Photo Credit: Nahid V, Andrew Rusk, via Flickr
Roger Waters & Noam Chomsky

An open letter signed by Noam Chomsky, Roger Waters, Ken Loach, former MP Jim Manly, poet El Jones, author Yann Martel, and more than 170 Canadians, was delivered this week to Canadian Justice Minister David Lametti asking him to investigate recruitment taking place in Canada for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

The authors of the open letter also launched a formal legal complaint with the Justice Minister, since it’s a crime in Canada to recruit anyone for a foreign military.

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A website close to the petition and the complaint listed the offenses carried out by Jewish schools in Canada in violation of the country’s Foreign Enlistment Act.

  • Netivot HaTorah Day School last January posted on its Facebook page that its “donut day” initiative raised more than $750 for Gar’in Chayalim, a program that supports IDF lone soldiers.”
  • Bialik Hebrew Day School states on its website: “Tzedakah programs such as Shai Le’chayal help students feel a sense of responsibility to the Israeli community by sending gifts to Israeli soldiers. Similarly, having the opportunity to interact with IDF [entertainment] Band soldiers, who visit to perform for the school, reinforces these feelings.”
  • The Toronto Heschel School invited the IDF Nachal Band to play there last September.
  • Families affiliated with the Leo Baeck Day School hosted Israeli teens for a year before they enlisted in the IDF. When they returned to Israel, they engaged with students over Skype.
  • Leo Baeck students also pay tribute to Israel’s fallen heroes and fundraise for Beit Halochem Canada/Aid to Disabled Veterans of Israel.
  • The IDF Orchestra performed in several Canadian Jewish schools.
  • Leo Baeck’s alumni magazine advertised the Judy Shaviv Memorial Fund “Keren Yad Yehudit” which assists graduates to spend time in Israel in the IDF, in study programs, or as volunteers. The high school celebrates its graduates who have served in the IDF, inviting them to share their experiences with the students.
  • The Israeli Consulate General in Toronto in May 2019 sent IDF Colonel Barak Hiram to speak to high school students, telling them about “being a new recruit and a seasoned commander in the Golani Brigade.”
  • Some of the Jewish high school teachers’ biographies state that they served in the Israeli military.
  • Bnei Akiva honors alumni who served in the IDF on its website.

Sounds like nothing short of those Central African children’s armies doesn’t it…

“The law banning foreign recruitment must be enforced”, said Montreal lawyer John Philpot, a signatory of the open letter and legal opinion. “Canada must pursue the possibility of laying charges on those encouraging people in Canada to enlist in the Israeli military.”

And now, the Nachal entertainment band will perform the militaristic song Neahez beKhol Mishlat (We’ll cling to every outpost). Somebody, please forward it to Chomsky.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.