Harper and Israel

(with a tip o’ the hat to David Foster – Thanks for the title)

While the Irish government, in typical fashion, is working overtime to ingratiate itself with the Palestinian cause, Harper’s government in Canada continues to impress. From announcing “Canada will take that stand [to defend Israel in the public sphere] whatever the cost” to opposing a bid for statehood by the PA, Harper has shown unusual cojones .

And now the next chapter – yesterday, FM John Baird reiterated Canada’s support for Israel in the now-typical unbridled fashion:

On a visit to Israel, Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird told an audience of 350 at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum that “Israel has no greater friend in the world than Canada.” He then surprised them by saying “Canada does not stand behind Israel… .” After a slight pause he continued: “Canada stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Israel” in any threats and challenges it may face. He was met with warm applause.

Just in case you think Baird talks only to the cheering section, behold this:

Over lunch with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, then later with Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Foreign Minister Riad Maliki, the Ottawa tag-team [of Baird and Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty] went out of its way to impress upon the Palestinian leadership that it should abandon its efforts to obtain United Nations recognition and return to the negotiating table with Israel “without preconditions.”

Two foreign ministers touring Israel in this past week. Two very different policies.

2 thoughts on “Harper and Israel”

  1. Just a quick side note on why I think so many FMs are touring Israel this week.

    In the greater Anglosphere – the UK, Ireland, Canada and I assume Australia, January 27th or 28th is Holocaust Memorial Day – the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. (NB: Generally this date is not used in the US and Israel – they use Yom HaShoa (which usually falls in April) instead. Yom HaShoa is the anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising, and so at least it is a more potent, reactive memory. But it’s not the actual date of the uprising, which falls on the eve of Passover. It’s moved off by a week or two in consideration of the festival.)

    So anyway that’s why FM Baird and Tanaiste Gilmore were making the grand rounds at Yad VaShem in the same seven days. Apparently it’s the place to be at this time of year…

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