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B.C. political parties denounce Hamas in legislature

All parties in provincial legislature denounced Hamas attacks on Israel
Premier David Eby Monday (Oct. 16) denounced the attacks by Hamas on Israel as well as several cases of anti-Semitism in British Columbia (Screencap).

Premier David Eby denounced the recent attacks in Israel and Gaza as the legislature held a moment of reflection this week.

“We will stand up and hold together, and with one voice we will say no to this hate,” Eby said. “There is no place for antisemitism in B.C. There is no place for any form of hatred in B.C. No one should feel unsafe in our province because of who they are, what God they worship, or who they love.”

Leaders from all four official parties gathered on Monday, each denouncing the attacks by Hamas on Israel, while condemning attacks on the Jewish community and its institutions in B.C.

Eby said it is not often that the legislature can speak with one voice, “but I believe that today is one of those days.”

“There can be no justification for the brutality and terror Hamas visited on innocent victims. None. For our friends, family and neighbours in B.C.’s Jewish community, this is an incredibly frightening time.”

He continued to criticize the acts by Hamas, which Canada officially classifies as a terrorist organization.

“They are advocates for genocide,” Eby said. “Anyone who attempts to contradict this basic truth should rightfully be denounced in this place and everywhere. But let’s be clear about something else. Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people, not in Gaza, not in the West Bank. They don’t represent our Palestinian friends and neighbours living here in British Columbia.”

He added that Palestinians in British Columbia who want peace are very worried about family members back home.

“Hundreds are being killed in military airstrikes, many of them innocent civilians, women and children,” Eby said. “Hundreds of thousands more are cut off from basic services. As we speak, over a million Palestinian civilians have been ordered to leave their homes in northern Gaza. It’s a humanitarian catastrophe.”

He added Lebanese people and Syrians living in B.C. are also worried about the impact of this war on the broader region.

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“We can all unite around a common value: that innocent civilians must be protected and that human life is precious.”

Eby acknowledged that the provincial legislature has only so much influence on global events, while denouncing recent cases of anti-Semitism, such as the vandalization of a synagogue in Surrey, as well as the uttering of threats against two Jewish women in Vancouver. Both incidents are under investigation.

He said the Hamas attacks in Israel, which started on Oct. 7, have brought back memories of the past.

“It brings back the stories generations of Jewish families have told their kids about Russian attacks against Jews in the 19th and early 20th centuries, of Nazi death squads going house to house indiscriminately killing every Jewish person they could find. Members of the Jewish community are asking a dreadful question: what happened to ‘Never Again’”?

Ben Mizrachi, a 22-year-old from Vancouver, was among the victims killed when Hamas attacked a music festival. Eby called Mizrachi a “true hero” for using his training as a medic to help others.

BC United MLA Michael Lee, whose riding of Vancouver-Langara includes the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver, also praised Mizrachi, who attended school in the riding. Lee condemned the attacks and those who celebrated them.

Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau and Conservative Party of BC House Leader Bruce Banman also spoke out against the attacks by Hamas.

“The targeting of civilians and the taking of hostages violates fundamental principles of international law and represents a shocking violation of the norms and rules by which we live,” Furstenau said. “I echo the call made by the member for Vancouver-Langara that Hamas release all hostages immediately.”

Furstenau added that “acts of hate and anti-Semitism against Jewish people here in B.C. cannot and must not be tolerated” in echoing earlier comments.

“I acknowledge, too, the growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the impact on Palestinian citizens,” she said. “Withholding of food, water, health care and other essential supplies is contrary to both moral justice and international law…and I urge governments to work together to ensure that Gaza has access to essential resources and to focus on the diplomatic solutions that can bring an end to the escalation of violence.”

Banman noted that he believes “in Israel’s right to exist and its right to defend itself. Now more than ever, it is clear that the Jewish people must have the ability to control their own destiny. Every single death of an innocent human being, regardless of their colour or creed, is a profound tragedy.”


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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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