Canadian PM Declares Support for Israel

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper declared his support for Israel in an address to B'nai Brith Canada last Wednesday, saying that, "When it comes to dealing with a war between Israel and a terrorist organization, this country and this government cannot and will never be neutral."

Harper was justifying his government's support for Israel during the recent Lebanon War and in its aftermath.

"Our approach to the Middle East, as elsewhere, has been guided by our values," he said.

"This summer we were mercilessly attacked by our opposition for the position we took on the Middle East. I understand why. I understand that with the news reports of the day in the sound of battle, the images of destruction, the suffering of innocents, it is sometimes difficult to see and to keep the focus on what is truly at stake. But the fact is this: those who attacked Israel and those who sponsor such attacks don't seek merely to gain some leverage, to alter some boundary or to right some wrong. They seek what they and those like them have always sought: the destruction of Israel and the destruction of the Jewish people. Why? A thousand complicated rationalizations, but only one simple reason: because the Jews are different, because the Jews are not like them. And because Israel is different and alone in a complicated and dangerous part of the world."

Harper mentioned the Holocaust and said that, "Those who seek to destroy the Jews, who seek to destroy Israel will for the same reason ultimately seek to destroy us all. And that is why Canada's new government has reacted with speed and...why we were the first nation in the international community to cut off funding to the Hamas government, and why we defended Israel's right to vigorous and effective self-defense against Hezbollah."

The Conservative Party Harper heads came to power earlier this year, following many years of Liberal rule in Canada. Since his rise to power, Canada's foreign policy has moved closer to the U.S. and Israel.

Canada does not depend on Middle Eastern petroleum and its foreign policy is mainly guided by domestic political considerations.