Harper's Speech on Israel last night....
I was at the Prime Minister's speech last night at the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy dinner - and he was just excellent. So, here's a full copy of his speech:
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you, Linda, for that kind introduction, and thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for that very warm welcome.What a terrific speech. Makes me proud to be a Canadian.
I’m very pleased to join with the CIJA family of agencies this evening.
On behalf of Canada’s New Government, I’d like to thank you for helping to strengthen both Canadian civil society and the long-standing friendship between Canada and Israel,
Not to mention your encouragement of the Jewish community's full and active participation in the political process.
It’s a great honour, therefore, to be able to once again address this biennial gathering.
Now friends, I’m going to be brief in my remarks tonight, as the message I want to convey is clear, direct, and concise.
Over the past year, we got a pretty sharp reminder that it’s one thing to offer supportive words to Israel when it’s convenient, and quite another to stand firm in its hour of need.
Last summer, when Israel came under attack from terrorist groups, this government stood against those organizations and their objectives, and we stood with our friend in the democratic family of nations, the state of Israel.
We stood by the commitment I made at your last dinner. When it was not popular to do so, we stood and told the truth.
Israel had a friend when it mattered, and that, my friends, is the only thing that really counts.
Because a battle between a democratic state and terrorist groups who seek to destroy both it and its people is not a matter of shades of grey – it is a matter right and wrong.
Now friends, just as our government supports Israel’s right to defend her borders and her population, so too do we support a fair and just future for the Palestinian people.
And I know this is something you support as well, because each of us in this room tonight has a strong reverence for human dignity, and that’s why Canada’s New Government supports the creation of a viable, democratic Palestinian state that will live peacefully beside a secure, prosperous Israel.
The road to this much-needed state, however, will not be paved with the blood of innocent victims of terror. It will only be achieved through negotiations carried out in good faith by serious players who actually desire peace, and we sincerely believe that peace is what the majority of ordinary Israelis and Palestinians truly want.
And that’s why we’re going to continue standing up against the terrorists, extremists, and fanatics who eschew peace and stability while embracing violence and chaos.
And when faced with such threats, Israel will always have a steadfast friend in Canada’s New Government.
God bless Canada.