March 20, 2024 | Flash Brief

Canada Bans Arms Exports to Israel

March 20, 2024 | Flash Brief

Canada Bans Arms Exports to Israel

Latest Developments

Ottawa plans to halt all arms exports to Israel pursuant to a non-binding parliamentary motion passed on March 19, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly told the Toronto Star. The motion also called for a two-state solution to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. An earlier draft of the motion, spearheaded by a member of the New Democratic Party (NDP), part of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s governing coalition, called on Canada to “officially recognize the State of Palestine.” The NDP and Trudeau’s Liberal party dropped the wording from the motion’s final language in a last-minute compromise.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz criticized the motion, saying on X, “It’s regrettable that the Canadian government is taking a step that undermines Israel’s right to self-defense against Hamas terrorists, who have committed terrible crimes against humanity and against innocent Israeli civilians, including the elderly, women, and children. History will judge Canada’s current action harshly. Israel will continue to fight until Hamas is destroyed and all hostages are returned home.”

Expert Analysis

“Today, Canada’s socialist government attacked a democracy fighting for its life against the brutal Islamic Republic in Iran and its terror militaries. While Israelis are fighting to defend the Jewish state, Canadian Jews are being threatened on Canada’s streets. Canada used to be a beacon of peace, order, and good government defending freedom. Today, Trudeau and his socialist coalition partners are hostile to the values for which Canadians fought and died in defense of democracies.” Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“Ottawa has not fully considered the legal and policy ramifications for its own defense firms by imposing a boycott on Israel — not only for the application of federal and state anti-boycott laws but also for Canadian participation in joint programs. The Defense Department, the Commerce Department, Congress, and state officials all must evaluate Canada’s announcement for potential consequences.” Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

Recent Canadian Military Sales to Israel

Ottawa had previously authorized at least $21 million of military export permits to Israel since October 7 but in January reportedly suspended non-lethal military exports — such as night vision goggles — citing a rapidly evolving situation on the ground. On March 5, the non-profits Canadian Lawyers for International Human Rights and Al-Haq filed a lawsuit against the government for selling military goods and technology to Israel that could allegedly be used to violate human rights. In 2021, Israel designated the Ramallah-based Al-Haq as a terrorist organization, accusing the group of being part of a network of organizations working on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) — a left-wing political party whose military wing has carried out deadly attacks against Israelis. The PFLP is designated as a terrorist organization by Canada, the United States, and the European Union.

How to Ensure Israel Has the Weapons It Needs,” by Bradley Bowman and Richard Goldberg

American NGOs Rally Behind Groups Accused by Israel of Terrorism,” by David May and Jonathan Schanzer


Israel Israel at War Palestinian Politics