AJC Praises Canadian PM’s Stirring Words on Israel, Anti-Semitism

New York – November 9, 2010 – AJC praised Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for his forceful speech at the meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism (ICCA) in Ottawa. Harper pledged that Canada would stand by Israel “whatever the cost,” while vigorously combating anti-Semitism in Canada and abroad.

“We pay tribute to Prime Minister Harper’s stirring words,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “We were particularly moved by the Prime Minister’s statement that support for Israel cost Canada a seat on the UN Security Council, yet he insists that support will never waver.”

Canada lost its bid for the UN Security Council seat in mid-October. Opposition from Islamic states scuttled Canada’s hopes of winning a temporary seat on the 15-member body.

Addressing the issue of anti-Semitism, Harper told the Ottawa gathering, “While its substance is as crude as ever, its method is now more sophisticated.”

“Harnessing disparate anti-Semitic, anti-American and anti-Western ideologies, it targets the Jewish people by targeting the Jewish homeland, Israel, as the source of injustice and conflict in the world, and uses, perversely, the language of human rights to do so,” Harper continued.

“We must be relentless in exposing this new anti-Semitism for what it is. Of course, like any country, Israel may be subjected to fair criticism. And like any free country, Israel subjects itself to such criticism – healthy, necessary, democratic debate. But 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. Demonization, double standards, delegitimization, the ‘3 D’s,’ it is a responsibility, to stand up to them,” the Prime Minister declared.

“This speech is nothing short of historic,” added Harris. “The Canadian leader minced no words in speaking with a remarkable moral courage and clarity that, sadly, is all too rare in today’s world.”