A spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada has joined the chorus of condemnation against Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich for his inflammatory statement against the Palestinian people.
Smotrich was delivering a speech at a conference in France when he made the following statement.
#Israel's Finance Minister & de facto West Bank Ruler says Palestinians are a made-up people demanding made-up rights only as a plot to undermine Israel!
He gets warm applauds in Paris!
Smotrich built his house illegally (under Israeli law) on a privately owned Palestinian land pic.twitter.com/hIJLNGZsKH
— Muhammad Shehada (@muhammadshehad2) March 20, 2023
“Is there a Palestinian history or culture? There is none. There is no such thing as a Palestinian people.”
The ”there are no such things as Palestinians” has been a trope for decades among hardline Israelis. The sentiment is considered one of the more heinous observations made as it denies the history of those who lived inside Israel for centuries before Israel’s creation in 1948.
After the statement, Jordanian MPs voted in favor of a motion to expel the Israeli ambassador.
BREAKING:Jordanian MPs have voted in favor of a motion to expel Israel's ambassador in the country.
This comes in the wake of Israeli finance minister Bezalal Smotrich's remarks about Palestinians while speaking behind a rostrum adorned with a flag of Greater 'Israel'. pic.twitter.com/qooHB5XRFm
— PALESTINE ONLINE 🇵🇸 (@OnlinePalEng) March 22, 2023
The EU and the Americans also condemned the statement.
For many, Smotrich’s words sounded similar to hardline Russian officials who have attempted to use the same argument when defending Russia’s annexation and invasion of Ukraine, claiming there is no such things as a Ukrainian people. Russian hardliners say that Ukrainians are actually Russians and do not recognize Ukraine as a culture separate from Russia.
Many experts say this dehumanizing tactic is a form of cultural genocide.
Statement: CJPME is appalled by @melaniejoly's decision to meet with far-right Israeli foreign minister Eli Cohen. This is her first meeting with Israel's extremist regime. Cohen said last year that Palestinian citizens of Israel can "move to Gaza on a one-way ticket." @CanadaFP pic.twitter.com/JJUYvS8THm
— Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (@CJPME) March 18, 2023
Canada’s Foreign Affairs minister Melanie Joly had a bi-lateral discussion with another controversial Israeli leader last week, Israeli Foreign minister Eli Cohen. Cohen is considered a far-right extremist who last year sponsored a bil to ban Israeli institutions from displaying a Palestinian flag. At the time of the bill, Cohen has said “those who view themselves as Palestinian, by the way, will receive al the assistance they need from us to move to Gaza on a one-way ticket.”
Smotrich is no stranger to inflammatory comments. Weeks ago he stated that the Palestinian town of Huwara should be “wiped out.”