Canadian Arab News
|Israel’s most enthusiastic sycophant acts more like an ass than an asset
February 11, 2008
The Israel Lobby’s control of Canada’s foreign policy is sustainable if and only if the Canadian public can’t sense it. The illusion of a national foreign policy must be maintained, both to insulate The Lobby from public scrutiny and to prevent the government from having to explain to its own people why it puts the interests of a foreign power ahead of national and international law.
Recent demonstrations of arrogance and a sense political omnipotence, though, have exploded this illusion. Two events in particular—one of which was utterly avoidable—have exposed the The Lobby’s controlling influence in Ottawa, and helped undermine the tenuous régime of Israel’s proconsul Stephen Harper.
The avoidable event occurred in mid-January after the Lobby yanked too hard on Foreign Minion Maxime Bernier’s choke chain.
During a press conference in Ramallah, Palestine, Bernier said Canada generally opposes any expansion of Jewish colonies in the West Bank, but refused to make any specific comment on the new construction taking place at the Har Homa colony on the site of the Arab village Jebel abu Ghneim. Bernier’s omission caused a bit of a stir since it seemed to suggest that the Harper régime was tacitly repudiating Canadian law:
• UN Security Council Resolution 242, which deems Israel’s entire occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights to be illegal, is a cornerstone of Canada’s Middle East policy;
• any zionist construction on any occupied Arab land is therefore illegal by definition;
• Har Homa is a zionist construction project;
• Therefore, Bernier had no reason to avoid condemning it since he had already affirmed Canada’s objection to colony construction.
Bernier’s silence on Har Homa was so bizarre that it even roused the dutifully zionist Globe and Mail from its slumber to remark on Canada’s servility to Israel—and on the front page, no less:
“Mr. Bernier appeared to have made Canadian foreign policy the most pro-Israeli in the world. Last week, even the United States, usually Israel’s staunchest ally, slammed the new construction here.…Tacitly accepting construction at Har Homa would mark a shift in Canada’s position. When digging first began in 1997 at the site, Canada was among 134 United Nations members to condemn the construction, with Israel, the U.S. and Micronesia as the only dissenters.”
Mark McKinnon, who wrote the piece, said that requests for an explanation of Bernier’s non-answer were met with regurgitations of the general statement. Bernier’s silence was not even acknowledged! Furthermore, McKinnon noted that Bernier’s bizarre silence was not accidental:
“Mr. Bernier received a long briefing on Israeli-Palestinian matters before his two-day visit to the region yesterday, suggesting that his silence was not the result of ignorance.” In this short sentence we have confirmation that Bernier’s silence was deliberate and orchestrated by The Lobby. After all, Harper hearkens only unto the voices of zionist rectitude, and tolerates no dissent.
Not only did The Lobby tell Bernier what to say before the trip, a delegation from the Canada Israel Committee chaperoned Bernier during the trip to make sure he stayed on script. Thanks to the Globe story, the zionist occupation of our government has been published in the mainstream press.
|“_________________,” said Foreign Minion Maxime Bernier when asked to explain why he did not condemn the illegal, segregationist Har Homa colony.
The irony is that the Lobby could easily have prevented this exposure. It would have cost nothing to let Bernier condemn the Har Homa colony—or at least say something about it—and allow the Harperites the illusion of policy control. If the régime in Washingtelaviv could get away with issuing a pro-forma condemnation, Ottawa should be able to do the same.
For example, when Har Homa began in 1997 Canada joined the rest of the civilized world in condemning it. Israel, which consistently disregards the opinions of the civilized word, went ahead regardless. Since Canada’s opinions at the time made no difference, anything Bernier might have said about the new construction would be just as irrelevant, and would quickly be forgotten anyway. Now, all people will remember is Bernier’s bout of “laryngitis” and the conspicuous meddling of The Lobby in Canada’s affairs.
The preceding scenario presupposes, of course, that Bernier would have been allowed to speak out against Har Homa if The Lobby had given him permission to do so. Such a scenario is unlikely, since Harper is an enthusiastic supporter of Israel’s Occupation and its campaign to rid Palestine of its native semitic Arab population.
Where Israel leaves off and Canada begins is now anybody’s guess, which means we can expect more embarrassing episodes like this. With any luck, continuing media coverage, limited though it may be, will make an impression on voters come the spring election, which appears inevitable.
Diktat and Cowardice
If the Har Homa incident was avoidable, The Lobby’s reaction to the government’s terrorist watch list was not, although the effect on Canada was the same. The list came to light after the government gave it to Amnesty International as part of a case it launched against Ottawa over the treatment of detainees in Afghanistan.
After Israel and the U.S. found themselves on the list of countries that practice torture, Harper rushed to fix the “error.” In a grovelling statement Bernier regretted the embarrassment caused by the disclosure: “It contains a list that wrongly includes some of our closest allies. I have directed that the manual be reviewed and rewritten.”
(Note: Israel is not an ally of Canada, just as it is not an ally of the U.S. No formal treaty binds Israel to either country, because treaties are legal documents, and Israel will not be bound by laws.)
Again, any attempt to find an explanation for Bernier’s action met with cognitive dissonance. I called Bernier’s office a number of times to ask on what basis the government repudiated its own report: Was there an error of fact? Who made the decision to remove Israel and the U.S.?
Robin Drummond, Bernier’s assistant director of communications [sic] passed my message on to his boss, Neil Hrab, who e-mailed me the following informative response: “Dear Mr. Felton: The Minister’s statement (see link below) speaks for itself.”
Hrab did not seem to appreciate that if Bernier’s message spoke for itself I would not need to ask for an explanation. I went back for a better answer and this time found that the formerly helpful Drummond would not return my calls.
Such is the autocratic cowardice that now typifies Canada’s government. We no longer have politicians who debate policy in the national interest and are accountable to Parliament. We have theocrats and stooges who take their marching orders from foreign governments. Because Harper knows his actions are politically and ethically indefensible, he’s afraid to answer the simplest questions. Hell, he can’t even come up with a half-decent lie!
Evidence that Israel and the U.S. practise torture has been voluminously reported in the mainstream press, and the perpetrators even justify it. In May 2007, The Guardian reported that the Israeli Supreme Court formally approved the use of torture on Palestinians. Shin Bet, Israel’s Gestapo, said torture was necessary to thwart terrorist attacks.
As for the U.S., its use of torture at abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay prisons is common knowledge. We have the pictures. Also, the Pentagon’s use of waterboarding, a form of torture, was openly debated during the Senate confirmation hearings of “attorney general” nominee Michael Mukasey, who defended the practice in the name of fighting terrorism. (The quotes indicate that the title is vestigial, since the rule of law has long since been abrogated.)
Since Canada officially opposes torture and is a signatory to both the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the Geneva conventions, there can be no rational explanation for exempting Israel and the U.S. from the list of torture sponsoring countries. We must therefore search for an irrational explanation, and that path leads us to the The Lobby, and by extension the U.S.
The image that will linger in the minds of Canadians will not be Har Homa or the torture manual, but Harper’s cowardly disdain for honesty and accountability. In fact, it’s hard to call Harper a politician because that would presuppose a capacity to act rationally in the national interest. Harper rules by diktat, stifles informed dissent, and refuses to explain his actions, because policies and laws are impediments to reducing Canada to a satrapy of Israel and the U.S.
In the latest public opinion polls, the Harperites have fallen into a tie with the Liberals, led by the lacklustre Stéphane Dion. Doubtless, Harper feels that he should force an election sooner rather than later, and doubtless many Canadians would like an excuse to consign him to political oblivion, but returning the Liberals to power won’t free Canada from The Lobby and prevent future humiliations.