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Good Friends Make Great Allies

Binyamin Rose

Canada may lack the military might to back Israel to the hilt on the battlefield, but if Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper’s weeklong visit to Israel proved one thing, it is that Canada has surged past the US when it comes to being Israel’s best friend in the global political arena.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

There are two sides to Stephen Harper.

One is manifested by the always-composed, sometimes stoic expression he wears in public. The other is when that countenance gives way on a moment’s notice and he drops the formalities, interrupting a speaking engagement to sit down and jam at the electric piano with his band, Herringbone, urging his audience to sing along with him to a popular rock tune.

Segueing speech into song is becoming a Harper trademark and one he even employed at last month’s Jewish National Fund dinner inToronto, where he announced his first-ever trip toIsrael.

But when it comes to setting the tone forCanada’s foreign policy, especially towardIsrael, Harper doesn’t display two sides, or two faces. Simply put, he isIsrael’s staunchest advocate in a world where support for the Jewish state is mired in the late stages of a global meltdown.   

“CanadasupportsIsraelfundamentally because it is right to do so,” Harper declared in his speech to the Knesset last week. “This, by the way, 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.”

In discussing the evident threats toIsrael’s existence, Harper issued what could be interpreted as both a stark warning and a measure of encouragement to an Israeli parliament almost equally balanced between hawks and doves: “If you act to defend yourselves, you will suffer widespread condemnation over and over again. But should you fail to act, you alone will suffer the consequence of your inaction, and that consequence will be final. It will be your destruction.”


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