Sunday, January 26, 2014

Canada and Australia exert moral leadership and influence

From Caroline Glick, Friday, January 24th, 2014:

Harper Bibi

...under Stephen Harper...Canada has emerged as an outspoken supporter and defender of the Jewish state.

...Harper acknowledged ...that yes, Canada has lost contracts in some Arab countries due to its support for Israel. But by and large, it hasn’t taken a serious hit.

...Canada, and other countries that support Israel now, when such support is more notable than it was in the past, do gain significantly from their actions. This is true on two levels.

First, economically, Israel is in a far different position than it was 20 years ago. During Harper’s visit, Canada and Israel updated their free trade agreement and signed a number of other agreements enhancing cooperation in multiple fields.

As Netanyahu said, “I think that cooperation makes us both stronger and more prosperous and more secure countries.”

...Today, the economies of the Arab world are collapsing. Fracking technologies are lowering demand for Middle Eastern oil. Political instability is drying up foreign investment and tourism. And local universities are incapable of producing graduates able to function in the global economy.

As a consequence, the Arabs’ capacity to intimidate governments into rejecting the economic benefits Israel has to offer is steadily decreasing.

Israel’s ability to compensate for potential loss of Arab business is not the main reason why supporting Israel helps Canada. Far more importantly for Canada, support for Israel gives Ottawa a say in global affairs. Canada today has the power to shape the global agenda to a degree it never had before.

...Under Harper’s leadership, Canada has become a player in the global arena for the first time. And this achievement owes in large part to his decision to support Israel.

Since the US became the leader of the free world at the end of World War II, several of its loyal allies built up their international position by exerting moral leadership and so convincing Washington – through inspiration or shame – to follow their example.

...By standing with Israel, Canada is filling a part of the leadership vacuum that the Obama administration has created by stepping away from the US’s responsibilities as the leader of the free world. From the G8 to the UN and beyond, Canada’s support for Israel has enabled Ottawa to influence US and European policy to a degree it never has before.

Canada’s enhanced moral stature was demonstrated this week with UNESCO’s abrupt decision to cancel the opening of an exhibition on the Jewish people’s 3,500-year history in the Land of Israel that was scheduled to open at UNESCO’s Paris Headquarters on Sunday.

Canada, Israel and Montenegro co-sponsored the exhibition which was organized jointly by the Simon Wiesenthal Center and UNESCO.

On January 9, the US rejected the Wiesenthal Center’s request for US co-sponsorship.

Kelly Siekman, director of the Office of UNESCO Affairs at the State Department wrote,
“At this sensitive juncture in the ongoing Middle East peace process, and after thoughtful consideration with review at the highest levels, we have made the decision that the United States will not be able to co-sponsor the current exhibit during its display at UNESCO headquarters.”
In other words, the Obama administration opted to reject the historical fact that the Jews are the indigenous people of the Land of Israel in order to promote a peace process with the PLO, which, like the Arab world in general, rejects historical fact in its bid to delegitimize with the aim of destroying the Jewish state.

Five days after Siekman rejected the Wiesenthal Center’s request, the Arab members of UNESCO wrote a letter to UNESCO President Irina Bokova demanding that the exhibition be canceled, in the interest of the peace process. Bokova quickly bowed to their will, in the interest of the peace process.

While the administration was quick to condemn UNESCO’s decision, it was left stuttering when the media discovered that UNESCO’s actions were of a piece with the administration’s own policy decision.
The administration’s embarrassment at this revelation was exponentially amplified by the fact that its duplicity, hypocrisy and preference for political expedience over historical facts came to light while Harper was in Israel, since unlike the Obama administration, the Harper government did co-sponsor the canceled exhibition.
Harper emerged from the UNESCO affront to the historical record as an unrivaled force of conscience and as a moral leader on a world stage populated by opportunists, at best. His position served as a warning to the US that its sacrifice of truth on the altar of the peace process will not go unnoticed.

Canada, it should be noted, is not the only country whose support for Israel is distinguishing it as a moral leader and facilitating its rise to a position of global influence.
Australia’s new center-right Liberal government is also making a name for itself by rejecting anti-Israel nostrums that have become accepted wisdom despite the fact that they are based on lies.

For instance, for years, the false Arab claim that Israeli communities beyond the 1949 armistice lines are illegal under international law has gone unchallenged. But last week, Australian Foreign Minister Julia Bishop dropped a bombshell when, in an interview with The Times of Israel, she broke from the consensus of mendacity saying, “I would like to see which international law has declared them illegal.”

Statements by Australian foreign ministers seldom receive global coverage. But Bishop’s did.

And the more outspoken Australia is in its support for Israel and rejection of the discourse of lies that characterizes the discussion of Israel, the more attention Australia will get and the more influential it will become on the world stage.

Like Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Harper’s decision to support Israel is rooted in his most deeply held convictions about right and wrong. There is nothing opportunistic about his policy.

It is therefore wonderful and empowering that by staying true to his beliefs, Harper is also transforming Canada into a force to be reckoned with on the global stage. Moreover, he is setting an example that will likely be followed by more and more countries, as the benefits of his embrace of Israel become widely recognized.
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