Israel’s embassy claims Ottawa downgraded security, despite threats


The Embassy of Israel in Ottawa says it feels susceptible to violence after practically three years of pushing Global Affairs Canada to extend its safety.

It is exceptionally uncommon for embassies and consulates to go public with issues about their safety, however the Israeli Embassy supplied two senior officers for an interview on the topic.

The interviews got on the situation the 2 officers not be named by The Canadian Press, as a result of workers concern hostility directed on the diplomatic mission might goal particular person staff.

The officers mentioned the RCMP downgraded safety for the Israeli head of mission shortly after Nimrod Barkan, the previous ambassador of Israel to Canada, retired in November 2019.

The RCMP wouldn’t verify any particulars, however the embassy mentioned the pressure stopped offering what’s known as a VIP Protection Detail, which entails round the clock safety of an envoy as they transfer between the embassy and official residence.

Israel didn’t appoint an envoy because the COVID-19 pandemic unfold, leaving a chargé d’affaires to guide the embassy whereas Ottawa was among the many most closed-down capitals on the planet.

When Israel’s present ambassador to Canada, Ronen Hoffman, started his time period in December 2021, Israeli Embassy officers requested for him to have the identical safety as his predecessor.

The embassy says the protocol workplace at Global Affairs Canada rebuffed that request in formal diplomatic notes, as did the RCMP in a single assembly.

The officers mentioned they tried in useless to request a gathering to type out the difficulty with the protocol workplace and RCMP.

In a press release, the RCMP wrote that “it will not be applicable to reveal particular particulars” of discussions with any embassy.

“The RCMP’s Protective Operations (department) is continually assessing and adapting its safety and protecting posture. This is completed in a way that’s based mostly on present and evolving menace and threat environments,” reads the assertion, which was not attributed to a selected spokesperson.

Global Affairs Canada deferred to that RCMP assertion.

Embassy receives threats

The Israeli Embassy is positioned in an workplace tower three streets south of Parliament Hill. Its suite quantity solely seems on some pages of its web site, and the ground is not listed on the workplace tower’s listing display screen.

The embassy shared social media postings of activists who oppose Israeli insurance policies towards Palestinians, during which they present flooring maps of the embassy’s location and photographs of its hallway.

The workers additionally shared what they mentioned was a current voice mail, during which an unidentified voice says, “We will kill you wherever you might be; we’ll get you.”

The unidentified officers famous an increase in antisemitic occasions, documented by the Jewish advocacy group B’nai Brith Canada.

In April, that group reported a stark bounce in anti-Jewish incidents, from 9 in 2020 to 75 in 2021, together with beatings, vandalism of synagogues and swastikas in colleges.

The Embassy of Israel mentioned it now has the identical stage of safety as most diplomatic missions within the National Capital Region.

That quantities to police driving previous the constructing that homes the embassy at random intervals, in line with current protocol chiefs who oversaw safety for embassies in Canada.

An RCMP officer sits in her car exterior the Embassy of France in Ottawa on Nov. 14, 2015. The Israeli Embassy in Ottawa says it now has the identical stage of safety as different embassies, which quantities to police driving previous the constructing that homes the embassy at random intervals, in line with current protocol chiefs who oversaw safety for embassies in Canada. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Officials at Global Affairs Canada additionally maintain common calls with all embassies in Ottawa and Gatineau, which embrace touching base on any safety issues or coming occasions which will result in giant protests.

The division additionally gathers intelligence and receives updates from the 2 municipalities on permits for demonstrations exterior embassies.

Global Affairs Canada sends that info together with ideas when the division feels a diplomatic mission would possibly benefit extra safety, for particular days and even for everlasting, round the clock surveillance.

The RCMP liaises with CSIS, and makes the ultimate name on how a lot safety the Mounties supply.

Under the 1961 Vienna Convention, international locations incur obligations to guard diplomats once they formally settle for ambassadors from overseas states.

But that responsibility is as much as interpretation, and it is uncommon for Canada to supply round the clock safety to embassies, former protocol chiefs mentioned, in recognition that Ottawa is rather a lot safer than many capitals.

The Israeli Embassy workers mentioned that on this local weather, they do not really feel secure since no one of their delegation can immediately react to threats.

The embassy has some safety officers and has thought-about hiring non-public guards, however neither have jurisdiction to demand identification from people who find themselves performing suspicious or lingering exterior the embassy.

The officers mentioned the embassy has pleasant relations with Canada, and that they’re attempting to withstand invoking diplomatic immunity to have workers go exterior their jurisdiction, comparable to by attempting to determine folks.

Last month, Moscow summoned Canada’s ambassador over frustrations with Ottawa’s dealing with of safety issues at their embassy.

The delegation posted security-camera footage that seems to point out a Molotov cocktail being thrown over the fence within the early hours of Sept. 12, and claimed the RCMP weren’t taking the difficulty severely sufficient.

The Russian Embassy additionally alleged Ottawa police regarded on when demonstrators at a rally for Ukraine allegedly blocked entry to consular service on Sept. 8.

Ottawa has mentioned it is reviewing these incidents, with neither police pressure entering into specifics.


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