Monday, August 17, 2015

Flashback - Which CANADIAN political party is the true supporter of Israel?

Flashback - Which CANADIAN political party is the true supporter of Israel? HT: LandmarkReport.

In the 2008 federal election, brouhaha quickly erupted over Conservative campaign literature claiming they were more supportive of Israel than the Liberal Party. The topic has risen again, with feature stories in the National Post and Jewish Tribune, among others, parsing the vote of Israel supporters.

Columnist Zach Paikin weighed in recently, writing in the Prince Arthur Herald comparing the Liberal record on Israel with the Conservative record on Israel. He even said that in one political flier, the Conservatives alleged the Liberals to be anti-Semitica claim yet to be substantiated.

A real comparison at each Party’s historical stand on Israel (and Jews) may elucidate for some how Israel supporters are growing increasingly worried of the Liberal Party.

Defanging Hamas

Stephen Harper removed $30 million in funding of the Hamas-controlled Palestinian government in one of his first acts as Prime Minister. Liberal leader Stephane Dion demanded that funding increase for the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority. No terrorists on terror list?

In 2001, Liberal Deputy Prime Minister John Manley opposed putting Hezbollah on the terrorism list, based on the flawed notion that it does some charity work. (That’s the “yes but Hitler built the autobahn” argument.)

Hansards on the topic show Conservatives pushing hard for the Government to act in condemning Hezbollah. Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj, the associate foreign affairs critic, said that he favoured removing Hezbollah from Canada’s list of terrorist organizations. That same MP said he believed Israel indulged in “state terrorism” against Lebanon.

In December 2002, the Liberals finally got around to listing Hezbollah as a terror group. But it wasn’t truly voluntary. B’nai Brith was threatening the Liberal government with a lawsuit to do it, and Prime Minister Chretien and his caucus caved.

Liberal Naivete

When it came to Israeli-Arab negotiations, Chretien said, in April of 2000: “Palestinians should use the threat of a unilateral declaration of independence as a bargaining chip during peace talks.” In Beirut, in October 2002 Chretien met with Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary general of Hezbollah — a terrorist organization devoted to destroying Israel. When called on it, Chretien plead ignorance, saying: “I didn’t know who he was.” 

Biased Resolutions

On Jean Chretien’s watch, Canada voted in favour of countless biased U.N. resolutions slamming Israel. In May 1996, for instance, the Liberals strongly condemned of Israel for merely opening a door in a water tunnel that Jews built thousands of years ago. As if that weren’t enough to demonstrate where the Liberals positioned themselves, they bowed to anti-Israel resolutions at the La Francophonie conferences.

At the Francophonie Summits in 2006 and 2008, however, it was the Harper government that stopped the one-sided, anti-Israel resolution from being passed.

What was Paul Martin thinking?

In 2004, Paul Martin’s Liberals appointed Yvon Charbonneau, a former Quebec Liberal MP and radical Palestinian sympathizer, as Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

After the appointment, Conservative Stockwell Day rose in the House of Commons to recall an incident in 1983 when Charbonneau directed teachers in schools and colleges to put up posters referring to the “genocidal war of the Israeli government” against Palestinians during the first Lebanon war. In that same year, Charbonneau supported a large demonstration in Montreal, protesting a visit by Ariel Sharon.

In April 2002, following a month in which Palestinian suicide bombers murdered 79 Israelis, Charbonneau delivered a speech before the House of Commons, equating Palestinian terrorism with the “terror campaign waged by Israel” and accused Sharon’s centrist-Kadima government of “turning Israel into a rogue state.”

Liberal Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew defended the Government’s appointment of Charbonneau.

In yet another twist of the knife, Paul Martin instructed Mr. Pettigrew to lay a wreath at terrorist Yasser Arafat’s grave.

Still, unable to interpret terrorist – or Nazi

Once again, in an example of not-so-subtle support of terrorists, in August 2006, Liberal MP Denis Coderre attended a Montreal anti-Israel rally, where Hezbollah flags were proudly flown.

Some demonstrators were chanting support for the terrorist organization while the MP stayed silent on the matter. (Coderre, up until recent months, was Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff’s defense critic.)

In December 2006, Liberal leader Bill Graham during a parliamentary session, compared Conservatives to Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels. No apology was ever issued.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Harper, unwaveringly supported Israel’s right to defend itself in the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah conflict.

Ignatieff’s backtracking

During the Israel-Hezbollah conflict, Michael Ignatieff accused Israel of “war crimes,” whitewashing the terrorist attacks against the Jewish State. (Over a year later, when it was time to put in a leadership bid, he reconsidered his views.) For many Jews, it didn’t come as a surprise, given Ignatieff’s previously publicized beliefs.

In London’s Guardian, in 2002, Ignatieff compared Israel to “crusaders” and “an Apartheid state.” He also wrote that Israel is brutally repressive, adding that it is an “excellent idea” to swamp Israel with the “entire Palestinian population,” and accused Israel as being “extremist, and part of a death cult, like the terrorists.”

In 2006, Liberal MP Ken Dryden bumbled through a press conference when asked — twice — whether he agreed Israel committed war crimes in Lebanon. His filibustering non-answer was surprising, given his riding’s Jewish demographic. Security funding

The Liberals consistently refused to offer security funds for Jewish communities (except during the 2008 election, when they flip-flopped, pledging to outdo any spending on the Conservatives’ platform). Conservatives have offered $3-million through the Security Infrastructure Program to keep religious institutions and those who attend them, safe from attack.

St. Louis

Liberals repeatedly refused to redress the St. Louis incident, where 900 Jews fleeing the Nazis were sent back to Poland from Canada during the Holocaust.

As history, it was the head of immigration in Liberal Prime Minister Mackenzie King’s administration who played a key role in that incident, and, was responsible for Canada holding the record for the fewest accepted Holocaust-era Jewish immigrants of any Western country. “None is too many” is the known refrain of top aides in his administration. Of the millions of Jewish refugees struggling to flee Europe, only 5,000 were admitted into Canada from 1933 until 1945.

The Harper government, however, in 2009 pledged funds to memorialize the St. Louis, and today a memorial stands in Halifax harbour. Holocaust Task Force

The Liberals as far back as 1996 refused to join the International Holocaust Task Force. In 2009, however, Prime Minister Harper sent Jason Kenney to Prague to submit Canada’s participation. Walking out of Durban and the UN

The Conservative government boycotted the anti-Semitic “Durban II” UN conference in April of 2009 in Geneva. The Conservative government was also among the first to walk out of the UN when Iran’s dictator took to the podium in September, 2010. 

Jews honor Harper

Since becoming Prime Minister, Harper paid personal visits to the Nazi death camp Auschwitz, and the Mumbai Chabad House. Stephen Harper has won special recognition from the Simon Weisenthal Centre, B’nai Brith, Canadian Jewish Congress and Yad Vashem.

No other Prime Minister shares this distinction.

Liberals Omar Alghabra, Carolyn Parrish and Colleen Beaumier Current Liberal candidate and former MP Omar Alghabra had condemned CanWest newspapers for labelling groups like Hamas and Hizbollah “terrorist” groups; he supported an Arab conference on a Montreal campus whose stated mission was the elimination of Israel; and Alghabra has called for the total abolition of Canada’s anti-terrorism laws.

Notwithstanding, St├ęphane Dion, Leader of the Official Opposition, placed Alghabra as Official Opposition Critic for Citizenship and Immigration.

In 2002, Liberal MP Carolyn Parrish went on a trip to the Palestinian territories, funded by Mississauga-based Palestine House. She said in the Arab press: “In Israel, they put them all in the army and they give them a machine gun and they tell them, ‘The Palestinians are to be harassed — they are less than human and they (the guards) can treat them like garbage,’” … “They [Jews] have no business being there, no business growing more settlements, and they’re on every hilltop around Jerusalem.” Liberal MP Colleen Beaumier joined Parrish. Arab press reports her as saying: “The acts of Sharon and the acts of the Israeli government are acts of terrorism.

Summary The big worry for Israel supporters is the inconsistent values of a litany of politicians who represent the Liberal Party both in its past and presently.

This isn’t to say the Liberals have never supported Israel in some way. They have. All of the living Liberal Prime Ministers have spoken to Jewish groups about their love of Israel.

But no Conservative has ever spoken ill about Israel. Their platform, as well as politicians, have consistently supported Israel, with no exceptions. Hmmmm......And last but not least PM Stephen Harper is a 'Mensch'!

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