How Canada can support a path towards peace

As a newly retired psychiatrist who practiced for almost thirty years, I learned a framework for helping people make decisions in complex situations. One must use history to understand the present, but not define the way forward. The therapist must recognize defences, such as projection. A patient’s values must be clarified, to create a path that reflects them.


Israel, a land populated by Jews for over 3000 years, welcomed traumatized Jewish refugees from the Middle East, the Holocaust, the 1941 Farhud massacre in Iraq, and pogroms. Modern Israel was formed in 1948, when the British mandate was broken up into Jewish and Arab states, Israel and Transjordan. Both Jews and Arabs suffered due to mass migration and violence. The dispossession of 700,000 Palestinians during the Nakba is well known, but often forgotten is the 800,000 Jews evicted from their Middle Eastern homes. During both the 1948 War of Independence and the 6 Day War in 1968, Israel gained land, after it was attacked by surrounding Arab countries.

The Oslo Accords, where Israel offered to cede 96% of the lands claimed by Palestinians in exchange for peace, resulted in the Second Intifada. Suicide bombers murdered over 1000 Israelis. Understanding that Islamist terrorists meant what they said and would not rest until every Jew was exterminated, Israel created the much decried fence and checkpoints, hoping for existential security.

Recognizing the cost of occupation, Israeli president Ariel Sharon unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005. Two years later, Hamas won the vote in Gaza and violently murdered all of its Palestinian opposition, vowing to destroy Israel.

The West Bank is ruled by the Palestinian Authority. Its leader is a corrupt, Holocaust denying octogenarian serving the 19th year of a four year term, clinging to power and hundreds of millions of dollars he amassed while in office.

On October 7, 2023 Hamas attacked Israeli civilians in their homes and at a music festival, torturing, raping and murdering over 1200 while taking 253 hostage. 133 remain in the tunnels of Gaza.

Recognize Projections

Hamas, a violent repressive theocracy, funded by the Muslim brotherhood and Iran, dreams of a multicontinental Islamist caliphate, free of Jews, Christians and all LGBTQ people. Hamas and its fellow Islamist terror groups are guilty of genocide, colonialism, murder of Palestinians, use of human shields and theft of humanitarian aid. Hamas’ propaganda, as reflected on our campuses and the UN, has been extremely successful in projecting its crimes onto Israel and having the world accept those lies.

The Path Forward

  1. Define your values and priorities. 

Canada, as a western, liberal democracy, should direct aid to people and organizations that share similar goals of equality and freedom from oppression. Israel is the only western democracy in the Middle East. Israel has a diverse population with religious freedom. It has been highly successful, valuing life, community, hard work, research and education. It should be an easy decision to support Israel over Hamas.

  1. Recognize that Israel must destroy genocidal enemies.

No peace can be achieved without sufficiently disarming the Iranian-backed terror groups which oppress Palestinians. Israel must be allowed to protect its democracy.

  1. Support a viable alternative leadership.

Netanyahu is hated in Israel because October 7 happened on his watch. He mistakenly believed that allowing funding to Hamas would keep Israel safe by weakening the prospect of a Palestinian state possessing a terrorist army. This was a catastrophic error. Moderate, peace loving Palestinians must be found, supported, funded, and protected to offer an alternative to Hamas. Once Hamas has been sufficiently degraded, and no longer threatens its opposition, Canada must support a viable alternative to fill the power vacuum.

  1. Stop funding impediments to peace and sanction those who support terror. 

Stop giving billions in aid to UNRWA. It not only teaches hatred, but is entirely enmeshed with Hamas. It was complicit in the October 7 massacre. Canadians may respect the idea of the UN, but it cannot be relied upon to keep the peace. It has proven itself to be irretrievably biased against Israel. UNFIL has been in Lebanon for 15 years, ostensibly to keep it free of arms. Under their watch, Hezbollah has amassed 150,000 rockets aimed at Israel.

Declare the IRGC a terrorist entity. Outlaw all organizations in the west that fund and support terror, such as the Hamas supported and supporting Students for Justice in Palestine.

Support the sanctions against Jewish terrorists until Israel starts properly prosecuting all of them.

  1. Recognize that both Jews and Palestinians have a claim to the land and a right to self-determination.

Peace is not imminent. This will be a nasty divorce with a no man’s land to keep Israel safe. In East Jerusalem, Israeli and Palestinian homes exist side by side. There, a peacekeeping force will be necessary. Peace is a difficult long-term goal that may take generations, but it is possible if all western countries agree to support our shared values. We have no other choice.

Cynthia Lazar, MD, FRCPC

About the Author
Dr. Cynthia Lazar graduated from University of Toronto medical school in 1985 pursuing internal medicine and an HIV primary care practice. She later pursued psychiatry and had a 30 year career in her second field. She is the founder of Paul Penna Downtown Jewish Day School. The daughter of a Holocaust survivor, she is interested in fighting antisemitism in North America.
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