By David Weinberg, Israel Hayom
Under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen J. Harper, who will visit Israel in 10 days’ time, Canada has emerged as Israel’s staunchest ally in the world.
Yet many observers dismiss Canada as a bit player on the international scene, and write off the relevance of Canada’s interventions on behalf of Israel.
They could not be more wrong.
The record shows that Canada’s support for Israel is comprehensive, concrete and weighty. It is frequently a step ahead of the rest of the world, setting a principled, pro-Israel precedent and example. It is of significant, often critical, diplomatic value.
The senior-most political and diplomatic officials in Jerusalem deeply respect and appreciate Canada’s backing. They hold Harper in the highest regard.
Canada was the first country in the world to immediately suspend direct aid to the Palestinian Authority when Hamas was elected in 2006, because of that terrorist organizations’ refusal to meet the criteria for international legitimacy: an end to violence, unconditional recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements. Harper said: “If institutions committed to terrorism are playing a role in the Palestinian state…that is an indication to me that the road to [Palestinian] democracy has not been traveled very far. Democracy and the continued advocacy of terrorism are fundamentally incompatible objectives.”
Canada’s position was quickly adopted by the U.S. and the EU.
Canada was the first country in the world to withdraw its support from the second U.N. World Conference Against Racism, known as Durban II. Noting the anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hate-fest into which the original Durban conference degenerated, the Canadian government led the boycott of the 2009 meeting, and was one of only 15 countries to boycott the Durban III summit in 2011.
Again, other Western allies followed Canada’s lead.
Canada was the first country in the world to robustly defend Israel’s operation against Hezbollah, early during the 2006 Second Lebanon War. Harper said that “responsibility for the escalating violence in the Middle East rests entirely with those who have kidnapped Israeli soldiers. Israel has the right to defend itself.” When many countries urged restraint on Israel, Harper said, “The onus to end this escalation is on the other side, and I would urge them to return the prisoners.” When other countries accused Israel of over-reacting and using disproportionate force, Harper said, “I think Israel’s response under the circumstances has been measured.”
In the aftermath of the war, Harper opposed a one-sided statement at the Francophone summit that sought to deplore the war and recognize the victims of Lebanon. Harper insisted that the resolution recognize losses on both sides.
Canada’s steadfast position ultimately won the support of the other Francophone members and led to a balanced consensus resolution.
During Operation Cast Lead in 2009, Canada likewise stood by Israel against Hamas aggression from Gaza Strip. Then-Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon stated: “Israel has a clear right to defend itself against the continued rocket attacks by Palestinian militant groups which have deliberately targeted civilians. First and foremost, those rocket attacks …read more