As David Frum wrote yesterday, when it comes to foreign policy on Israel, Michael Ignatieff, like all Liberal Leaders before him, takes the usual so-called nuanced position, all talk and no action that pleases no one. However, since the Harper Conservative government came to power in 2006, there has been both talk “AND” action. In fact, PM Harper has unequivocally shown that Canada is a valued friend of Israel. No ifs, ands or buts, totally supportive.
However, as most Canadians would no doubt agree, being supportive of Israel can also mean being supportive of the Palestinians. The problem, however, while complex, seems to be that far too many Canada-based international aid agencies, most funded by the Canadian taxpayer, tend to be anti-Israel — even though it is the only democracy in the entire Middle East.
The good news is that positive change may actually be coming to the Palestinians, something Prime Minister Harper would no doubt welcome. As the National Post’s editorial stated yesterday:
“At a conference in Belgium next week, the International Monetary Fund will present a report that describes the Palestinian Authority as ‘able to conduct the sound economic policies expected of a future well-functioning Palestinian state, given its solid track record in reforms and institution-building in the public finance and financial areas.’ The World Bank, meanwhile, will instruct the same conference that, based on current performance, the Palestinian Authority ‘is well positioned for the establishment of a state at any point in the near future.’”
Meaning, that once both Israel’s leadership, and the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Mahmoud Abbas, agree to half a loaf rather than a full loaf, there may actually be peace in that region.
So, while I have never written on this topic before, in this election campaign I want it known that I am a supporter of both Israel and the Palestinians. Therefore, before voting on May 2nd, Canadians need to evaluate very carefully the clearly spoken words of Stephen Harper on this subject, versus the duplicitous words spoken by Michael Ignatieff during last week’s English language debate.
As Frum wrote, Ignatieff said:
“The fact remains, Mr. Harper, that you are the first Prime Minister in the history of Canada to lose the seat that we were eligible to occupy on the Security Council of the United Nations … Talking about [the aid group] Kairos, talking about aid agencies who work in Africa, you’ve muzzled them, you’ve shut them down … For ideological reasons, you shut them down. When Rights & Democracy, an independent organization trying to represent human rights around the world, gave you a little trouble, you basically destroyed the organization.”
Ideological reasons? Shutting down agencies for giving you a little trouble? As Frum explains:
“Kairos and Canada’s Center for Human Rights and Democratic Development did not become notorious by ‘working in Africa.’ They became notorious because of their attacks on Israel and their too-close associations with anti-Israel extremism.”
“Past Liberal governments have played a double game in the Middle East. Prime ministers and foreign ministers have declared friendship to Israel. Yet those same prime ministers and foreign ministers allowed their bureaucracies to pursue very different policies. And they funded NGOs that veered in even more strongly anti-Israel directions.”
Voters also need to remember that:
“The Harper government ended these practices. There is not a big difference between what the Harper government and the previous Martin and Chrétien governments said about the Middle East. But there is a big difference between what those governments have done. The Harper government’s actions have been consistent with its words. The Chrétien and Martin governments’ actions were not.
So, when it comes to understanding the differences between how a Harper Conservative government would treat Israel and the PA versus a Michael Ignatieff Liberal (coalition) government, I recommend visitors read both the Post’s editorial and Frum article, as well as Conrad Black’s “A recipe for peace.”
Then, on May 2nd, 2011, vote for your Conservative candidate.
Endnote: I am not going to publish any comments that are either anti-Israel or anti-Semitic.