EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The Canadian Prime Minister has emerged as a modern Abraham, a prophetic voice of principle in a world that is in danger of losing its conscience about Jews and Israel.
Our Biblical patriarch Abraham pleaded with God to rescind the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, arguing that the virtues of just a
few righteous people could suffice to save that world.
In our modern world, that righteous person – whose voice of
conscience, critique and courage may be the saving grace – is surely
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
In his speech before a meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition
for Combating Anti-Semitism in Ottawa last week, Harper sounded the
clearest and most courageous call of this century against modern anti-
Semitism and hatred of the Jewish state. In fact, Harper’s entire
political career has been punctuated by steadfast support for Israel
and the Jewish People, with clarity of vision and intensity without
parallel in recent times.
We, like many other Israelis bewildered by the growing intensity of
hatred against Jews, were comforted by Harper’s remarks. His bold
words give us hope that there are indeed many decent people, some of them in positions of power, who will not bow to demonization,
Orwellian twisting of history and language, and pure evil. It is
reassuring to hear loudly from such righteous gentiles. Harper
deserves our gratitude for still believing in true humanism and the
redemption of mankind.
Israelis feel very much isolated in today’s world community, which we
perceive as increasingly hypocritical, cynical and inimical to
Israel’s very existence. The president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadenijad,
vows to erase Israel and tells the world that the Holocaust never
happened. He receives applause when he speaks from the UN rostrum, and Columbia University unashamedly invites him to speak and spread the venom. But Harper says “Remembering the Holocaust is not merely an act of historical recognition, but an undertaking.” He goes on to
emphasize that “the same threats exist today” and that memory requires “a solemn responsibility to fight those threats.”
Israelis feel that the scourge of traditional anti-Semitism has taken
a new form in the international arena. The morally bankrupt UN, and a
plethora of additional international forums, single out democratic
Israel for imagined and exaggerated human rights abuses, while the
same dictatorships that condemn Israel get away with real torture and
repression. Major human rights organizations have joined the anti-
Israeli chorus, shocking us even more. But Harper is adamant in
pointing out this perverse behavior – making explicit reference to
Sharansky’s 3-D rubric against double standards, demonization and
delegitimization – helping us here in Israel to maintain our sanity
and belief in the goodness of man.
Unfortunately, many Western countries do not stand up against the
automatic majority of the Muslim and Third World bloc, preferring
appeasement. Some actively “engage” enemies of the West and its
values, displaying moral relativism. Yet, Canada under Harper has
chosen to take a principled stand. Admitting that there is a
diplomatic price to be paid for such moral probity, Harper is
undeterred: “The easy thing to do,” he says, “is simply to just get
along and go along with this anti-Israeli rhetoric, to pretend it is
just being even-handed, and to excuse oneself with the label of
‘honest broker’. (But) Canada will take a stand (in support of
Israel), whatever the cost. Not just because it is the right thing to
do, but because history shows us, and the ideology of the anti-Israeli
mob tells us all too well, that those who threaten the existence of
the Jewish people are, in the longer term, a threat to all of us.”
Judge Goldstone and much of the international community want to neuter Israel to the point that it can’t defend itself. His committee and its many pernicious international legal collaborators seek to restrain, inhibit, fetter and otherwise prevent Israel’s defense forces from defending against Iran’s proxies, Hamas and Hezbollah, under almost any circumstances. Not the Right Honorable Stephen Harper. He has consistently backed Israel’s defensive actions against Palestinian and other terrorists, and stood up to the French, the Russians and others in international fora at the most critical moments. Over the past three years, Harper’s Canada stood alone in defense of Israel – eight times casting the only “no” vote against unfair condemnations of Israel — during votes at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Harper speaks of the “persistence of the Jewish homeland as a sign of
hope…” as a symbol of “our faith in humanity’s future, in the power of
good over evil.”
The political sociologist Hanna Arendt wrote in her landmark Origins
of Totalitarianism that the attitude toward Jews in any realm is the
real litmus test of a liberal, moral society. We’re not sure whether
Mr. Harper has ever read Arendt, but he certainly has emerged as the
finest global spokesman for a more virtuous world. Thank you, Prime
Minister Harper, for not despairing of the world nor abandoning us.
Efraim Inbar is professor of political science at Bar-Ilan University
and director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. David M.
Weinberg, a proud Canadian expatriate, is director of public affairs
at the Begin-Sadat Center.