Last week, Canada became the most recent industrialized country to officially commemorate the Holocaust by dedicating its first National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa. However, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s unveiling of the monument also unveiled the glaring omission of any mention of Jews, anti-Semitism or the 6 million Jews who were murdered in the genocide.
A Holocaust memorial that neglects to mention Jews? How vacuous do you have to be to mess that up?
The plaque originally commemorated the “millions of men, women and children murdered during the Holocaust,” without specifically mentioning Jews or any other minority targeted by Nazi Germany, or the survivors who made it to Canada “after one of the darkest chapters in history,” failing to note how Canada’s Liberal government at the time turned away more than 900 Jews fleeing for their lives.
As leader of Canada’s Liberal Party today, it would seem that Mr. Trudeau is trying his best to live up to the legacy of his predecessors.
Though the plaque has been taken down and will be replaced due to the backlash it provoked, this is indicative of a disturbing trend by the Canadian prime minister. Mr. Trudeau seems intent on erasing Jews from the Holocaust. In 2016, his original statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day did not even mention Jews or anti-Semitism.
Although the monument takes the form of the Star of David, this can hardly be credited to Mr. Trudeau. The building itself was commissioned under the leadership of former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. In stark contrast to Mr. Trudeau, Mr. Harper always made a point of recognizing Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
Is it any wonder that given Mr. Trudeau’s appalling behavior, Canada has seen an unprecedented increase in Holocaust denial? According to B’nai B’rith Canada, Holocaust denial comprised a mere 5 percent of the total number of anti-Semitic incidents in 2015. In 2016, that number soared to 20 percent. Canadian Jews disproportionately make up the single most targeted group for hate crimes in the country despite comprising less than 1 percent of the population, with 1,728 reported incidents in 2016 alone.
On university campuses across Canada, especially over the last several years, Holocaust denial is becoming increasingly more hostile. At Ryerson University, an attempt to discuss instituting “Holocaust Education Week” was met with a staged walkout. Jewish students in attendance called the incident an act of blatant anti-Semitism and “one step away from denial” of the Nazi genocide.
At the University of Calgary, about a dozen posters questioning whether 6 million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust were displayed around the campus. At the University of Lethbridge, a tenured professor calls for “open debate” on the Holocaust, while blaming the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on Israel.
Notorious neo-Nazi Ken O’Keefe delivered a series of lectures rife with anti-Semitic conspiracy theories at the University of Toronto and Concordia University in Montreal. Among Mr. O’Keefe’s statements: “Jews run the media.” “The Jews control everything.” “[Jews] run the courts and the banks.” Mr. O’Keefe also accused Jews of assassinating President John F. Kennedy and claimed Hitler was being unfairly maligned.
Mr. Trudeau’s propensity for omission is not only making Canada unsafe for Jews. It also makes the country more vulnerable to terrorist attacks. When a Somali migrant with an ISIS flag stabbed a police officer in Edmonton, injuring four more pedestrians with a U-Haul truck, Mr. Trudeau’s official statement said absolutely nothing about ISIS or Islamic terror. Even more outrageous, no terror-related charges will be brought against the man who committed these heinous attacks.
But should this really surprise anyone? Mr. Trudeau’s generosity toward Islamic terrorists is boundless. This is best exemplified when he defended his government’s payout of $8.4 million to convicted al Qaeda terrorist Omar Khadr. Quite a payoff for someone who assembled improvised explosive devices that killed and maimed American and Canadian troops in Afghanistan, as well as tossing a grenade that killed U.S. Army Sgt. Christopher Speer.
Whether Mr. Trudeau simply forgot to mention the Jewish victims of the Holocaust in his statement, or purposely omitted this fact, it is indicative of mind-numbing incompetence. Mr. Trudeau has allowed anti-Jewish bigotry and Holocaust denial in Canada to skyrocket under his reign, while his historical revisionism provides fuel for bigots and radicals to flourish within the country.
• Bradley Martin is a senior fellow with the news and public policy group Haym Salomon Center and deputy editor for the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.