The Canadian government will “continue to follow the case very closely.” Those were the words of Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly in response to The ICJ’s preliminary findings in South Africa’s genocide case against Israel. She does not mention of the fact that court’s preliminary orders indicate that charges of genocide against Israel are not, as Liberal MP Anthony Housefather puts it, “baseless.” Nor does she indicate any move to withdraw Canada’s support of Israel, or even make it contingent on Israel even pretending to comply with the court’s order that it prevent acts of genocide, acts such as murdering three palestinians in Gaza less than a day after being ordered to prevent such acts.
Compare this to the decision to pause funding of UNRWA—the UN agency responsible for providing relief to Palestinian refugees—following allegations by the Israeli government that UNRWA employees participated in the events of October 7th. For it’s part, UNRWA immediately fired three staff members and initiated an investigation. But instead of offering platitudes about watching the process closely, Minister of International Development Ahmed Hussen, immediately paused funding for UNRWA.
So, in one case, we have a legitimate international court saying that, upon hearing arguments for and against, there is a prima facie plausible case against the State of Israel on the charge of genocide, and Canada adopts a wait-and-see approach, even as Israel appears to be ignoring the court. While in another case, we have mere allegations against employees of a UN agency, and Canada’s response is immediate action against the UN agency, even as the agency appears to be taking these allegations very seriously.
The double standard couldn’t be more plain.