I’d like to take a moment to remind you about Stephen Harper’s personal stance on Israel from his January 20th, 2014 speech to the Knesset:
"Canada supports Israel because it is right to do so. This is a very Canadian trait, to do something for no reason other than it is right. Even when no immediate reward for, or threat to, ourselves is evident."
"Canada and Israel are the greatest of friends, and the most natural of allies."
"It is, thus, a Canadian tradition to stand for what is principled and just, regardless of whether it is convenient or popular. But, I would argue, support today for the Jewish State of Israel is more than a moral imperative. It is also of strategic importance, also a matter of our own long-term interests."
"We refuse to single out Israel for criticism on the international stage. Now I understand, in the world of diplomacy, with one, solitary, Jewish state and scores of others, it is all too easy “to go along to get along” and single out Israel. But such “going along to get along,” Is not a “balanced” approach, nor a “sophisticated” one; It is, quite simply, weak and wrong. Unfortunately, ladies and gentlemen, we live in a world where that kind of moral relativism runs rampant. And in the garden of such moral relativism, the seeds of much more sinister notions can be easily planted. And so we have witnessed, in recent years, the mutation of the old disease of anti-Semitism and the emergence of a new strain.”
That's just what Canadians need, a lecture on moral relativism from our Great Leader.
With these quotes in mind, here are some excerpts from the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada website on Canadian Policy on Key Issues in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict:
1.) "Support for Israel and its Security: Canada supports Israel's right to live in peace with its neighbours within secure boundaries and recognizes Israel's right to assure its own security, as witnessed by our support during the 2006 conflict with Hezbollah and our ongoing support for Israel's fight against terror. Israel has a right under international law to take the necessary measures, in accordance with human rights and international humanitarian law, to protect the security of its citizens from attacks by terrorist groups. Canada and Israel enjoy a steadfast friendship and strong, growing bilateral relations in many areas based on shared values, including democracy.”
So Mr. Harper, how has democracy worked out for Afghanistan, Iraq and Egypt?
2.) "Support for the Palestinians: Canada recognizes the Palestinian right to self-determination and supports the creation of a sovereign, independent, viable, democratic and territorially contiguous Palestinian state, as part of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace settlement. Canada recognizes the Palestinian Authority (PA) as the governmental entity in the West Bank and Gaza. Canada also recognizes the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the principal representative of the Palestinian people Canada continues to support Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and is working with the government led by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in terms of much needed reform. Working with its partners and through the United Nations, its agencies and other organizations, Canada continues to support and respond to the humanitarian and development needs of the Palestinian people. At the Paris Donors Conference in December 2007, Canada announced a commitment of $300 million over 5 years towards improving Palestinian security, governance and prosperity.”
Now, let's look at the downside for Israel from the same Foreign Affairs website which also reflects Canada’s official policies toward Israel:
1.) "Canada does not recognize Israel's unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem."
2.) "Canada does not recognize permanent Israeli control over territories occupied in 1967 (the Golan Heights, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip). The Fourth Geneva Convention applies in the occupied territories and establishes Israel's obligations as an occupying power, in particular with respect to the humane treatment of the inhabitants of the occupied territories. As referred to in UN Security Council Resolutions 446 and 465, Israeli settlements in the occupied territories are a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The settlements also constitute a serious obstacle to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace." (my bold)
3.) "Canada recognizes Israel's right to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks, including through the restriction of access to its territory, and by building a barrier on its own territory for security purposes. However, Canada opposes Israel's construction of the barrier inside the West Bank and East Jerusalem which are occupied territories. This construction is contrary to international law under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Canada not only opposes Israel's construction of a barrier extending into the occupied territories, but also expropriations and the demolition of houses and economic infrastructure carried out for this purpose."
Stephen Harper's official comments on Israel pretty much represented the educated and non-biased opinion of one person; himself, rather than reflecting the opinion of the Canadian government. Either way, Canadian taxpayers are on the hook for the entire cost of the trip. On the upside, Mark Adler nearly got that much-coveted “million dollar” campaign photo op, again, courtesy of you know who!
I wonder how long it will be before Foreign Affairs toes the line and changes its stance to better reflect the opinion of the only Canadian that really matters.