Inside meetings of la Francophonie and the G8, Mr. Harper has personally inserted himself – or instructed Canadian diplomats to insert themselves – to block resolutions even mildly critical of Israel, including references to the settlements. Mr. Harper has thus isolated Canada from its traditional allies such as the United States, Britain and France.
After last fall’s UN General Assembly meeting, Israel announced new settlements. Barack Obama’s administration criticized the move. So did the European Union. The German Chancellor personally phoned Mr. Netanyahu and asked him to desist. Canada said nothing.
At that UN meeting, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird wrote his own speech, an over-the-top effort laced with fiery rhetoric supporting Israel and damning its foes. Mr. Baird, on becoming the minister, had informed his department that he didn’t want to hear from experts there because he and the government had already fixed their positions on Israel and the Middle East.
Should Israel attack Iran’s nuclear installations – an attack Mr. Netanyahu will be discussing next week in Washington – he can assume complete support from Mr. Harper. The Canadian Prime Minister has already portrayed Iran in the worst possible light, using language that parallels the most hard-line rhetoric within Israel. He even suggested Iran might use nuclear weapons should they be constructed, as if the Iranians were completely suicidal.
Yup, that’s where we’re at now. Canada wasn’t always like this (among other things, we have a free-trade agreement with both Israel and Palestine) but at this point the government has this bizarrely obsequious attitude towards Israel wherein our national Middle East policy is whatever the Israeli government says it should be.
I’m not sure whom the target audience is here. On first glance you’d imagine it’s Jewish voters, but I really don’t think the marginal benefit of totally letting Israel call the shots (as a change from the previous strongly pro-Israel policy) could be that great, as the subdemographic of Jewish voters who are impressed by that sort of thing is not only relatively small but also probably already votes Conservative. And polling shows that the regions with the most Jewish voters are sliding back towards the Liberals, anyway.
Going to assert that the target audience is more likely evangelical Protestants within the party who want to see as pro-Israel an outlook as possible, because they are working off the American narrative that somehow the State of Israel is innately pro-white evangelical Protestant and therefore deserves support (or something). At any rate, it’s seriously unimpressive.