters have been sent to the RCMP asking for a thorough investigation.
Not only has the consulate advertised that it facilitates enlistment in a foreign military, but it has gone farther and arranged for Israel Defense Forces soldiers and veterans to be present in schools, summer camps and other venues in Canada with the goal of inducing people to enlist.
According to the CBC, 230 Canadians were in the IDF in 2017. It is unclear how many of these individuals were recruited in ways that violate the Foreign Enlistment Act.
At least two Canadians have been shot by Israeli military snipers in recent years including doctor Tarek Loubani as he attended to individuals injured by Israeli military snipers on May 14, 2018.
Welcome! You are invited to join a webinar: No Illegal Israeli Military Recruiting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email about joining the webinar.
Organizers of webinar: Canadian Foreign Policy Institute, Palestinian and Jewish Unity, Just Peace Advocates, War Beyond War