A group of top Israeli researchers and physicians denounced Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday for repeatedly comparing a group of protesters in Ottawa to Nazis.

Nearly two dozen professors and experts wrote a letter to the prime minister on Friday, denouncing his comments toward the protesters and members of Canada’s opposition Conservative Party. The group also hit Trudeau over his refusal to lighten “draconian” COVID-19 restrictions in light of the protests. The letter says:

As many other countries since the outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, Canadians have been subjected to draconian restrictions placed on their basic freedoms, such as lockdowns, forced quarantines, mask mandates, school closures and more recently, vaccine mandates.

Leaders all over the world have begun to realize that these measures carry enormous harms, with little or no benefit. Others double-down on their previous position, denying the evidence and aggravating the damage done to their nation’s livelihood and fundamental liberties.

In recent weeks, we have been following the news about the Freedom Convoy 2022 protests that have taken place in Canada in response to these measures. We witnessed, with mounting concern, how instead of a constructive dialogue with the protesters, you adopted a smear campaign portraying protesters as ‘Nazi sympathizers’, ‘racist’ and ‘antisemitic.’ The last incident was your allegation on February 16 that a Jewish member of the Conservative Party was “standing with people who wore Swastikas.”

We, an apolitical group of Jewish Israeli medical scientists, physicians, researchers, and legal scholars, some of us second or third generation Holocaust survivors, are deeply concerned by your attempt to stigmatize the Freedom Convoy 2022 protesters as Nazi ideology supporters. The important fight against antisemitism should not be weaponized and directed at a legitimate civil protest which aims at restoring fundamental liberties, to what used to be, until not long ago, one of the freest countries in the world.

 On Wednesday, Trudeau accused Conservative Party members of standing “with people who wave swastikas” while responding to criticism by Conservative MP Melissa Lantsman, who is Jewish.

“Mr. Speaker, Conservative Party members can stand with people who wave swastikas. They can stand with people who wave the Confederate flag. We will choose to stand with Canadians who deserve to be able to get to their jobs, to be able to get their lives back. These illegal protests need to stop and they will, Mr. Speaker,” Trudeau said after Lantsman questioned him over comments he made in 2015 about the need for government “to trust Canadians.”

Lantsman later demanded an apology from Trudeau. “I think the Prime Minister should think long and hard about his own history before singling out a Jewish Member of Parliament and falsely accusing me of standing with a Swastika. What a disgraceful statement unbecoming of anyone in public office – he owes me an apology,” she posted on Twitter.

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