October 12, 2023 By The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — An Air Canada pilot who the airline says made “unacceptable posts” about Israel after deadly attacks on that country over the weekend no longer works there.
On Tuesday afternoon, the group StopAntisemitism.org shared Instagram posts allegedly made by the man, whom it identified as a pilot at the carrier.
The posts allegedly depict the man wearing Palestinian colours — overtop his flight uniform in one photo — holding signs reading “Isr*el Hitler is proud of you” and showing an Israeli flag dumped in a garbage can above the caption, “Keep the world clean.”
On Saturday, the militant group Hamas launched surprise incursions across the Israeli border from Gaza, killing civilians and precipitating a widening conflict that has already claimed more than 2,200 lives.
By Wednesday, Israel had ramped up its retaliation against Hamas and launched more missiles at the Gaza Strip, where fears of a humanitarian disaster mounted as the bombardment levelled neighbourhoods and a siege of the sealed-off coastal area blocked electricity, food, water and fuel deliveries.
Another alleged post by the pilot promoting a pro-Palestinian protest in Montreal on Sunday included an expletive against Israel and condemned it to “Burn in hell.”
In a post Tuesday on X, formerly known as Twitter, Air Canada said the flight officer had been taken out of service the day before, when it became aware of “the unacceptable posts made by an Air Canada pilot.”
In an update Wednesday the airline said the pilot in question no longer works for Air Canada, “following the process initiated on Monday.”
The Canadian Press is not naming the man after being unable to reach him to verify the content of the posts. His Instagram and LinkedIn accounts appear to have been deleted.
The Air Line Pilots Association, which represents more than 5,000 aviators at Air Canada, said it is aware of the situation.
“We condemn all violence and hatred, and any promotion thereof. It is our firm expectation that all of our members abide by this principle and our professional code of ethics,” the union’s Air Canada contingent said in an emailed statement.