ISRAEL MUSINGS: OP-EDS & ARTICLES
- November 25, 2013
Posted by bonniekgoodman on November 25, 2013
Posted by bonniekgoodman on June 7, 2013
Following is a transcription of today’s statements by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper:
Prime Minister Netanyahu: “I want to express my pleasure at seeing Stephen Harper again. He’s proved he’s a real statesman, and Stephen, I think that what you did, severing ties with Iran, was not only an act of statesmanship, but an act of moral clarity.
We’ve heard Iran talk about destroying Israel, even now, here at this current round of the UN General Assembly, and the fact that you took such clear, decisive steps is a great example to be followed by other nations, many of which attended a conference in Tehran and said nothing.
I tried to say something yesterday, that I think reverberates now around the world, as you just told me, and that is to translate the agreement and principle of stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons to practice. In practice, that means setting red lines on their enrichment process. It’s their only discernible and vulnerable part of their nuclear program.
I think that if such red lines are set, I believe that Iran will back off, and I think this message is percolated [unclear] a lot of debate and also considerable discussions between the United States and us, And I also hope to take some minutes to discuss it with you as a great champion of freedom, and a great friend of Israel.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper: “Thank you, Prime Minister. It’s always wonderful to see you again and I look forward to discussing these very critical issues, obviously, our bi-lateral issues but some of these global issues. I spoke last night, certainly our country has not been shy about warning the world about the danger that the Iranian regime ultimately presents to all of us. As you know we want to see a peaceful resolution of all this and we work closely with our allies to try and alert the world to the danger this presents and the necessity of dealing with it.
I look forward to discussing that with you, and our shared values.
I look forward once again, great to see you and I look forward to our discussions.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu: “Je suis d’accord…”
Posted by bonniekgoodman on September 28, 2012
Posted by bonniekgoodman on September 12, 2012
President Shimon Peres praised Canada’s long friendship with Israel as he conducts a series of working meetings with leaders there.
Source: Israel National News, 5-7-12
Shimon Peres Reviews the Honor Guard
Canadian Governor-General David Johnston welcomed President Shimon Peres to Canada on Monday.
The two men followed protocol by reviewing the ceremonial honor guard that greeted Peres with a 21 gun salute and issuing joint statements, before holding a working meeting.
“I thank you for your invitation to visit your special country,” Peres said, speaking in French. “I carry with me Jerusalem’s deep gratitude to Ottawa for the enduring friendship that you showed us as close kin in the family of nations.”
Later, Peres said, “I visited Canada for the first time 60 years ago in search of a means to defend our country, and for friendship, and to open the doors of peace. I found these here, in Canada.”
“Ever since, I have carried in my heart the feeling that Canada is land which is friendly, supporting, and caring towards Israel. I have never felt Canada is indifferent,” he explained.
Peres added, “A visit to Canada is an opportunity to strengthen a very special relationship. Relations between countries are important and promising, as well as our commitment to ensure we live in days of peace, prosperity and growth.”
As Governor-General in Canada, Johnston fills a role as Ottawa’s federal vice regal representative of Canada’s monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.
His role is similar to that performed by Peres in Israel, but he also executes the constitutional duties of monarch in Canada, which remains a part of the British Commonwealth.
Johnston was appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper with Queen Elizabeth II’s consent.
Later, Peres is expected to hold a private working meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Afterward, he will attend an official lunch in honor of his visit with government ministers at the Canadian Parliament.
He is expected to discuss political issues including recent developments in the Iranian nuclear program, changes in the Middle East, and political relations between Israel and its neighbors.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has been highly supportive of Israel in the international arena.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on May 7, 2012
President Shimon Peres is flying to Canada Sunday for a five-day visit with the pro-Israel government and Jewish leaders, with the Iranian nuclear threat tops the agenda.
Canada is considered one of Israel’s best friends, and Ottawa has been solidly behind the Netanyahu government even when the Obama administration has been at odds with Israel.
President Peres will meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Opposition leader Thomas Muclair to discuss recent developments in Iran’s nuclear development as well as what the President’s office described “changes in the Middle East and relations between Israel and its neighbors.”
He will “express gratitude to the Canadian leadership for its stance alongside Israel,” a spokesperson added.
Peres is expected to promote economic and scientific cooperation between Israel and Canada and attend the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Royal Society of Canada and the Israeli Academy of Sciences and Humanities in the field of science and technology.
Jewish communities in Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal will host the President, highlighted by an Independence Day reception.
President Peres will deliver a speech to the Jewish community in Toronto Wednesday evening, after meeting with Ontario Premier Dalton James Patrick McGuinty during the day.
The Montreal Jewish community will host him at a synagogue Thursday morning before he concludes his trip with a meeting with Quebec Premier Jean Charest. Israel has been the victim of frequent anti-Israel protests in Quebec, a predominantly French-speaking province.
Most of the province’s Jews live in Montreal, and the Jewish population in Quebec has fallen from a peak of approximately 120,000 in 1971 to less than 93,000 today, according to the Canadian Jewish Federation.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on May 6, 2012
Posted by bonniekgoodman on April 26, 2012
Source: Can PM, 4-5-12
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement to mark the beginning of Passover:
“I would like to send my best wishes to those in Canada and around the world who will be celebrating Passover tomorrow. This holiday – which commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt – reminds us of the value of freedom and perseverance, and the importance of family, tradition and faith.
“Tomorrow evening, as families and friends gather for the traditional Seder meal to recognize this important holiday, it is also an opportunity to think of those who are still struggling and fighting for their freedom around the world.
“Laureen and I join in wishing you a peaceful and joyous Passover.”
Posted by bonniekgoodman on April 5, 2012
Prime Minister Stephen Harper walks down the Hall of Honour with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Parliament Hill in Ottawa Friday.
Source: National Post, 3-2-12
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began his meeting with Stephen Harper in Ottawa on Friday with a public declaration that Iran poses a “grave threat” to global security — adding that Israel is prepared to “defend” itself if necessary.
“The warnings that I and others have been giving over the years will materialize unless Iran is stopped. And that’s why I say the international community must do everything it can to stop it. And the danger is not only to Israel — it is obviously a danger to Israel — but I think it’s a danger to the whole world,” Mr. Netanyahu said.
The Israeli Prime Minister arrived in Canada against a backdrop of growing fears that Israel could unilaterally strike suspect Iranian nuclear facilities to delay or destroy that country’s nuclear capabilities.
“They hang gays, they stone women. This what they’re doing today without nuclear weapons and imagine what a regime like this would do if they had atomic weapons,” Mr. Netanyahu said.
In recent weeks, countries such as the United States and Britain have made it clear that that they are not in favour of such a military move by Israel — arguing it is not yet necessary, and fearing it would spark a much larger conflict in the Middle East.
U.S. President Barack Obama, in advance of his own meeting early next week with Mr. Netanyahu, was blunt in an interview released Friday, saying a premeditated Israeli attack would be “unacceptable.”
In some of his toughest comments yet on Tehran’s nuclear drive, Mr. Obama also warned that Israel and Iran should take seriously possible U.S. action against Iranian nuclear facilities if sanctions fail to stop the country’s atomic ambitions.
“I think that the Israeli government recognizes that, as president of the United States, I don’t bluff,” Obama told the Atlantic Monthly magazine in remarks published Friday.
“I also don’t, as a matter of sound policy, go around advertising exactly what our intentions are. But I think both the Iranian and the Israeli governments recognize that when the United States says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon, we mean what we say.”
Tehran insists its nuclear program is for civilian purposes only but Western nations suspect the Islamic republic is leading a covert program to develop a nuclear weapons capability and is not far from achieving its goal.
In recent weeks, it has not been clear where Canada — which has become a major ally of Israel under the Harper government — stands on the question of a premeditated attack on Iran.
Tehran insists its nuclear program is for civilian purposes only but Western nations suspect the Islamic republic is leading a covert program to develop a nuclear weapons capability and is not far from achieving its goal.
Netanyahu’s government has maintained that all options remain on the table with regard to action on Iran, whose firebrand leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has questioned Israel’s right to exist.
As he shook Mr. Harper’s hand before their meeting, Mr. Netanyahusaid he wanted to discuss with Mr. Harper “the remarkable turbulence that is shaking the Middle East, and of course Iran’s relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons.
“I know from many conversations that we’ve had that you share my view: That this is a grave threat to the peace and security of the world,” he said.
“And I think it’s important that the international community not allow this threat to materialize. For Israel, like any sovereign country, we reserve the right to defend ourselves against a country that calls and works for our destruction.”
He added that it was “particularly gratifying to be among such good friends here in Ottawa.”
For his part, Mr. Harper said Canada’s position on a pre-emptive strike on Iran was “very clear.”
“We of course recognize the right of Israel to defend itself as a sovereign state, as a Jewish state. That said, we want to see a peaceful resolution of this issue. And we want to see every action taken to get a peaceful resolution of this situation.”
Earlier, in the nearby House of Commons chamber, the government appeared to reveal a reluctance to endorse military action against Iran.
Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae asked Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird to clarify Canada’s position on the issue. He asked Mr. Baird if Canada supports countries such as the U.S. and Britain in their concern about a “unilateral” attack by any nation against Iran.
“We obviously don’t want to see any military action,” Mr. Baird replied.
“That’s why we’re working hard with the United States and the European Union, with the United Kingdom and others to take every single diplomatic effort necessary to try to ensure that Iran doesn’t achieve nuclear weapons status.”
“We believe right now the best course to take is every single diplomatic action. And that’s exactly what Canada is doing.”
Earlier, at a news conference, Mr. Rae said that his party shares the deep international concern about Iran’s nuclear ambitions and horrific human rights record.
But he said any action taken should be done on a multilateral basis — not just by one country.
“This is not a subject which affects Israel alone. It’s a question that touches countries around the world. None of us want to see a nuclear-armed Iran. None of us want to see an increase in tensions and conflict in the Middle East. I think it’s very important that we look at this not simply as an issue between Israel and Iran, but understand that it’s an issue that has much broader implications for the world.”
This is the Israeli leader’s second visit to Canada in three years.
The last time he was in Ottawa, in May 2010, Mr. Netanyahu was forced to cut his trip short to deal with the fallout of an Israeli commando raid on a Turkish ship bound for Gaza. Nine activists died in the highly controversial boarding and several others were wounded.
This time, Iran’s nuclear ambitions will likely be the top issue, with Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Harper expected to brainstorm ways to encourage and co-ordinate more international action against the Islamic republic.
This will likely include discussing a strategy to encourage the Obama administration to take a tougher stand, particularly an overt threat of military action, should Iran continue moving ahead with its nuclear program.
There has been a growing sense in recent months that Israel is on the verge of attacking Iran, as the latter continues to defy the international community and move ahead on its nuclear program, which many fear is aimed at building an atomic arsenal.
Mr. Harper and Mr. Netanyahu have developed a close personal relationship over the years as the Conservative government has made Canada one of Israel’s strongest international supporters. Mr. Netanyahu will publicly thank Mr. Harper for his “principled” support of Israel.
Mr. Netanyahu is also expected to meet with Gov. Gen. David Johnston during the visit.
According to the Ottawa-based Centre for Israel and Jewish Advocacy, Mr. Netanyahu will speak at a Jewish community breakfast Sunday before leaving for the United States later that day.
Source: CBC, 3-2-12
Canada wants a “peaceful resolution” to prevent further development of Iran’s nuclear program, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said during a press conference in Ottawa with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Harper’s counterpart, however, said “all options” to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons should be on the table.
Instability in the Middle East, including the situation in Syria, topped the agenda when the two leaders began meeting on Parliament Hill on Friday.
But among the “sea of troubles,” the most disturbing is Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, Netanyahu told reporters during a brief news conference.
“The international community must do everything it can to stop it,” he said.
Netanyahu’s government has recently been suggesting that Israel is considering launching a military attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
“I think there is agreement right now on the main powers that Iran should not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons and that all options should be left on the table in order to assure that that doesn’t happen,” he said.
Harper was asked whether Canada would support a pre-emptive strike on Iran, and he said the country’s intentions and capabilities remain “a serious concern” to Canada.
“In terms of hypothetical situations, I think as the prime minister is aware, Canada’s position is very clear. We of course recognize the right of Israel to defend itself as a sovereign state, as a Jewish state. That said, we want to see a peaceful resolution of this issue and we want to see every action taken to get a peaceful resolution of the situation,” Harper said.
The two leaders had a brief meeting after Netanyahu arrived on Parliament Hill, greeted by a military honour guard, and they are continuing their talks over a working lunch. Later Friday, Netanyahu will meet with Gov. Gen. David Johnston….READ MORE
Posted by bonniekgoodman on March 2, 2012
Israel has the right to defend itself against a country that wants to destroy it, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today as he began a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper that is expected to focus heavily on Iran.
After arriving on Parliament Hill and being greeted by a military honour guard, Netanyahu said he wanted to talk to Harper about the “remarkable turbulence that is shaking the Middle East” and about Iran’s “relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons.”
“I know from many conversations that we’ve had that you share my view that this is a grave threat to the peace and security of the world and I think it is important that the international community not allow this threat to materialize,” Netanyahu said to Harper as they held a photo opportunity in Harper’s office. “As for Israel, like any sovereign country, we reserve the right to defend ourselves against a country that calls and works for our destruction.
“On that note, I can say that it is particularly gratifying to be among such good friends here in Ottawa on a cold day with warm friendship.”
The two leaders are having a short meeting, then will speak to the news media. Harper will then host a working lunch with the Israeli prime minister and Netanyahu will also meet Friday with Governor General David Johnston at Rideau Hall….READ MORE
Prime Minister Stephen Harper meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, March 2, 2012. (Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Posted by bonniekgoodman on March 2, 2012
Source: AFP, 3-2-12
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Canada on Friday ahead of White House talks next week expected to focus on halting Iran’s controversial nuclear drive.
Shortly after his arrival, Netanyahu met privately with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a keen backer of Israel. He was to travel on to Washington on Sunday.
“Among the things I’d like to discuss with you is the remarkable turbulence that is shaking the Middle East, and of course, Iran’s relentless pursuit of a nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said to Harper as the two leaders sat down for talks in Harper’s parliamentary office.
“I know from many conversations we have had that you share my view that this is a grave threat to the peace and security of the world, and I think it is important that the international community not allow this threat to materialize.
“As for Israel, like any sovereign country we reserve the right to defend ourselves against a country that calls and works for our destruction.”….READ MORE
Posted by bonniekgoodman on March 2, 2012
Source: CJN, 10-6-11
“Canadian tradition is to stand for what is principled and just, regardless of whether it is popular or convenient or expedient.”
John Baird addresses the UN General Assembly on Sept. 26.
So said Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird just before launching into one of the most vigorous defences of Israel the United Nations General Assembly has heard by someone other than a representative of the Jewish state.
In his Sept. 26 speech in New York City, Baird praised the founding principles of the UN, but said that Canada, at least as governed by the Conservatives, will no longer “go along to get along” with the world body on any number of issues, particularly with respect to Israel.
“We supported the aspirations of those peoples who sought for themselves and their countries brighter futures during the Arab Spring that just passed,” he said. “But we will not go along with the unilateral actions of the Palestinian Authority.”
He called on the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table to reach a peace deal with Israel, saying it’s the only way to achieve statehood.
Baird then cemented Canada’s position on Israel.
“We uphold Israel’s right to exist. We uphold its fundamental right, like any member state, to defend innocent civilians against acts of terrorism. Just as fascism and Communism were the great struggles of previous generations, terrorism is the great struggle of ours.
“And far too often, the Jewish state is on the front line of our struggle and its people the victims of terror,” he said.
Baird added: “Canada will not accept or stay silent while the Jewish state is attacked for defending its territory and its citizens. It was accommodation and appeasement that allowed fascism to gather strength [prior to World War II]. As Winston Churchill said: ‘An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.’”
He then castigated the UN for consistently failing to live up to its founding vision and principles and urged its members to look at the continuing human rights violations worldwide that remain unaddressed and unsolved by the world body.
He cited the plight of women, Christians, Baha’i and other victims of persecution in Iran, as well as Roman Catholics, priests and “other Christian clergy, and their laity, driven to worship underground in China.”
Baird also noted the predicament of Christians being driven out of Iraq by Al Qaeda and Copts who are “being assaulted and killed” in Egypt.
“In Burma, the regime discriminates against several forms of Buddhism and restricts the activities of Muslims. In other places, the Ahmadiyya community faces violence,” Baird said. “Gays and lesbians [are] threatened with criminalization of their sexuality in Uganda.”
All of this, according to Baird, leads Canada to question “the relevance and effectiveness” of the UN at this time in world history.
“The challenges faced by this organization extend beyond financial probity and operational effectiveness,” he said. “This organization is a forum for debate and dialogue, but it must also be a force for positive action to make the world a better place. The UN’s relevance and effectiveness are imperiled when the founding principles are observed in word but not in deed.
“So it is when… Iran, which mocks the values of this organization through outrages such as refusing to allow entry to UN observers on human rights, is permitted to seek leadership roles, such as a vice-presidency of the General Assembly and a spot on the Commission on Population and Development. The greatest enemies of the United Nations are those who quietly undermine its principles and, even worse, those who sit idly, watching its slow decline. We cannot sit idly.”
Shimon Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), said his organization was “impressed and appreciative” of the speech.
“This was an important framing of what the overall Canadian orientation is [to Israel and the UN]. That is, we are going to pursue a transparently principled position on each issue that came up… and not accept complicity,” he said.
Fogel also thanked Baird for putting Canadian support for Israel within a “larger context.”
“We were extremely gratified at [Baird’s] courage and forthrightness. We think that will resonate strongly with likeminded countries within the international community and remind them of the imperative for them to adopt a similar approach.”
Posted by bonniekgoodman on October 6, 2011
Source: CJN, 9-26-11
“On behalf of myself and Laureen, I extend my best wishes to all those who are celebrating Rosh Hashanah.
“Rosh Hashanah – or the Jewish New Year, is the beginning of a significant period for Jewish people, known as the High Holy Days. It is a time to reflect on another year gone by through prayer and self-examination.
“Most importantly, Rosh Hashanah is a time when teshuva is performed, an act of repentance – taking the time to apologize to those you have wronged, and seeking to better yourself.
“During Rosh Hashanah, I hope that all Canadians take the opportunity to join with friends and neighbours and reflect on the innumerable contributions of the Jewish community to our country’s rich and diverse heritage.
“I wish the Jewish community a meaningful celebration and hope that the New Year brings you health, peace and prosperity.
“L’Shanah Tovah Tikatevu – May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for a good year”
Au nom de Laureen et en mon nom personnel, je transmets mes meilleurs vœux à tous ceux qui célèbrent Roch Hachana.
Roch Hachana, ou Nouvel An juif, est le début d’une période importante pour le peuple juif, appelée Les jours redoutables. C’est l’occasion de méditer sur une autre année qui vient de s’écouler par la prière et I’auto-examen.
Roch Hachana est surtout le moment où la techouva est accomplie, un acte de pardon. La personne demande pardon à ceux à qui il a fait du mal et s’efforce de s’améliorer.
Durant Roch Hachana, j’espère que tous les Canadiens se joindront à leurs amis et voisins pour réfléchir aux innombrables contributions de la communauté juive au patrimoine riche et diversifié de notre pays.
Je souhaite à la communauté juive de belles célébrations et j’espère que la nouvelle année lui apportera la santé, la paix et la prospérité.
L’Shanah Tovah Tikatevu – Soyez inscrits dans le livre de la vie pour une bonne année. »
Posted by bonniekgoodman on September 26, 2011
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, left, shakes hands with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a bilateral meeting at the United Nations Wednesday, September 21, 2011.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Source: The Canadian Press, 9-21-11
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has thanked Prime Minister Stephen Harper for his support for Israel.
The two leaders met at the United Nations on Wednesday as Harper wound up a two-day New York visit.
During a brief photo op, the two men both said the solution to the Israel-Palestinian impasse lies in a resumption of two-way peace talks, not a United Nations declaration of statehood for Palestine.
Harper, an outspoken supporter of Israel, opposes efforts by the Palestinians to win United Nations recognition of statehood. He says that move won’t help the Middle East peace process….READ MORE
Posted by bonniekgoodman on September 21, 2011
Source: Shalom Life, 7-13-11
On July 10, 2011, the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy (CIJA) hosted a reception at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, which celebrated the continued relationship between Israel and Canada. The event was also meant to mark Canada Day, although the festivities were a tad belated.
CIJA is the new, unified constellation for all of the public affairs agencies of the Canadian Jewish community. These include the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC), the Canada-Israel Committee (CIC) and the Quebec-Israel Committee (QIC), which all became part of one organization on July 1.
At the event, a formal bilateral agreement was signed, renewing the mandate of the Canada-Israel Industrial Research and Development Foundation (CIIRDF) for another five years. CIIRDF was established in 1994 with a goal of promoting collaborative research and development between private sector companies in Canada and Israel.
The organization focuses on the commercialization of new technologies, most of which are start-ups. Since its inception, the foundation has supported over 70 projects, which have yielded approximately $1 billion in revenue for the participating companies both in Israel and across Canada.
“For Canada, CIIRDF was an innovation,” reads CIIRDF’s website. “As a result of its success, the Government of Canada created International Science and Technology Partnerships Program (ISTPP) to deliver the India, China and Brazil programs. For Israel, CIIRDF is one of a number of similar bilateral initiatives, the first being the Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) initiative. The CIIRDF program design is based on the success of BIRD.”
Also according to CIIRDF’s website, the organization is involved in three main activities: “promoting and marketing the benefits of joint Canadian-Israeli R&D collaboration, matching companies in one country seeking a research partner in the other and supporting projects by contributing up to 50 per cent of the joint R&D costs.”
On hand for the high profile event in Jerusalem were over 140 Israeli and Canadian government leaders, academics, businessmen and community leaders. Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman; Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister, Yuli Edelstein; and Cabinet Secretary, Tzvi Hauser were all in attendance.
There were also other Israeli representatives there, such as deputy national security advisor to the Prime Minister, Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman; deputy director general of the foreign ministry, Ambassador Baruch Bina; former Israeli ambassador to Canada, Haim Divon; chairman of the Israel-Canada Parliamentary Friendship Group in Knesset, Yohanan Plesner MK; director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University, Professor Efraim Inbar; Professor Gil Troy of the Hartman Center and McGill University; Professor Gerald Steinberg of Bar-Ilan University; and NGO Monitor and Col. Yisrael Tal-Saranga, head of Israel Defense Forces public affairs.
The CIIRDF renewal was signed by Canadian Ambassador to Israel, Paul Hunt and Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman during the reception. Hunt thanked CIJA for hosting the elegant dinner reception in Jerusalem and noted Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper’s commitment to defending Israel “no matter the political cost.”
Five Canadian members of parliament were at the dinner, visiting Israel on their CIJA-sponsored trip. This list included James Bezan of Manitoba, Judy Foote of Newfoundland, Larry Miller from Ontario, Joyce Murray of British Columbia and Bev Shipley of Ontario. Professor Irwin Cotler of Quebec was also present to show his support. Immediate past UIAC president Barbara Farber, outgoing CIC chairman Moshe Ronen, and CIJA CEO Shimon Fogel all represented the Jewish community of Canada at the event.
Other Canadians in attendance were embassy deputy chief of mission, Katherine Verrier-Frechette; military attaché, Col. Michael McLean; commercial counselor, Bonnie Berger; Minister-Counselor, Andre Dorion; and the Canadian Representative to the Palestinian Authority, Chris Greenshields.
“This event serves as a much sought after platform to give expression to our deep appreciation for the extraordinary support Canada has demonstrated for Israel over the last number of years and to celebrate the warmth and depth of the friendship between our two democracies,” said Ronen, who spoke at the reception on behalf of Canada’s Jewish community.
“The principled stand that has characterized the policies of the Harper Government serve as the benchmark for all countries committed to democracy and justice, and the personal leadership he has shown is an inspiration and source of tremendous pride for all of us.”
Posted by bonniekgoodman on July 13, 2011
Source: Globe & Mail, 6-2-11
Canada wants Israel to use its 1967 borders as the starting point for negotiations with Palestinians seeking independence, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Wednesday, just days after Prime Minister Stephen Harper is said to have prevented such language from being included in a G8 statement on the matter.
Speaking to reporters on Parliament Hill, Mr. Baird backed U.S. President Barack Obama’s call for Israel to either return East Jerusalem to the Palestinians and dismantle settlements in the West Bank or hand over other territory in compensation as part of the creation of an independent Palestinian state.
“We support, obviously, that that solution has to be based on the ’67 border, with mutually agreed upon swaps, as President Obama said,” Mr. Baird said.
Although such a solution is widely accepted among the international community and the United Nations, the Israeli government has no desire to share Jerusalem with an independent Palestine. It has continued a process of moving Israeli settlers into Palestinian territory. When Mr. Obama affirmed his support for the 1967 border, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu roundly rejected it.
Politicians in North America have also steered clear of references to the 1967 borders, wary of upsetting the Israeli community. Mr. Harper, a staunch supporter of Israel, refused to support Mr. Obama’s words previously, even though they reflected Canada’s official position. As recently as last week, he stuck to the position at the G8 summit, diplomats said….
Mr. Baird said his statement was not an about-face in Tory policy, but he appeared not to be familiar with Resolution 242, the 1967 UN declaration calling on Israel to pull its troops back.
Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae, who has an interest in foreign affairs, demonstrated his knowledge of the issue with a casual reference to 242.
“Go back to President Nixon, Mr. Kissinger, all that, all the efforts, the Madrid process, the Oslo process, all the events, the Annapolis process, more recently the effort that President Obama began. All these efforts since what, 40 years, are based on 242.”
Posted by bonniekgoodman on June 2, 2011
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says Canada does support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – based on pre-1967 borders.
It’s a statement which goes further than Prime Minister Stephen Harper has so far been willing to say publicly.
“We support a two-state solution, we support, obviously – that solution has got to be based on the ’67 borders. With the mutually agreed upon swaps, as President Obama said,” Baird said today in response to reporters’ questions after a Conservative caucus in Ottawa.
When asked to clarify if he meant the pre-1967 borders, Baird was unequivocal: “We’ve said that’s Canadian foreign policy, yes.”
Ahead of last week’s G8 Summit in France, U.S. President Barack Obama said the “starting point” of a new round of Middle East peace talks should be the establishment of separate Israeli and Palestinian states based on the borders as they existed before the war of 1967, with negotiated land swaps.
However, no reference to that specific point was included in the G8′s final declaration. Several international news agencies reported that a mention of the 1967 borders was removed at the insistence of Harper.
At the conclusion of the summit, Harper was asked if he did, in fact, insist the language be changed.
Harper would only say: “We are pleased the statement coming out of the G8 is a balanced statement.”
When asked if he supported Obama’s approach, Harper replied: “I am comfortable with, very comfortable, we’re very much at ease with President Obama’s speech, but you can’t cherry pick elements of that speech.”
Posted by bonniekgoodman on June 2, 2011
Source: JTA, 5-30-11
Canada’s foreign minister has “strongly” urged against Canadian involvement in an international aid flotilla slated to leave for the Gaza Strip in late June.
John Baird called the planned aid flotilla “provocative and, ultimately, unhelpful to the people of Gaza.”
“I strongly urge those wishing to deliver humanitarian goods to the Gaza Strip to do so through established channels,” Baird said in a statement issued May 28.
Baird’s warning comes amid reports that an umbrella group representing about 100 Canadian organizations says it is planning to send a Canadian boat, named the Tahrir, to the Gaza Strip as part of the second international Freedom Flotilla.
The foreign minister’s words come nearly a year after Israeli Navy commandos stormed the Mavi Marmara, the flagship of an international aid flotilla bound for Gaza, killing nine Turkish activists and drawing worldwide condemnation.
This time, the flotilla is to comprise some 15 ships from several countries.
Baird said Canada “recognizes Israel’s legitimate security concerns and its right to protect itself and its residents from attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups, including by preventing the smuggling of weapons.”
A more “legitimate and constructive” way to help the people of Gaza, he suggested, is to donate to the International Committee of the Red Cross/Red Crescent.
Baird added that “Canada continues to call for the immediate return of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, held by Hamas for almost five years, to his family in Israel.”
Posted by bonniekgoodman on May 30, 2011
Source: Haaretz, 5-29-11
At the request of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper thwarted an announcement Friday by the G-8 countries that would have supported U.S. President Barack Obama’s statement that talks between the Palestinians and Israel should be based on the 1967 borders with exchanges of territory.
The G-8 countries – the United States, Russia, France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada – met in France on Thursday and Friday to discuss the situation in the Middle East.
|Prime Minister Netanyahu & Canadian Prime Minister Harper|
|Photo by: Reuters|
Obama presented his Middle East policy to the G-8 as an alternative to a unilateral Palestinian move to seek support for statehood in the United Nations General Assembly in September, and to clarify to the Palestinians that the international community takes a dim view of the Palestinians’ move to win statehood in the United Nations.
According to a senior government official in Jerusalem, Israel was concerned over the implications of a specific mention of support for Obama’s call for negotiations based on the 1967 borders and exchanges of territory, so the prime minister’s bureau and the Foreign Ministry began working on the matter as early as the middle of last week.
The Foreign Ministry instructed its envoys in the various capitals to ask that the G-8′s concluding statement emphasize three things: that a Palestinian state will arise only through direct negotiations, not through a unilateral move in the United Nations; opposition to Hamas-Fatah reconciliation as long as Hamas rejects the Quartet’s conditions; and opposition to a mention of the issue of 1967 borders and exchanges of territory. However, there was concern over whether inclusion of the latter issue could be prevented, the official said, because at least seven out of the eight G-8 countries supported including it.
Tuesday, after Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, he telephoned Harper, who heads a rightist government under whose leadership Canada has become one of Israel’s greatest allies.
The senior government official said Netanyahu told Harper that mentioning the issue of the 1967 borders in the statement, without mentioning the other issues, such as Israel as a Jewish state or opposition to the return of Palestinian refugees to Israel, will be detrimental to Israeli interests and a reward to the Palestinians.
“The prime minister is in constant contact with various leaders in moving ahead the diplomatic process,” Netanyahu’s bureau said.
Since a decision on the statement requires consensus, Canada’s efforts led to a release of the statement without reference to the 1967 borders.
The statement released expressed general support for the Obama speech, but called for the establishment of a Palestinian state through negotiations, not unilaterally, and for Hamas to accept the Quartet’s conditions.
Harper said Friday that he thought the statement issued was “balanced.” He also said it was important not to “cherry-pick” Obama’s statement. “I think if you’re going to get into other elements, obviously I would like to see reference to elements that were also in President Obama’s speech. Such as, for instance, the fact that one of the states must be a Jewish state. The fact that the Palestinian state must be de-militarized.”
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman spoke over the weekend with Canada’s foreign minister, John Baird, and thanked him for Canada’s position during the G-8 deliberations. “Canada is a true friend of Israel and with a realistic and proper view of things, it understands that the 1967 borders do not conform to Israel’s security needs and with the current demographic reality,” Lieberman said.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on May 29, 2011
Source: Globe & Mail, 5-27-11
Posted by bonniekgoodman on May 27, 2011
Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings and JBuzz. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in Jewish Studies at Concordia University.
Photograph by: Jean-Paul Pelissierr, Reuters
Posted by bonniekgoodman on May 27, 2011