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January 29, 2014

Harper takes the Circus to Israel

Reuel S. Amdur

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The first thing to note about Stephen Harper's trip to Israel is the make-up of the entourage: who was included and who not. And, incidentally, who is paying?

You will be paying.  Much of the cost will be picked up by the Canadian taxpayer.  Julius Suraski is one of the 208 in this modest gathering.  He is part of the Jewish Defense League (JDL) and is active in promoting extreme right-wingers like Pamela Geller and other Islamophobes.  The JDL has been involved in terrorist activities, including the murder of Christian Arab-American activist Alex Odeh.  JDL activists implicated in the killing fled to Israel. 

Tory Parliamentarians proliferated, with six cabinet members, two or three Senators, and a number of seated MP’s.  Harper did not bring any members of the Opposition.  Both Jewish and gentile businessmen and lawyers were on board along with a bevy of 21 rabbis.  One would be surprised if any rabbi attending is not staunchly pro-Israel.  Various Jewish organizations other than the JDL were also included.

Christian clergy were there.  One Catholic priest, Raymond J. de Souza, who writes for the National Post, was joined by a number of Evangelical Protestants.  It appears that there were no Anglican, Orthodox, or United Church clergy.  And, not surprisingly, no imams.

The Palestinian portion of the population of Israel is roughly equivalent to the French-Canadian portion of Canada.  Let us just for the moment imagine a Canada controlled by a virulently anti-French government.  A foreign country puts together a massive diplomatic visit to Canada to express support for that government.  In that visiting delegation, there would likely be no one who spoke French, certainly no one who identified with French.  A variety of clergy would be included, mainly Protestant of the virulent anti-Catholic Ian Paisley stripe, no Catholics.  Ideologues outspoken on the evils of the French as a people and of everything French would be actively included.  Now translate all that mythical example into Arabic.  It is no longer a myth.

Settlements are a key issue in the Israel-Palestine controversy.  The Canadian government website states, “The settlements also constitute a serious obstacle to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace.”  When asked about the settlement issue, Harper replied, “Any attempt to have me, while present in the Middle East, single out the state of Israel for criticism, I will not do.”  Canada still remains opposed to the settlements.  Very still. 

In his speech to the Knesset, Harper echoed the current official Zionist screed: Opposition to Israel is the new anti-Semitism.  He referred to “intellectualized organizations on some campuses.”  Let us take the second issue first.  This is an obvious reference to the Israel Apartheid Weeks.  He does not deal with any of the context of the presentations at these weeks, satisfying himself with a hit-and-run slander.  As for the “new anti-Semitism”, this Zionist clap-trap in fact facilitates real anti-Semitism.  It gives the real anti-Semitites the cover of respectability, joining them with such other supposed anti-Semites as Bishop Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, and Jimmy Carter.

The “new anti-Semitism” is a Zionist slogan used to intimidate anyone who chooses to criticize Israel.  Yes, they say that Israel can legitimately be criticized, just like any other country, but just try and see the garbage that will be dumped on you. 

“Canada finds it horrible,” Harper told the Knesset, “that there are those in the international community who challenge Israel’s legitimate right to exist.”  Did the Soviet Union have a right to exist?  Czechoslovakia?  Yugoslavia? What is so special about Israel?  Certainly the cross-cultural fellowship promoted in Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia was far more worthy of admiration that what has become an oppressive and aggressive Jewish Israel, with its put-upon Palestinian minority.  Through most of history Jews have been tragic victims.  Is it now their turn to victimize others?

Of course, Harper had something for the Palestinian Authority, $66 million added to $30 million announced last year, money to be available over three to five years.  This contribution replaces $300 million over five years which has expired. 

So what was this delegation all about?  Aside from the faith issue for Evangelicals like Harper and a number of his invited guests, it is good politics in a few ridings with heavy Jewish populations. Arabs and Muslims in Canada are not very well organized politically.

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On July 7, 2024 in Toronto, Canada, Dimitri Lascaris delivered a speech on the right to resist oppression.

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