Edmonton’s mayor stands by his support for both Jewish and Palestinian residents

Edmonton’s mayor received criticism for his statement on Hamas attack on Israel, but stands by his support for both Jewish and Palestinian residents.

Following Hamas attack on Israel, Edmonton’s mayor is receiving criticism for his response to the violence.

Mayor Amarjeet Sohi was one of dozens of Canadian politicians who took to Twitter – or X as it’s now called – after the attack by Hamas.

He wrote “the attacks taking part in Israel and Gaza targeting innocent civilians are horrific.”

The Jewish Federation of Edmonton calling the mayor’s statement disgraceful, and asked for an apology, saying he didn’t go far enough to condemn the violence.

“The mayor’s statement just did not go far enough in condemning it, wholeheartedly and unequivocally,” said Stacey Leavitt-Wright, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Edmonton.

“There’s no neutralist when it comes to condemning terrorist attacks on Israel.”

“Jewish Edmontonians feel really let down right now. They are upset, they are angry, they are saddened. They really feel we had been left adrift in this and really feel there should be a clear stance in this,” Leavitt-Wright added.

Tuesday, Amarjeet Sohi said he stood by his original statement, saying it is not his place to offer opinion, but his job to support all Edmontonians who are impacted by the violence.

“As mayor it is my responsibility to support both communities, and stand with both communities,” said Sohi.

“Over the last number of days, close to 1,600 innocent civilians have lost their lives, both Jewish as well as Palestinian, and their pain is being felt here, in Edmonton, by both communities.”

Since posting his statement on social media, Sohi has received a lot of criticism. But some support too.

“He literally said ‘innocent people.’ He didn’t Hamas, he didn’t say he’s defending terrorism, he said his concern is the innocent people of Israel and the innocent people of Gaza,” explained Mousa Qasqas, spokesperson for Edmonton Palestinian community.

A political scientist says politicians have to be careful and nuanced in how you respond to conflict.

“He’s trying to play both sides, but my suggestion is, you’ve made your statement, it wasn’t strong enough, maybe my advice to him is ‘don’t get in deeper. Let your statement stand as it is.’ It’s a very nuanced, balanced statement,” explained Chaldeans Mensah, Political Scientist at MacEwan University.

“On the surface, it sounds like a very balanced statement saying this is horrific attack on civilians, but realistically, given the nature of these attacks and how unexpected and really innocent civilians were targeted and the barbarity of the attack, I think people on the Israeli side will see that maybe the statement wasn’t strong enough. He didn’t mention this was an act of terrorism.”

The City of Edmonton will light the High Level Bridge blue and white for the next 5 days in solidarity with Israel.

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