IS and the IDF: Canada’s Double Standard

Oct 14 2014 / 4:37 pm
Canada's first IS casualty. (National Post)
Canada's first IS casualty. (National Post)

By Eric Walberg

Why are IDF members tolerated and even lauded in the West while IS fighters are despised and killed? In what sense is the IDF scenario any less reprehensible than the IS one?

In recent weeks there has been a spate of articles about western youth flocking to Syria and now Iraq to join the IS “caliphate.” An estimated 11,000 such fighters have already made the leap. Up to 130 Canadians have joined them, including Hamiltonian York University student, Mohamud Mohamed Mohamud, a Somalian Canadian, known to his friends and family as sociable and well-adjusted, wearing the latest fashions, listening to pop music and watching teen movies like all the rest of Canada’s multicultural happy family.

In September, Mohamud was declared the first Canadian killed by US-backed Kurdish forces in Syria.

As Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper enthusiastically volunteers Canadian bombers and ground forces – 70 of the proposed 600-member contingent are already there – soon Canadian soldiers will be targeting Canadian jihadists like Mohamud far from home. Few Canadians feel that Canada’s Afghanistan mission, which killed 158 and has left almost 2,000 Canadian soldiers traumatised and wounded, produced anything of value for Afghans. Nor does anyone believe that it contributed to Canada’s security, which is presumably the purpose of armed forces. Now he is eager to repeat this disaster, even as frustrated Canadian youth react by joining the latest jihad against western occupation of the Middle East.

Both Mohamud and Harper’s commitment to multiculturalism is clearly skin deep. Mohamud actually believes that Islam is special, that the West intends to destroy it, and he came to reject western pop culture. For Harper, multiculturalism is the glue that binds Canadians to the US – regulated global market, where countries like Canada have a privileged economic place. He can’t really believe Canada war planes killing Iraqis – and Canadians – will somehow improve the situation in Iraq.

On the contrary, the jingoism generated by fighting a war far from home is a great vote – getter as Harper prepares for the next election in 2015. As in Afghanistan, once the troops are there and dying, “patriotic” Canadians will support them – and those returning in body bags, even though deep down, like Harper, no one believes their sacrifice does anyone any good. Good for Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, who actually called Harper on his latest foreign policy fiasco-in-the-making: “Once again [Harper] relied on rhetoric rather than facts and information. He has no plan, he has not justified his case for going to war in Iraq.”

Youth such as Mohamud are denounced as misguided and naïve. But they are really just responding to the West’s cynical call to overthrow the Syrian government, a decades-old western policy and still the goal of the US government, despite Bashir Assad being the main force resisting IS.

It is hard to believe that behind Mohamud’s angelic face lurks a bloodthirsty head-chopper intent on ethnically cleansing Shiite, Christians and secularists. Yet he is officially a “terrorist,” and the Canadian soldiers already on the ground in Iraq are officially the good guys, now tracking down the Mohamuds and killing them without compunction, to the applause of the western media.

Yes, Mohamud went illegally to a foreign country to fight in an illegal war, as defined by western politicians. Why was he eager to go there, abandoning the safety and economic prosperity his family had achieved for him in Canada? Where were such jihadists even 50 years ago? Why now?

The answer of course is “Israel.” The violent occupation of Arab lands in 1948 was bad enough, but the seizure and rapid colonisation of all of Palestine since 1967 radicalised the Middle East and became a rally cry for jihad by Muslims around the world. The momentum is still building and will keep on building as long as Israel is doing what it’s doing.

Though IS is busy now creating a caliphate where there is the least resistance – Syria and Sunni Iraq, its goal is to oust not only Shiite and Christians, but all Jews from Palestine. From the start, Israel’s actions have been and continue to be “illegal” in light of international law, and they will continue to inspire such jihadists long into the apocalyptic future.

So what about the steady stream of Jewish youth “making Aliyah” (the immigration of Jews from the diaspora to the land of Israel), following almost the same physical journey as the Mohamuds, and like the Mohamuds, picking up guns to fight the enemy? Why can’t they be nice multicultural Canadians, observing their rituals in quiet Canadian suburbs, just as most Canadian Muslims quietly observe their rituals without killing anyone?

Because Jews around the world have the legally recognised option of supporting Israel’s jihad against its Muslim neighbours. Yes, jihad, because Eretz Israel (Greater Israel) is still aggressively expanding, 70 years after it was founded. Israel has no agreed borders, calling itself a “Jewish state,” where Jewish is defined according to racial heritage rather than religious belief (Israel’s founder, Ben Gurion was a self-proclaimed atheist).

Canadians with Jewish ancestry can hop on a plane for Tel Aviv and receive citizenship and an Israeli passport automatically at the border, a privilege which no other Canadian ethnicity enjoys. If you are between 18 and 49, you will also be expected to serve in the army. For some Jewish youth eager for adventure, this is part of the lure if Israel: go there, get a gun and legally kill Arabs “in defence of Israel.” And if the discomforts of life in Israel become too frustrating, book a return flight to Toronto and relax in your quiet suburban home, far from the fighting. No questions asked.

This defies international law, where citizens should have equal rights regardless of race, and a government is expected to negotiate acceptable borders with its neighbours. Yet, unlike IS, Israel and its Canadian armed supporters face no international sanctions.

Why are such youth tolerated and even lauded in the West while the Mohamuds are despised and killed? In what sense is the IDF scenario any less reprehensible than the IS one? Avram is acting much like his jihadist counterpart Mohamud, looking for adventure, for a chance to expand the territories of Greater Israel, just as Mohamud is eager to expand the caliphate.

Who is the real terrorist? The answer is of course “both.” Both are pursuing a war to violently expand their territories in defiance of international law. But western culture lauds Israel and lets Avram literally get away with murder while demonising Mohamud. Avram will now be assisted by Canadian soldiers to kill fellow Canadians like Mohamud.

To fight terrorism, both Mohamud and Avram must be discouraged. In fact, if Israel is made to abide by international law, the Mohamuds would not be duped into joining a dubious campaign which is far from the original Quranic intent of jihad. That brand of terrorism would dry up overnight.

Instead, this steady stream of Aliyah-makers and jihadists will continue, and in both cases the blowback from their violence will eventually visit Canada, bringing battle-hardened killers -Muslims and Jews – back to Canadian soil, some suffering from post-traumatic stress and capable of perpetrating “terrorist” attacks in peaceful Canada. And they will be joined by the thoroughly legal Canadian soldiers, sent to Muslim lands to fight jihadists, only to return to face an uncertain future in Canada, suffering from their own traumas.

– Eric Walberg is a journalist specialising in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. An economics expert he has written widely on East-West relations since the 1980s. He contribtued this article to PalestineChronicle.com. (This article was originally published in Middle East Eye.)

image_pdfimage_print
Posted by on Oct 14 2014 . Filed under Commentary . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 . You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

4 Comments for “IS and the IDF: Canada’s Double Standard”

  1. boaz

    There are a number of inaccuracies with this article – first, the Canadian government is not volunteering ground-forces; they have specifically made comments to the contrary.

    Second, and more important, is that there is no comparison between Isis and Israel. To have an honest and frank discussion on the similarities would require a deliberate suspension of common-sense, and no politician can afford to do that, especially in an election year.

  2. John Swanston

    The double standard is endemic among the Five Eyes Countries. Here in Australia our new laws concerning foreign fighters is clearly focused on folk going to join ISIS but not a whisper about those who go to join IDF and more to the point of this discussion those who were in the iDF “Mowing Gaza”

  3. Kolin Thumbadoo

    Jewish (Zionist) exceptionalism is a practice both in Occupied Palestine and within the five “white Christian eyes” member states best exemplified by racist privilege accorded foreign Zionist combatants fighting for a settler/colonial,expansionist regime and the utter condemnation of equally depraved Jihadists wanting their own fundamentalist State. Hell the Australian government wilfully turns a convenient blind eye to Australian fundamentalist (Zionists) joining agencies like Mossad infamous for extrajudicial murder thereby placing the security of every Australian passport holder at risk. Our sovereignty, national security, economic self interest has been subverted to placate Zionism

    • boaz

      No, your security has not. As per my above comment, there is no logical comparison between ISIS and a standing-army of a recognized, legitimate country, such as Israel. I know that is contrary to what you believe, in the sense of Israel being legitimate, but reality is reality.

Leave a Comment

Please insert the correct number.


The Free Zone | Blog

  • May 27, 2016

    Israeli Minister Resigns in Protest of Lieberman's Appointment as Defense Minister

    An Israeli minister announced his resignation Friday in response to the ultra-right Yisrael Beytenu party joining the government coalition and appointment of right-wing Avigdor Lieberman as defense minister. - Calling Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision to appoint Lieberman as defense minister while expanding his coalition to include the Yisrael Beytenu party “a step that he couldn’t live with,” Minister of... More →
  • May 27, 2016

    Marwan Barghouti Moved to Unknown Location

    Palestinian MP Marwan Barghouti was moved from Israel’s Raymond prison to an unknown location yesterday, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Affairs Committee said. - In a statement the committee said: “Barghouti was transferred to Raymond prison five days ago and the prison administration prevented him from moving between the prison sections and communicating with other detainees as part of the deliberate restriction on... More →
  • May 26, 2016

    Islamic Jihad Accuses PA of Trying to 'Rein in the Intifada'

    The Palestinian Authority has been accused of carrying out “politically-motivated” arrest campaigns against members of the Islamic Jihad, in the occupied West Bank. - Ma’an news agency was told by Islamic Jihad that “a number of our brothers have been recently arrested in the Jenin, Ramallah and Bethlehem districts” by PA security forces. - Islamic Jihad claims that these detentions and summoning of its... More →
  • May 26, 2016

    Detention Extended for Youngest Palestinian Prisoner

    The detention of 12-year-old Muhammad Ismail Hushiyeh has been extended by Israeli courts for a year, according to the head of the Jerusalem Committee for Families of Prisoners, Amjad Abu Asab. - Hushiyeh, the youngest Palestinian prisoner to be held by Israeli authorities was detained in late January for alleged involvement in a stabbing against an Israeli settler after Israeli forces reported he was in possession of... More →
  • May 26, 2016

    British-Palestinian Child Wins Awards for Retelling Nakba Story (VIDEO)

    British-Palestinian Leanne Muhammedhas won the 2015-16 Speak Out Challenge held in London following a moving speech about the Nakba and its effects on Palestinian society. - Leanne, from Al-Burj Al-Shamali refugee camp in Lebanon, is a student at Wanstead High School in London. She joined the Speak Out Challenge giving a speech entitled “Birds not Bombs”. - In it Leanne spoke about the suffering of the Palestinian... More →
$12,000.00
$10,800.00
$9,600.00
$8,400.00
$7,200.00
$6,000.00
$4,800.00
$3,600.00
$2,400.00
$1,200.00
$0.00
Support Palestine Chronicle
Support Palestine Chronicle
"The Palestine Chronicle is a beacon. History, witness, analysis and ways forward are here, written with authority and humanity. Long may it publish." — John Pilger.
Subscribe to Newsletter
Enter your email address to subscribe to our mailing list.
Email:
I Remember My Name
separator
Jerusalem Interrupted: Modernity and Colonial Transformation 1917-present
My Father Was A Freedom Fighter
Disclaimer RSS Feed Contact us Donation Popup
© Copyright 1999-2016 PalestineChronicle.com. All rights reserved
Powered By MediaSeniors