Not Canada, not ever, not as long as this government is in power, not as long as this prime minister remains head of this country. How long will that be? Prime Minister Stephen Harper has won the hearts and minds of Canadian Jews by his heartfelt endorsation of Israel's right of existence. Not that other governments of Canada previous to his haven't done the same. But there's something about words that aren't backed up by deeds that tend to make them lack credence.
In the instance of this particular prime minister, and this particular Conservative-led government of Canada, deeds actually presaged the words. We saw a turn-about in the actions of Canada's representative to the United Nations, not only in condemning outright the usual slanderous accusations that emanate from various committees of the United Nations, but standing four-square with Israel and her handful of supporters against the Israel-phobic cabal that usually cater to her Arab and Muslim opponents.
At a celebration held in Toronto, for Israel's 60th anniversary as an independent country, Prime Minister Stephen Harper spoke with great clarity and unequivocal understanding of the perilous position Israel finds herself in, historically to the present day. "Our government believes that those who threaten Israel also threaten Canada because as the last world war showed, hate-fuelled bigotry against some is ultimately a threat to us all, and must be resisted wherever it may lurk."
He spoke of the present, just as, during the Second World War which brought European Jewry to the brink of extinction, Pastor Martin Neimoller made his grave and succinct estimation of the manner in which the world disowned the plight of the Jews under the Nazis, making no secret of his own responsibility as a man of the Church to rage against the black night descending upon Europe's Jews:
First they came for the JewsIn an earlier interview Mr. Harper stated, "I guess my fear is what I see happening in some circles is [an] anti-Israeli sentiment, really just as a thinly disguised veil for good old fashioned anti-Semitism, which I think is completely unacceptable." During the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war Mr. Harper unequivocally supported Israel's right to self-defence, and accounted her actions as being "proportionate" in nature. Bringing down howls of condemnation from Liberal Members of Parliament.
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.
All of whom clamoured to be heard denouncing the Prime Minister's rashly unbalanced words of support for Israel, claiming that Canada's historical "even-handedness" in approaching the conflict was being undermined by the Prime Minister's approach. And when Mr. Harper outright accused some Liberal MPs of encouraging anti-Semitism during the summer of 2006, he was blistered by the outrage of the Liberal Party functionaries.
Some of whom did more than encourage anti-Semitism by their blighted statements about the Israel-Lebanon [Hezbollah] conflict that summer. Michael Ignatieff, an aspirant to the Liberal leadership and ultimately the prime ministership, made very public statements equating Israel's defensive incursion into Lebanon as committing a war crime against civilians. Breaching international laws and conventions of war-time activities.
While blissfully ignoring the obvious, that Hezbollah terrorists deliberately hid behind civilians, launching attacks in their midst, and with the distinct purpose of tantalizing Israel to respond, willingly sacrificing Lebanese civilians so they could later denounce Israel as a murderer of innocent women and children. And during that conflict Hezbollah displayed its talent for public relations ploys, staging outrageously horrendous events as Israeli atrocities.
Mr. Ignatieff has attempted to make amends, but he's twisted between his demands that Israel be more noble and moral than her attackers, and condemning Israel when she reacts as she must, to protect herself and her population. And then there's another Liberal, Denis Coderre, who saw nothing amiss in marching in solidarity with Palestinians, other Arabs and their supporters, in Montreal, during that same conflict.
As a neutral Member of Parliament, supporting neither Hezbollah/Lebanon, nor Israel, but rather, echoing the Liberal party line, in favour of human rights and entitlements of freedom and security for all, Mr. Coderre evidently did not notice the Hezbollah flags boldly held aloft in that same solidarity march, replete with banners condemning Israeli murderers of Lebanese civilians.
So when Prime Minister Harper's Conservative government's ambassador to the United Nations walks out of a UN Human Rights assembly whose purpose is to condemn human rights abuses in one sole country of the world, as yet another obvious anti-Semitic, Israel-phobic tactic in the world body, he is placing Canada's moral objection to that travesty on record.
And when votes come up regularly in various United Nations committees which, year after year, have agreed to condemn the heartless occupation by Israel of the Palestinians. And in the process name Israel as the world's single-most-egregious corrupter of human rights, equating Zionism with racial discrimination, painting Israel as being engaged in ethnic cleansing and having an Apartheid agenda, the Government of Canada no longer supports those risibly immoral votes, unlike its Liberal predecessors.
"All of my life, Israel has been a symbol - a symbol of the triumph of hope and faith", said Mr. Harper. Following the cataclysmic upheaval of the second of the world wars, when the world was inundated with homeless refugees, he said, humanity required a symbol of renewal and the Jewish people's determination to outlive their tormentors gave inspiration to a war-weary world, by finding "the way home".
"Israel blossomed into one of the most successful countries on Earth; a land of ingenuity and enterprise, an oasis of agricultural genius, a well-spring of fine art and high sculpture, a model of democracy", he explained. "Israel is truly the 'miracle in the desert'.
Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister. You've made this Canadian proud.
Labels: Canada, Realities, Values