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“Two-in-five Canadians criticize Israel’s military actions in Gaza”

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.

Unreported in the mainstream press, Angus Reid's poll on the slaughter in Gaza[1] is interesting for a number of reasons, some unintended. The slightest scrutiny reveals much deceit.

Previous polls conducted for Canada's 'pro'-Israel lobby inform us that a huge majority of Canadians oppose taking Israel's (or the Palestinians') side in the conflict; 83% prefer neutrality.[2]

It would obviously be awkward to revisit Canadians' desire for neutrality after the their government’s strident display of support for the most recent slaughter in Gaza.

Sensitive to the political winds, Angus Reid gets around this by asking if Canadians support the Harper government's position indirectly:

"Earlier this month, Canadian Junior Foreign Minister Peter Kent declared: 'Hamas bears a terrible responsibility for [Israel's attack] and for the wider deepening humanitarian tragedy. The burden of responsibility is on Hamas to stop its terrorist rocketing of Israel.' Do you agree or disagree with the junior minister's statement?"

Fifty-seven per cent agreed. This gives rise to the poll’s sub-headline, which claims “a majority agrees with Ottawa’s official position that Hamas is greatly responsible for the conflict.”

But the square brackets in Angus Reid’s question are curious.

Speaking to Reuters, Kent was not speaking generally about the conflict or Israel’s ‘Operation Cast Lead’, he was specifically blaming Hamas for Israel's killing of 43 Palestinians outside a UN school in Jabaliya on January 6th.

Admitting he didn't yet know much about the incident, but having internalized Israeli claims (credible or otherwise), Kent declared:

"Hamas's record is to use civilians – the population and civilian infrastructure – as shields and it would seem quite possible that this is yet another tragic instance."[3]

(Not to be outdone, Liberal Party leader Michael Ignatieff eventually weighed in on the incident: “We have to understand that many of the images we see out of Gaza are structured and created and organized by Hamas.”[4])

Despite changing excuses from the Israelis, physical evidence and interviews with several eyewitnesses have since confirmed Palestinians were not firing from near the UN refuge before Israeli shells struck.[5]

Therefore, “…[Israel's attack]…” in the question should have read “…[Israel's killing of 43 Palestinian civilians without even a pretext]…”.

Accurately rendered, one suspects somewhat fewer Canadians would have agreed with their government's shameless apologetics.

[1] Angus Reid Strategies, “Two-in-five Canadians criticize Israel’s military actions in Gaza”, 22 January 2009 .

[2] For selective leaks of these private polls, see Jeff Sallot, “Neutrality on Mideast favoured, polls find”, Globe and Mail, 12 November 2004, p. A15 and Jeffrey Simpson, “Canadians don’t share Ottawa’s pro-Israel tilt”, Globe and Mail, 1 February 2005, p. A17.

[3] David Ljunggren, “Hamas responsible for deadly Gaza attack – Canada”, Reuters, 6 January 2009 .

[4] “Liberal leader weighs in on Gaza”, Canadian Jewish News (North York), 21 January 2009.

[5] Patrick Martin, “Account of Israeli attack doesn't hold up to scrutiny”, Globe and Mail, 29 January 2009, pp. A1ff.

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