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Ottawa - Canadian Opposition: Harper's Staunch Pro-Israel Support May Spark Anti-Semitism

Published on: February 10, 2010 11:04 AM
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Harper is a Staunch Pro-Israel SupporterHarper is a Staunch Pro-Israel Supporter

Ottawa - The Harper government risks sparking a backlash against Israel and Canada’s Jewish community by taking a hard-line, with-us-or-against-us stand with groups that are critical of Israel, opposition MPs say.

The Conservatives have won points among Israel’s supporters for the government’s staunch backing, but Liberal MP Anita Neville, co-chair of Liberal Parliamentarians for Israel, said there is fear the government risks alienating public support with actions like cutting off funding to church-based aid group Kairos.

“I appreciate the support of the Jewish community, unequivocally I appreciate the support of Israel. But by making it frequently into a black-and white-issue, they’re setting it up as a wedge. And they’re also setting it up so that people who have been long-time strong supporters of Israel are questioning issues like the de-funding of Kairos,” she told reporters.

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“And it’s creating a backlash.”

Ms. Neville raised her concerns Monday as MPs met on Parliament Hill – despite the fact that Parliament is prorogued until March – for an unofficial inquiry on anti-Semitism sponsored by the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism, or CPCCA.

She told Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, who is responsible for multiculturalism policies, that some of the tough words of government spokesmen could spark an “anti-Semitic response.”

Mr. Kenney insisted that the government will not shy away from naming groups in Canada that promote hatred or make apologies for terrorism – and that he’s proud that his department won’t fund them.

“All I get is praise for Canada’s efforts to deal with these sometimes difficult issues, and not to sweep them under the carpet,” he told the CPCCA hearing.

The government’s move to refuse new funding to Kairos, an aid organization created by a coalition of Christian churches, sparked controversy after Mr. Kenney said during a visit to Israel that Canada had “defunded organizations, most recently like Kairos, who are taking a leadership role” in boycott campaigns against Israel.

Kairos denied it has led such a boycott movement – and Mr. Kenney and International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda later insisted that Kairos was really cut off because its projects did not meet Canada’s new aid priorities.

Ms. Neville, however, told reporters that she worries that people who believe Kairos does good work are questioning whether the Jewish community, or a pro-Israel government, is responsible for cutting off funding to an aid organization they believe in.

New Democrat MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis said Tory flyers that appeared to paint Liberal MPs as anti-Semitic, and the decision to cut funding to Kairos, are a setback to keeping partisanship out of the fight against anti-Semitism.

The debate reflects one that already is churning within Canada’s Jewish community, and among staunch Israel supporters: that hyper-partisanship on both sides might lead to domestic division, rather than consensus.

“Both attach a lot importance to winning the confidence and support of the pro-Israel community – which I hasten to say is much broader than just the Jewish community – and that’s something that we try to discourage,” said Shimon Fogel, chief executive officer of the Canada-Israel Committee.


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1

 Feb 10, 2010 at 11:36 AM Anonymous Says:

2 jews 3 opions why cant we just unite on something

2

 Feb 10, 2010 at 12:24 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

2 jews 3 opions why cant we just unite on something

It would be no fun that way.

Life is to boring if everything is very "predictable".

Keep life interesting....

3

 Feb 10, 2010 at 12:50 PM BIG YAWN Says:

Gee, who needs the power of suggestion? The 'opposition' is doing three things. One: getting headlines (cheap trick). Two: mimicking the 'global' status quo which arbitrarily links 'widget' to everything. (Mass psychology: if you want to portray life as a struggle, you can't say that everyday because it wouldn't float. But if you say: "Look! Here's a struggle, see it!?!" Then you reinforce the negative by slight of hand.

Three: The 'opposition' is tacitly enabling the emotional fringe who are already enabled because they can read agit prop worldwide!

4

 Feb 10, 2010 at 04:35 PM Anonymous Says:

One must understand that the Liberal party has taken a decidedly pro-palistinian point of view in the last couple of years. The opposition does its best to portray anything and everything the ruling Conservative goes or says. That is the nature of politics. The statement that supporting Israel and the Jewish people will cause a backlash is ludicrous. Those that scream, rant and rail against the Jews will hate us no matter what. Halocho beyogua sh' Aisov soineh ess Yaakov.

5

 Feb 10, 2010 at 05:20 PM Canadian Jew Says:

This is so pathetic, except that it is outrageous.

For the first time in many, many years, Canada is being led by a true leader. Stephen Harper is the biggest blessing to Canada. Since Canada has been run by liberals for almost 60 years, they are obsessed with getting this man out of power, because they believe that Canada must be liberal.

Compounding this is the fact that the Liberals always took the Jewish vote for granted and had the Jews in their back pocket. Over that last decade under the Liberals, Canada moved towards the Arab agenda, consistently joining the UN in condemning Israel, open border policy for Arabs etc.

Finally, we have a Prime Minister with a strong backbone, a moral outlook and great leadership qualities, a Prime Minister who has taken a strong stance against terrorism. Jews are waking up and smelling the coffee, and more and more young Jews are opting for the conservatives, much to the chagrin of the liberals and their Jewish supporters.

So, instead of dealing with the issues, ie devastating liberal policies and anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiment in the liberal ranks, they are trying fear mongering. Pathetic. Just pathetic.

G-d bless PM Harper.

6

 Feb 10, 2010 at 05:21 PM Milhouse Says:

The Grits are desperate to find something to criticise. Harper is doing what he knows to be right.

7

 Feb 10, 2010 at 06:46 PM Charlie Hall Says:

Reply to #5  
Canadian Jew Says:

This is so pathetic, except that it is outrageous.

For the first time in many, many years, Canada is being led by a true leader. Stephen Harper is the biggest blessing to Canada. Since Canada has been run by liberals for almost 60 years, they are obsessed with getting this man out of power, because they believe that Canada must be liberal.

Compounding this is the fact that the Liberals always took the Jewish vote for granted and had the Jews in their back pocket. Over that last decade under the Liberals, Canada moved towards the Arab agenda, consistently joining the UN in condemning Israel, open border policy for Arabs etc.

Finally, we have a Prime Minister with a strong backbone, a moral outlook and great leadership qualities, a Prime Minister who has taken a strong stance against terrorism. Jews are waking up and smelling the coffee, and more and more young Jews are opting for the conservatives, much to the chagrin of the liberals and their Jewish supporters.

So, instead of dealing with the issues, ie devastating liberal policies and anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiment in the liberal ranks, they are trying fear mongering. Pathetic. Just pathetic.

G-d bless PM Harper.

Run by Liberals for 60 years?

John Diefenbaker (1957-1963) was not a Liberal.
Joe Clark (1979-1980) was not a Liberal.
Brian Mulrooney (1984-1993) was not a Liberal.
Kim Campbell (1993) was not a Liberal.
Stephen Harper (2006-present) is not a Liberal.

Canada is, however, more (small 'l') liberal than the US in many ways. For example, its strict regulation of its small number of banks spared it completely from the bank meltdown here in the US.

8

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