Stephen Harper’s Speech To Israel’s Knesset
January 21, 2014 Leave a comment
Those who scorn modernity, who loathe the liberty of others, and who hold the differences of peoples and cultures in contempt; those who, often begin by hating the Jews, but, history shows us, end up hating anyone who is not them; those forces, which have threatened the state of Israel every single day of its existence, and which, today, as 9/11 graphically showed us, threaten us all.
And so, either we stand up for our values and our interests, here, in Israel, [and] stand up for the existence of a free, democratic and distinctively Jewish state or the retreat of our values and our interests in the world will begin….
Unfortunately…we live in a world where…moral relativism runs rampant. And in the garden of such moral relativism, the seeds of much more sinister notions can be easily planted. And so we have witnessed, in recent years, the mutation of the old disease of antisemitism and the emergence of a new strain.
We all know about the old antisemitism. It was crude and ignorant, and it led to the horrors of the death camps. Of course, in many dark corners, it is still with us.
But, in much of the western world, the old hatred has been translated into more sophisticated language for use in polite society. People who would never say they hate and blame the Jews for their own failings or the problems of the world, instead declare their hatred of Israel and blame the only Jewish state for the problems of the Middle East.
As once Jewish businesses were boycotted, some civil-society leaders today call for a boycott of Israel. On some campuses, intellectualized arguments against Israeli policies thinly mask the underlying realities, such as the shunning of Israeli academics and the harassment of Jewish students. Most disgracefully of all, some openly call Israel an apartheid state….
Think about the twisted logic and outright malice behind that: a state, based on freedom, democracy and the rule of law, that was founded so Jews can flourish, as Jews, and seek shelter from the shadow of the worst racist experiment in history, that is condemned, and that condemnation is masked in the language of anti-racism….
But this is the face of the new antisemitism. It targets the Jewish people by targeting Israel and attempts to make the old bigotry acceptable for a new generation.
Of course, criticism of Israeli government policy is not in and of itself necessarily antisemitic. But what else can we call criticism that selectively condemns only the Jewish state and effectively denies its right to defend itself while systematically ignoring – or excusing – the violence and oppression all around it?….
In the sixty-five years that modern Israel has been a nation, Israelis have endured attacks and slanders beyond counting and have never known a day of true peace.
And we understand that Israelis live with this, impossible calculus: If you act to defend yourselves, you will suffer widespread condemnation, over and over again. But, should you fail to act, you alone will suffer the consequence of your inaction, and that consequence will be final, your destruction….
Of course, no nation is perfect. But neither Israel’s existence nor its policies are responsible for the instability in the Middle East today….
For too many nations, it is still easier to scapegoat Israel than to emulate your success. It is easier to foster resentment and hatred of Israel’s democracy than it is to provide the same rights and freedoms to their own people….
We truly hope that it is possible to walk the Iranian government back from taking the irreversible step of manufacturing nuclear weapons. But, for now, Canada’s own sanctions will remain fully in place….
I believe the story of Israel is a great example to the world. It is a story, essentially, of a people whose response to suffering has been to move beyond resentment and build a most extraordinary society [and] a vibrant democracy….
Watch the video here.