When expediency becomes principle....
Harper towers above Obama....
Not long ago, relatively few Jews around the world could name Canada’s prime minister. Today, there are many hundreds who, though they did not know his name just weeks ago, now do.
That is because the text and YouTube version of Stephen Harper’s extraordinary speech at a recent Canadian Conference on Anti-Semitism have gone viral, making their way onto Facebook and countless websites and parking themselves in thousands of in-boxes. In the speech, Harper made clear that he, unlike many, understands that the new anti-Israel rhetoric now taking the world by storm is nothing more than anti-Semitism repackaged.
As Harper noted, “Harnessing disparate anti- Semitic, anti-American and anti-Western ideologies, [the attack on Israel’s legitimacy] targets the Jewish people by targeting the Jewish homeland, Israel, as the source of injustice and conflict in the world, and uses, perversely, the language of human rights to do so.”
Harper understands that mere hand-wringing will not suffice, that it is, in fact, an abdication of responsibility. “We must be relentless in exposing this new anti-Semitism for what it is.Of course, like any country, Israel may be subjected to fair criticism... But when Israel, the only country in the world whose very existence is under attack – is consistently and conspicuously singled out for condemnation, I believe we are morally obligated to take a stand.”
And then Harper demonstrated what it means to be a leader: “As long as I am prime minister...Canada will take that stand, whatever the cost.”
Canada will take a stand, whatever the cost. What a breath of fresh air, especially when compared with the dazzling display of “expediency over principle” that is the now acknowledged position of Washington.
THERE ARE still conflicting accounts of what exactly Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton offered Binyamin Netanyahu in exchange for a 90-day extension of the building freeze. But many news sources, including Haaretz, claimed that the Obama administration promised not only F-35s, but increased pressure on Teheran to cease its quest for a nuclear weapon and an American commitment to fighting the growing assault on Israel’s very legitimacy – as long as Bibi cooperates.
That alleged offer makes several things clear.
First, it constitutes a tacit admission by the American administration that it has not applied anywhere near the kind of pressure on Iran that it could, if it only wanted to. Even though an Iranian nuclear weapon would put six million Jews (an “interesting” number, to be sure) in the crosshairs of a hate-mongering maniac, the US has thus far decided not to be serious about stopping Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. All that talk about Washington’s iron-clad commitment to Israel’s security has been just that.
Even more distressing, however, is the suggestion that, in exchange for the building freeze, Washington would now commit to fighting the delegitimization of Israel. Obama and Clinton have every right to try to horse-trade Netanyahu into a freeze, if they so wish. They can make the airplanes contingent upon Netanyahu’s restarting the freeze, and can legitimately apply many other conditions. That is how the game is played (though one still wonders what’s been demanded of the Palestinians).