The recent visit by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to Israel was like a breath of fresh air.
While other Western leaders hide behind smiling masks and indirectly condone anti-Semitic activity, he stood up and publicly called their bluff.
Harper spoke about Israel’s right to exist. He did not claim that Israel was responsible for the lack of peace in the region, and said that boycotts are unacceptable and are the result of anti-Semitism.
These words shine brightly against the darkness that is enveloping international institutions and Western leaders that have succumbed to the anti-Semitic demagoguery that encroaches on citizens’ human rights. Harper stood up in the Knesset and reproached these “leaders” for failing to stand up for freedom and instead submitting to radical Islam and its supporters.
Following Harper’s resolute speech, the opposition’s retort came off sounding extremely naïve. Labor chairman Isaac Herzog replayed the usual left-wing rhetoric and blamed Israel for the failure to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians, instead of admitting that the decades of Arab recalcitrance is what has prevented peace.
It’s not surprising that many Israelis view the Canadian prime minister’s visit and courageous speech as no less than historic. Harper, who arrived with a large and distinguished delegation that included several ministers, MPs and Canadian Jewish community leaders, captured the hearts of many Israelis due to his levelheaded view of the situation here in the Middle East.
Moreover, the visit by the Canadian delegation was a reminder that Jewish communities throughout the world play a crucial role in Israeli foreign affairs. The courageous friendship between the Canadian people and leaders and the State of Israel is not just the result of shared values, but of hard work and the support of people and organizations that have fostered this special relationship between the countries. The Canadian Jewish community and leaders sit at the forefront of this relationship.
Canadian Jewry’s tremendous contribution to both Israel and Canada, and the honorable way its leaders carry out their work, have led to trust and appreciation on behalf of the leadership of both countries. This has helped strengthen relations between the countries on political, economic and cultural levels.
Prime Minister Harper’s visit proves that common values are stronger than any geographical distance. The family- like cohesiveness that was felt at the Jewish National Fund-Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael Dinner held in his honor, as Harper led the participants in song, was a true reflection (that is so rare these days) of a great leader who is not afraid to speak the plain truth in a voice that is loud and clear.
Likud MK Yariv Levin is coalition chairman.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.