Sunday, August 10, 2014

Why Stephen Harper Is Not A Real Friend of Israel

He likes to pose as Israel's best friend. Or as Benjamin Netanyahu's best buddy. 

And would have us believe that supporting the right-wing Netanyahu regime is the best way to support Israel.

When it is not, for as Tony Burman points out, Harper's buddy Benny may be the only winner of the savage War on Gaza.

Congratulations, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Mission accomplished — at least on your terms. Your government’s war on Gaza has resulted in more than 1,800 Palestinian deaths, most of them civilian, including nearly 400 children. But as the latest ceasefire began Tuesday, only three Israeli civilians had been killed and your approval rating among fellow Israelis stood at an overwhelming 77 per cent.

But he's no real friend of Israel either...

The widespread atrocities inflicted by the Israelis on Gaza and the terror unleashed by Hamas on southern Israel were both criminal and unnecessary. But the horrific scale of Israel’s military response — a form of collective punishment of the Palestinian people — will do more to imperil the future of the State of Israel than undermine the Palestinian cause.

For by continually sabotaging the peace process, and killing so many Palestinians so casually, Netanyahu is in fact endangering Israel's long term survival. And is in reality Hamas' best buddy.

Through its occupation and blockade, sustained by a military that is overwhelmingly funded by the U.S. and supported by other Western countries such as Canada, Israel has created an “open-air prison” in Gaza that can only produce despair and hopelessness among Palestinians. It is in this environment that a Hamas can thrive.

And by supporting him so unconditionally so is Stephen Harper. Who is not only encouraging the savage slaughter of Palestinian children... 

But is also helping Netanyahu turn that country into a right-wing nightmare. Where sympathy is dead.

Even before the war, Israel was shifting right, as an increasingly strident cadre of politicians took ownership of the public debate on security and foreign affairs. But the Gaza conflict has accelerated the lurch -- empowering nationalistic and militant voices, dramatically narrowing the space for debate, and eroding whatever public sympathy remained for the Palestinians.

Scattered anti-war rallies have drawn small crowds, mostly in the low hundreds; the largest brought several thousand people to Tel Aviv on July 26. But most of the protests ended in violence at the hands of ultranationalists, who attacked them and set up roving checkpoints to hunt for "leftists" afterwards. Demonstrators have been beaten, pepper-sprayed, and bludgeoned with chairs.

Dissent is violently suppressed, and great moral voices like Gideon Levy, a writer I hugely admire, must fear for his life....

I've never had it so harsh, so violent, and so tense," Levy said."We will face a new Israel after this operation ... nationalistic, religious in many ways, brainwashed, militaristic, with very little empathy for the sacrifice of the other side. Nobody in Israel cares at all."

Which is a situation I deeply regret, for we need those brave voices more than ever.

And their absence or smothering will only delay the day when Palestinian kids and Israeli kids can live together in peace, free from terror and pain...

Which must happen some day, and is the only thing I want.

But of course, as a Canadian, what I also most deeply regret is that Stephen Harper is our Prime Minister.

And enemy of Canada and it's once precious values.

An enemy of peace.

An enemy of the oppressed Palestinian people.

And no real friend of Israel...

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  1. Anonymous9:23 AM

    The situation is so tragic that I cannot find the words. Keep telling it Simon.

    1. hi anon...It is indeed tragic, and I find it really hard to write about it. It's the last and best time of the summer, I'd rather ride my bike, or lie on a beach, or smell the flowers before they die. I'd rather not think, at least for a while, about all the horrible things in this world. But I think it's time that the whole world said enough is enough, and forced a just peace agreement on the two parties. Or this mad horror show will just go on and on...

  2. Although I'll be condemned for saying what anyone with an ounce of humanity is thinking, don't care..
    If this isn't Germany in the 30's, paranoid and insensitive to the condemnation of rest of the world, and rallying around a profoundly nasty dictatorial regime and turning a bind eye, or even condoning, atrocities committed in their names, I think that it's damn close....

    1. hi mizdarlin...I'd rather not make historical comparisons, because they're always flawed. What we have here I think is a unique situation, shaped by history, but is at its heart blindingly obvious. When you subjugate and brutalize people for forty years, what else can you expect but to brutalize yourself?

  3. e.a.f.6:35 AM

    Benny isn't Israeli's best friend. He maybe the P.M. but not the best friend the country has. He has his agenda and it strikes me that agenda is to remain in office and enjoy the perks. His buddy stevie slime, well they ought to get a room together somewhere and form a mutual admiration society and leave their respective countries alone.