For years we have seen ugly anti-Semitism masquerading as “anti-Zionism.” It is astonishing to find a major politician in this debased age who has the courage to call it what it is. “In historic speech, Harper argues criticizing Israel is anti-Semitic,” by David Akin for Sun News, January 20 (thanks to Pamela Geller):
JERUSALEM — In a historic speech to the Knesset here, Prime Minister Stephen Harper provided his clearest rationale yet for his decision to be Israel’s strongest friend on the global stage and went so far as to argue that criticism of the state of Israel amounts anti-Semitism.
Harper became the first Canadian prime minister to address the Israeli legislature. The chamber was filled with MKs — members of the Knesset — and the galleries were filled as well with more than 200 members of the prime minister’s official Canadian delegation.
In the speech, Harper explained why Canada supports Israel and, in doing so, made an argument for why other Western democracies ought to do the same.
“Because, after generations of persecution, the Jewish people deserve their own homeland and deserve to live safely and peacefully in that homeland,” according to a copy of the speech provided to journalists beforehand.
“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.”
Harper said Canada has a long history of supporting democracy, human rights, freedom and the rule of law.
“It is, thus, a Canadian tradition to stand for what is principled and just, regardless of whether it is convenient or popular.”
If Canadians accept that principle, Harper argued, then Canada must stand for Israel, the only country in this part of the world that shares Canada’s values.
“Either we stand up for our values and our interests, here, in Israel — stand up for the existence of a free, democratic and distinctively Jewish state — or the retreat of our values and our interests in the world will begin.”
Harper then said Canada’s support for Israel translates into action in three ways.
“Our view on Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state is absolute and nonnegotiable,” Harper said, listing the first principle.
Second, Harper said Canada will fight for Israel “to enjoy the full measure of its sovereignty” at the United Nations. Currently, Israel is excluded from many regional councils and, by extension, cannot be a member of bodies, such as the Security Council, which reserves seats for representatives from various regional bodies.
Finally, he said his support for Israel means Canada will refuse to single out Israel for criticism on the international stage.
“It is all too easy ‘to go along to get along’ and single out Israel,” Harper said.
Others who do that, Harper said, end up on a slippery slope of moral relativism.
“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,” Harper said.
Harper said this new anti-Semitism disguises itself in language that pretends to be “sophisticated” or as “intellectualized arguments against Israeli policies.”
He said “this is the face of the new anti-Semitism.”
Finally, he argued that criticism of the state of Israel is itself anti-Semitic and therefore hateful.
“What else can we call criticism that selectively condemns only the Jewish state and effectively denies its right to defend itself while systematically ignoring — or excusing — the violence and oppression all around it? What else can we call it when, Israel is routinely targeted at the United Nations and when Israel remains the only country to be the subject of a permanent agenda item at the regular sessions of its Human Rights Council?”