Canadian diplomat gets caught lying about Israel arms sales

Woman in face mask stands in front of Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock

Canadian diplomat Robin Wettlaufer lies about her country’s arms supplies to Israel. (via Twitter)

Canada’s diplomatic representative to the Palestinian Authority lied to me on Twitter then blocked me when I called her out.

In a response to one of my tweets, Robin Wettlaufer claimed that I was spreading “disinformation” about the extent of her government’s support for Israel.

She then asserted that “we neither arm nor fund Israel.”

But the only disinformation was coming from her – as statistics from the Canadian government itself demonstrate.

In 2019, according to the foreign ministry in Ottawa, Canada exported 13.7 million Canadian dollars ($10.6 million) worth of weapons to Israel.

In 2020, Canadian arms exports to Israel surged to almost 19 million Canadian dollars ($15 million).

Ottawa also approved more arms export licenses to Israel that year than to any other country except the United States.

According to the Canadian foreign ministry, the weapons exported to Israel going back years include such items as ammunition, bombs, torpedoes and missiles. We may never know precisely how many Palestinians have been killed by such Canadian weapons.

The Canadian arms sales to Israel that Wettlaufer claims don’t exist, have even become a political issue.

In May, while Israel was bombarding Gaza and annihilating entire families, the NDP, one of Canada’s main political parties, called for a halt to arms sales to Israel.

Indeed, many Canadians have long been campaigning for such an embargo.

But when I pointed out the facts about Canada’s arms sales to Wettlaufer, she proceeded to block me. So much for the “democracy” and “transparency” Canada purports to promote around the world.

Although Wettlaufer blocked me, other social media users, including Canadian organizations, made sure her lie would not pass quietly.

Some noted that Canadian taxpayers effectively subsidize Israel’s crimes against Palestinians because settler groups and organizations supporting the Israeli military are able to raise tax-deductible “charitable” donations in Canada.

One Twitter user suggested that Wettlaufer change her Twitter handle from “alkanadiyya” – the Canadian – to “alkathiba” – the Liar.

It is unclear to me why Wettlaufer thinks she can get away with a lie so easily disproved.

Perhaps she is unused to having journalists question Canada’s self-image as a benign force promoting human rights, instead of what it is: one settler colony built on genocide, standing shoulder to shoulder with another.

This article has been updated since initial publication.

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Why does she feel the need to deny? What's wrong with selling arms to Israel or providing aid? The USA does it wholesale. Isn't the truth that the denial is an implicit admission that Israel is a rogue regime? Why else would she need to lie so egregiously? There is self-deception at work too: she is not only deceiving the world, but herself. A feeble attempt to boost the pretentions of her country to democracy and human rights. Worldwide, there has been for at least forty years a concerted attempt to undermine democracy. In Trump's case, to destroy it. The people who attacked the Capitol on 6th January were responding to his lies. Had they murdered a few Democrats, he would have displayed clean hands and denied all responsibility. Canada wallows in the warm bath of its delusion that it is a liberal State, while supporting a world order which serves the rich and powerful. Here's the "cognitive dissonance" and hence her astonishing denial. All the powerful capitalist economies are afraid of democracy because it is a threat to billionaires. Weapons to regimes which uphold the rights of the rich and keep alive the racism on which the imperialism which made them rich was built is the default position. She has been forced to block the truth. Reminiscent of the laughable Angela Rayner who, when Corbyn said claims of anti-Semitism were exaggerated, responded: "It's true, but unacceptable." That's the essential stance of the powerful. To us, only the truth is acceptable. The truth is Israel's racism is buttressed by the US, the EU, Canada and others. Despicable. BDS is the correct tactic. No succour for racists. Universal equal rights. No compromise on those fundamental principles.

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As expected, Wettlaufer deleted her preposterous lie- one of them, at any rate. In compensation, her recent Twitter activity includes copious praise directed at the PA and its election procedures, along with a retweet to an article aimed at rescuing those arch-rescuers the White Helmets and somehow reclaiming the reputation of their disgraced founder/embezzler/career spook James Le Mesurier. Oh, and there's a Christmas tree photo from a square in Ramallah, which given the Canadian context seems oddly colonial in character.

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Canada's duplicity, white supremacy, capitalist, colonialism is on full display in the ignorant comments of Ms Wettlaufer! While militarized RCMP remove unarmed, peaceful, female water and land protectors at gunpoint from their lands and burn their buildings while also arresting journalists filming and documenting these atrocities. Our government shamefully supports a brutal Apartheid regime engaged in ethnic cleansing and occupation! Let's keep the illusion alive that Canadians are peacekeepers with only the purist of intentions! Canadians need to wake up to the reality that we are duped by our leaders and are merely a satellite of American Empire and have no independent foreign policy. Nor is their one party leader truly willing to courageously speak against Israeli Apartheid calling it what it is, they all fear the Zionist lobby which has nothing to do with authentic Judaism a religion of universal values and nonviolence. Let us all work together to oppose racism and oppression in all its forms but let's first start at home by electing truth tellers to government instead of stooges who support the power structures of domination worldwide!

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Ali Abunimah

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.