People around the world are openly questioning Israel’s commitment to democracy. Right-wing Israeli ministers make blatantly racist remarks about Palestinians. Human rights organizations have published detailed analyses of Israel’s apartheid policies against Palestinians. Yet the Global Affairs readout on the March 16 meeting between Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly and her Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen made it sound like a meeting of friends in prosperous times, cooing about “shared values.” In fact, Joly should have refused this meeting, as Cohen is little different from his right-wing cabinet colleagues. Last year, for example, he suggested that Palestinian citizens of Israel who disagree with Israeli laws could “move to Gaza on a one-way ticket.” Hopefully, Joly doesn’t take the same attitude toward people who disagree with her government. It’s time for Canada to question Israel’s democratic character. It’s time to forcefully condemn Israel’s illegal settlements in Palestinian territory. It’s time to denounce Israel’s apartheid policies. It’s time to withhold trade benefits and arms from Israel until it respects international legal norms. It is time for Canada to stop providing cover for Israel and its dubious rights record and right-wing ideologies. Events of recent weeks make clear that Canada can no longer pretend that Israel is a liberal western democracy. “Business as usual” with the current Israeli government is no longer an option. Thomas Woodley President, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East Saint-Laurent, Que.