Le Devoir Publishes Non-Story Containing Spurious Allegations of IDF Recruitment in Canada
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With everything going on in the world today, from the global pandemic, U.S. elections and the recession, it was surprising to see Le Devoir devote a front-page story on October 19 containing spurious allegations from anti-Israel BDS activists claiming that Israel is carrying out illegal recruitment activities for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in Canada.
Le Devoir reported that 100 university professors, authors, union representatives and Palestinian rights activists had sent a letter of complaint to Justice Minister Lametti on October 19 calling for Israeli diplomats in Canada to be charged. (Le Devoir mentioned it received an advanced copy of the letter, but didn’t reveal who it came from).
The articles, by parliamentary correspondent Marie Vastel, contained accusations that the Israeli Consulate in Toronto acted as a “facilitator of this recruitment” with demands that its employees be prosecuted by Canadian authorities.
The signatories of this letter features a who’s who of notorious anti-Israel activists including philosopher Noam Chomsky and Roger Waters, co-founder of the rock group Pink Floyd.
They claim that by issuing invitations to meet with representatives of the Israel Defense Forces in Canada, that the Israeli Consulate in Toronto conducts recruitment for the country’s army.
What the article buries and which the activists completely ignore, is that Israel claims its well within its legal rights to provide information for its citizens living abroad in Canada, and to dual citizens here as well, about the IDF. Importantly, military service is compulsory for Israeli citizens as the Jewish state has a conscripted army.
The article notes that the Canadian Foreign Enlistment Act prohibits recruiting or inducing a Canadian to enlist “in the armed forces of a foreign state.” Le Devoir does acknowledge that while the Act prohibits all military recruitment in Canada, this doesn’t apply to Israeli citizens in Canada as Israeli officials provide consular services to its own citizenry.
The Consulate of Israel in Quebec responded to these allegations in Le Devoir. Consul General David Levy said that “these consular services that we provide are reserved for Israeli citizens and do not apply to non-Israelis who volunteer for the army.” By giving them access to IDF representatives, the consulate claims it’s providing “these services to help these Israelis avoid complications when they return to Israel.”
Le Devoir’s own article acknowledges that this kind of consular service from a consulate to its citizens is not unusual.
The paper also did a follow story the next day on October 20, reporting that the Trudeau government doesn’t intend to investigate allegations of illegal recruitment by the Israeli Consulate in Toronto for the Israeli military, despite this citizen group’s request to do so.
Le Devoir shamefully devoted prominent coverage to a non-story replete with spurious allegations claiming Israeli government officials in Canada recruited non-Israelis into the IDF, all because anti-Israel activists launched a campaign.
Importantly, these anti-Israel activists seek to malign the reputation of Israeli government officials here in Canada, to obstruct Israeli consular and diplomatic efforts, and to deligitimize and effectively criminalize Israeli consular services to Israeli citizens who are required to serve in the IDF.
These anti-Israel activists seek to not only prosecute Israeli government officials, but also to weaken the capabilities and ranks of the Israel Defense Forces, thereby putting Israel at risk from a security perspective.
Le Devoir’s giving a platform to this anti-Israel campaign was tantamount to journalistic malpractice. Send your considered comments to Le Devoir directly: firstname.lastname@example.org.