MONTREAL — Federal cabinet minister Jason Kenney says he supports Israel’s right to use military force when attacked by terrorists.
Federation CJA president Marc Gold, left, greets federal cabinet minister Jason Kenney, as Quebec Jewish Congress president Adam Atlas looks on.
At a recent press conference at Federation CJA, he said defending itself was the “responsible thing for Israel to do” when Hezbollah and Hamas, which he described as “explicitly anti-Semitic,” launched missiles against Israeli civilians.
“Hezbollah and Hamas seem to be addicted to violence,” he said. “It seems to be a way of life.”
In response to questions from Stefan Christoff, an activist with the anti-Israel group Tadamon, Kenney said his government “can’t comment on every single tactical position in response to provocative attacks, and we regret the tragic deaths of citizens, whether Canadian or foreign, but that does not change the fact that Hezbollah and Hamas are motivated by a profound anti-Semitism.”
Kenney said that rather than securing peace after its 2005 withdrawal from Gaza, Israel was hit with thousands of rockets aimed at its civilians.
“Sovereign states have the right and responsibility to protect their citizens from terrorist attacks,” he said.
Christoff, who said he was representing the alternative weekly paper Hour, is a member of Tadamon, which actively promotes the removal of Hezbollah from Canada’s terrorist list and the boycott of Israel.
He wanted to know if Canada regretted the deaths of civilians in the conflicts with Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006 and Hamas in Gaza in late 2008. Christoff noted that eight members of a family of Lebanese origin visiting from Montreal were killed in an Israeli air raid in the earlier conflict.
Christoff also wanted to know if the killing of 1,300 Palestinians in Gaza represented “a measured response” by Israel, quoting Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s comment in 2006 about Israel’s operations against Hezbollah.
Kenney said the Canadian government remains committed to the Palestinian-Israel peace process and a two-state solution.
Kenney, the minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism, had called the press conference to announce funding totaling $223,000 to 10 Jewish institutions to improve their security.