April 5, 2006
Most Canadians were understandably dismayed when Ethics Commissioner Bernard Shapiro suddenly decided not to investigate Prime Minister Stephen Harper over the defection of Liberal MP David Emerson. According to Shapiro, the question of MP defections is a matter for Parliament to decide.
Of course, Harper claimed victory, but so what? Shapiro’s decision is far less significant than the judgment of the vast majority of Canadian voters, who rightly see Harper’s Hillbillies as hypocritical, moralistic amateurs. The electorate will have a chance to pass its own judgment fairly soon, because ineptitude and arrogance will surely bring the government down before year’s end.*
Adding strength to this scenario is Harper’s unconscionable decision to cut off aid to the democratically elected government of Palestine. Like the Emerson scandal, it raises questions of ethics, honesty and conflict-of-interest. This time, though, the RCMP or Parliament itself will have to be asked to investigate Harper. After all, we are talking about a high crime, not just a misdemeanor.
Canada cut off direct aid to the Palestinian government because Hamas won the election. That’s it. Period. Hamas didn’t do anything other than convince Palestinians that it was a better choice than Mahmoud Abbas’s quisling Fatah Party. Canada was even an observer nation during the election, which the international community demanded. The results were ruled fair, Israeli obstructionism notwithstanding.
Thus, one can sympathize with Deputy Prime Minister Nasser Shaer’s feelings of consternation and helplessness: “All the Palestinians are very disappointed. What’s happening? What’s going on? We are a people under occupation. We need help. Did we do anything? Has something happened that was done by Palestinians?”
Fact is the decision had nothing to do with Palestinians—or Canadians, for that matter. Harper works hand-in-glove with The Lobby, which dictates Middle East policy on behalf of Israel. Put simply, Harper is guilty of treason: He’s taking orders from agents of a foreign power and doing violence to national and international law.
As I wrote last time, on Jan. 2 Harper held a conference call with three high-ranking members of The Lobby, and he assured them Canada would not deal with Hamas because it was a “terrorist” organization. We saw this collusion first hand when Foreign Minister Peter MacKay was forced to repudiate his statement that Canada would maintain some level of support.
We know that The Lobby is calling the shots, because Harper’s decision is imbecilic. First, restoring aid was made contingent on Hamas recognizing Israel and renouncing violence, but there is no reciprocal demand for Israel to recognize Palestine and renounce violence.
Second, which “Israel” is Hamas supposed to recognize? The one from 1947, 1948, 1967, or 2006? Israel has never defined its borders. What Nahum Goldmann said in 1977, upon retiring as head of the World Jewish Congress holds true today:
“Israel has never presented the Arabs with a single peace plan. She has rejected every settlement plan devised by her friends and by her enemies. She has seemingly no other object than to preserve the status quo while adding territory piece by piece.”
How can Harper demand that Hamas abide by international agreements when Israel is a living contempt of international law?
Third, Hamas has no incentive to renounce violence, nor should it. It’s the only remaining means of self-defence, since the world refuses to come to Palestine’s defence. Here’s the mentality Palestinians are up against:
• “We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population,” David Ben-Gurion, May 1948;
• “[The Palestinians] would be crushed like grasshoppers ... heads smashed against the boulders and walls.” Itzhak Shamir, April 1, 1988.
Despite this admitted sadism, Canada treats Israel as a friend and Palestine as an enemy.
|Palestinians line up by the dozen to buy bread from a bakery in Gaza City on March 19. Bakery owners complained they were running out of flour due to continued Israeli closures of the only viable commercial crossing with the Gaza Strip.
Photo: Wesam Saleh (MaanImages) from electronicintifada.net
Fourth, starving the Hamas government of funds will do nothing to help end violence. It will only cause mass suffering and deprivation since the government employs one in three Palestinians and is responsible for administering a host of social and economic programs. (See sidebar.)
The $7.3 million MacKay said Canada will suspend would actually go toward funding women’s centres. Are Canadians supposed to believe that punishing Palestinian women will bring about peace? Canada is a signatory to the Geneva Conventions and the UN Declaration of Human Rights, and everything Harper is doing to Palestine is a betrayal of our commitment to these agreements.
Fifth, Harper is a member of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, a zionist cult that adheres to the dispensationalist dogma of bringing all Jews into Palestine so that Jesus can do a terrestrial encore. As any self-respecting theologian will tell you this is insane, but it is the essence of Christian zionism: Palestine is only for the Jews; the Arabs have no place. Israel’s first minister of education, Ben-Zion Dinur would agree:
“In our country there is room only for the Jews. We shall say to the Arabs: Get out! If they don’t agree, if they resist, we shall drive them out by force.”
Punishing Hamas is gratuitously cruel, and gratuitous cruelty is a founding principle of Israel, not Canada. Just as voters in Vancouver-Kingsway still refuse to accept Emerson’s defection, all Canadians must refuse to allow Harper to be both Canada’s prime minister and Israel’s viceroy.
* See “Stephen Harper sets idiocy record—commits political suicide during swearing-in ceremony,” www.gregfelton.com, Feb. 8, 2006.
† Cited in The Globe and Mail, March 31, 2006.