Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bravo, Stevo

I have some Canadian friends: there’s Mark, Maya, Marina and Mateus (who’ve visited me in Mole Creek [1]), Dieter (Maya’s father, who’s currently here [2]) and my cyberfriends Chrows25 [3] and Wordsmith [4] (whom I’m yet to meet in person). I wonder if they know that last Monday and Tuesday in the Canadian Parliamentary Buildings in Ottawa, their country hosted the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism’s [5] second annual conference [6]. I don’t know what they think of their current prime minister Stephen Harper [7], but I reckon the speech he gave to the conference [8, 9] was honest and honourable. He said that ‘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’. He added that though Israel is not beyond fair criticism, Canada must oppose demonisation, double standards and de-legitimisation ‘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’. He added that Canada did not secure a UN Security Council seat [10] due to its failure to ‘go along with this anti-Israel rhetoric’. How brave of Canada to put principle above self-interest. Bravo, Mr Harper. And bravo Canada. I salute you.

6 comments:

Chrows25 aka Leather Woman said...

OH good gief I can't believe I wrote that I support the condemnation of Musims which of course I don't. It should have read I DO NOT support the condemnation of Muslims and the stereotypical demonization of them as terrorists and anti-women. The Muslims I know just do not fit this, they are about as Muslim as most people I know who say they are Christian.

Chrows25 aka Leather Woman said...

So I tried to delete my very long comment but it was delayed reaction so I wrote a follow up, mostly it was a rant against Mr Harper who I really despise. It is absolutely the first time I have heard his being protective of Israel used as to why we did not get a seat on the UN council, more likely because we look more and more like a clone of the USA, especially under his leadship.

Geoffrey Brittan said...

It is difficult to find comments by our Prime Minister that engender widespread support. He is a man who seems to thrive on confrontation and controversy. Most people who were aware of the Conference possess strong feelings and opinions on Middle East issues. His remarks betrayed a rare moment of sincerity and strong ethical belief. I can not be counted among his legions of fans, but on this occasion I was rather proud of him.

I had the good fortune to study for a time at Wycliffe College, an Anglican Church seminary, in the University of Toronto. The course was a part-time program that focused on Biblical text. The instructors used the Tanakh in preference to the Old Testament. They reasoned that the translation was more nuanced. Many classes were taught by rabbis who brought insight and understanding of the text often missed by Christians like me.

Nobody seemed surprised at this. Christians and Jews are cousins. In Christology class, a fellow student who was a member of Islam (his word, rather than Muslim) attended, probably motivated by a sense of 'know thy enemy,' but perhaps he was motivated by genuine curiosity.

What would we have done had he advocated the destruction of Israel to us? I doubt we were thinking about that, yet Israelis live with it in their ears every day. I often think back to that class. Had the unthinkable happened, I like to imagine that I would have walked out in protest.

It takes courage to live by convictions; something so deep that nothing else matters. The most radical voices are not always expressing thought born of belief.

So much in the Middle East is best understood by people who live there, accustomed to the shrill voices.

farmdoc said...

Dear Chrows 25 and Geoffrey (aka Wordsmith)
Thank you both very much for letting me know what you as Canadians think of your prime minister.
With best regards to you both
Farmdoc.

farmdoc said...

Here's the Hansard record of a fine speech by Senator Scott Ryan in the Senate last Wednesday 17 November [1]. Senator Ryan represented Australia at the Ottawa Conference.

farmdoc said...

Here's another example of Canada's enlightened and principled stance regarding Israel [1].