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Statement from the Canadian Reform Jewish Community regarding the March 18, 2024, Motion on the Middle East

March 25, 2024

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.

Prime Minister of Canada

Office of the Prime Minister

80 Wellington Street

Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2


Dear Prime Minister and Liberal Caucus Members,


We write to you today representing the Reform Jewish Community of Canada (RJCC), the Association of Reform Zionists of Canada (ARZA Canada), and the Reform Rabbis of Canada (RROC). Collectively, we are feeling betrayed, angry, and afraid. Our 30,000 members here in Canada have been among the unprecedented number of Canadian Jews who have been assaulted and villainized in our cities and universities. Our synagogues and community centres have been barricaded, our neighbourhood streets overrun with hate and vitriol.


Our hearts are truly broken by the death of all civilians, Israeli and Palestinian alike. In this darkest of times, we remain committed to a resolution of the conflict that will ensure Israel's security and allow for Palestinian self-determination and self-governance, understanding that the creation of a Palestinian state will pose serious short-term security threats to Israel that will need to be addressed in any peace accords.


Last Monday’s motion on the Middle East takes us backwards, farther from this future goal. Further, it continues to rip apart the multicultural fabric of our great land for which we had felt pride. Rather than providing a path towards peace, you have imperiled our families in Israel and turned your back on Canada’s strongest ally in the Middle East. You have failed to understand how the brutality of Hamas threatens all Western countries, not just Israel.


Our concerns are many:


●        We are outraged by the announcement from the Government of Canada that it will stop future arms exports to Israel. Israel is currently facing threats from all sides and is the front line in a battle between liberal democracies and Islamic extremism. More than ever, Israel and Western democracies need allies to support them from this threat.

●        While we appreciate the Liberal amendments, the final document continues to reward Hamas for acts of terror, leaving Israelis further unsafe, and opening the door to continued Hamas terrorism around the world.

●        We are concerned that the passage of this motion further emboldens the radicals in our society to continue their demonstrations targeting Israel and Jews alike. Our members feel vulnerable and afraid. Every day, we witness our communities turning into hotbeds of hatred towards Jews.

●        We are concerned about the government’s decisions to reinstate funding to UNRWA. This UN body is anything but unbiased, with its members regularly contributing to hate in the region and fueling terror. The humanitarian need is dire; we need to explore avenues to address the pain on the ground without enabling Hamas terrorists to play on the heartstrings of Canadians while hiding their murderous intentions behind human shields of suffering Gazans. 

●        We are concerned that the principles of sound foreign policy have been abandoned.

●        The process of assembling the motion has painted Israel and the Jewish people as antagonists to world peace rather than painting Hamas as the terrorist organization it is.


Prime Minister, we call on you to reaffirm that Canada will still send non-lethal and defensive military material to Israel as it defends itself against a terrorist enemy and Iranian proxies sworn to destroy it. We also urge you to direct law enforcement to be more proactive in protecting the Canadian Jewish community from threat and intimidation by charging those who traffic in hate speech as defined by Canadian law as “anyone who incites hatred against any identifiable group” to the fullest extent of the law.


We look forward to your response and seek an opportunity to speak about assurances that your government will not abandon Canadian Jews or our ally Israel in its hour of grave danger. We seek a more realistic position from Canada that will promote peace for the region, security for Israelis and Palestinians, and not embolden Hamas to further violence.

The Reform Jewish Community of Canada provides vision and voice to build strong communities that, together, transform the way people connect to Judaism and change the world. Our legacy, reach, leadership, and vision ensure we can unite thousands of years of tradition with modern experience to strengthen Judaism today and for generations to come. More than 30,000 Canadians are affiliated with 25 Reform congregations across Canada who are also members of the North American Reform Movement which has at its core the 850-congregation strong Union of Reform Judaism, or URJ.

ARZA Canada is the Zionist Organization of the Canadian Reform community. With over 8,400 members, ARZA Canada connects with Reform communities throughout Canada, fosters connections with and strengthens our ties to the Reform Movement in Israel, and works to realize the vision of Reform Zionism.

The Reform Rabbis of Canada brings together the spiritual leaders of the Canadian Reform community. The RROC represents Reform Rabbis across the country serving in synagogues, on university campuses, as chaplains in hospitals, as day school educators and more.

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