Monday, January 20, 2014
The Maple Leaf And The Mogen Dovid - PM Harper Comes To Israel
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is in Israel today on a long-awaited visit to the Holy Land. He and the Canadian government have long been one of the staunchest supporters of Israel in the world, a major change from Canada's stance under the Left wing liberals.
PM Harper first announced the visit at a Jewish National Fund dinner in December, calling Israel “a light of freedom and democracy in what is otherwise a region of darkness” and pledged that the Jewish state “will always have Canada as a friend.”
That will almost certainly be true under Canada's conservative government. PM Harper's press release issued by his office about the trip referred to Israel as the “Jewish State of Israel”, and when a Muslim Brotherhood front, The National Council of Canadian Muslims angrily objected to the inclusion of Toronto Rabbi Daniel Korobkin as part of the Canadian delegation merely because he had spoken at the same event with Pam Geller and Islamic scholar Robert Spencer, Jason MacDonald, the prime minister’s communications director, told them essentially to take a long walk on a short pier:
“We will not take seriously criticism from an organization with documented ties to a terrorist organization such as Hamas,” MacDonald said. “The delegation accompanying the prime minister to the Middle East includes a range of stakeholders from various business, religious and community organizations.”
Rabbi Korobkin, by the way, is the senior rabbi at Beth Avraham Yoseph Congregation, the largest Orthodox congregation in Canada, and is a former regional vice-president of the Rabbinical Council of America.
When PM Harper addressed the Israeli Knesset, his message was crystal clear...that Canada supports Israel because it is both morally and strategically right, denounced 'antri-Zionism' and said that ‘Through fire and water, Canada will stand with you.’
He praised both the Canada-Israel free trade agreement and Canada's security cooperation with Israel.
The full text of his speech can be found here. It is worth reading.
Part of this comes from PM Harper's solid Christian faith, and part of it simply from what he refers to as a Canadian tradition, "to do something for no reason other than it is right even when no immediate reward for, or threat to, ourselves is evident."
And on top of that, he remains balanced, committed to the establishment of a Palestinian state, but as he put it, “I believe, we share with Israel a sincere hope that the Palestinian people and their leaders… will choose a viable, democratic, Palestinian state, committed to living peacefully alongside the Jewish state of Israel.
“As you, Prime Minister [Netanyahu], have said, when Palestinians make peace with Israel, Israel will not be the last country to welcome a Palestinian state as a new member of the United Nations — it will be the first.
“Sadly, we have yet to reach that point.
“But, when that day comes, and come it must, I can tell you that Israel may be the first to welcome a sovereign Palestinian state, but Canada will be right behind you."
PM Harper received a standing ovation from Israeli PM Netanyahu and the entire Knesset..except for the Arab members, who briefly heckled the speech and then walked out.
In visiting Ramallah and speaking with the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, he likewise urged him to make peace with what he called 'the Jewish State of Israel', something Abbas has said repeatedly he will never do. Therein, of course, lies the problem.
But there's no doubt that the relationship between Israel and Canada is strong and will become st4ronger, to the benefit of both nations.