canada - AP - September 23 2010
Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper addresses the United Nations General Assembly, September 23, 2010. Photo by AP
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Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has affirmed his strong commitment to the state of Israel and the eradication of global anti-Semitism, in a speech at Ottawa’s Parliament Hill earlier this week.

“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,” Harper said to a gathering of international parliamentarians on Monday.

“Under the shadow of a hateful ideology with global ambitions, one which targets the Jewish homeland as a scapegoat, Jews are savagely attacked around the world," he added.

The Conservative leader made his remarks at the start of a two-day Ottawa conference on anti-Semitism for Holocaust Education week. While he conceded that Israel is receptive to fair criticism, he argued that Canada is obligated to stand up for its ally when it comes under attack from others.

"Not just because it is the right thing to do, but because history shows us, and the ideology of the anti-Israel mob tell us all too well, that those who threaten the existence of the Jewish people are in the longer term a threat to all of us," said the prime minister.

Harper was subject to heavy criticism for his support of Israel when Canada lost its bid for the UN Security Council seat in October.

“There are, after all, a lot more votes- a lot more- in being anti-Israel than in taking a stand,” says Harper," adding that: “The easiest thing to do is simply to just get along and go along with this anti-Israeli rhetoric, to pretend it is just about being even-handed, and to excuse oneself with the label of ‘honest broker'… But as long as I am prime minister, whether it is at the UN or the Francophonie or anywhere else, Canada will take that stand, whatever the cost.” “

At his caucus meeting on Monday, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff was critical of Harper’s position on Israel, calling for Canada to become an honest broker in the global community.