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Dear Mr. Harper, your commitment to human rights is astounding

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Dear Prime Minister Harper,

As a Canadian, I would like to thank you for your upright speech in front of the Israeli Knesset.

One thing I do value in politicians and leaders is transparency, openness and a lack of hypocrisy! If anyone had any doubt in where you stand in the question of universal human justice, then this person will now be reassured of your precise position.

In your forthright honesty you are breaking ranks with Canada’s duplicitous past, when, for example, it was playing lip service to the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa while behind covers aligning itself with the white apartheid government and against the ANC. Such silly posturing! I am thrilled to see that you feel no need to lower yourself to these past leaders of our country.

The fact that close to 7000 Palestinians have been killed by Israel since the outbreak of the second intifada, of which 1380 were children and adolescents, or the fact that close to 2000 Palestinians have been displaced over only the past two years in East Jerusalem and the West Bank (area C), and 1267 Palestinian structures have been demolished during that time, while Israeli settlements on occupied land have been expanding in ever increasing numbers -- none of these well-documented facts, facts, Mr. Prime Minister, not opinions, can topple your stead-fast support for the country of Israel. This is undying loyalty and strength of character at its best! 

And then there is that movement of boycott-divestment-sanctions (BDS), similar to the boycott campaign against the South African Apartheid regime, led by an increasing number of citizens, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, atheist or other. Of course you may have helped raise awareness for this BDS campaign by mentioning it in your speech. But it was well worth that risk, as you made the point of bluntly labelling that bunch as nothing but camouflaged anti-Semites, again exhibiting your splendid moral courage! 

You point out the "twisted logic and outright malice" of those accusing Israel of apartheid policies. May I quote you: "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."

Precisely! How can it be logically possible that a state founded after the horrendous crimes of the Nazi holocaust could be guilty of any crime of discrimination itself?! So why even bother to look at what Israel does with or to the Palestinians. Israel is logically unable to be guilty of undemocratic or -- god-forbid -- racist acts! I get it totally. Yes, Mr. Harper, yes, you did make me think about that!

And who cares that those from civil society that call for a boycott include Jews from all over the world, including Israel?! They are but self-hating Jews!

And what if the International Criminal Court has condemned the separation barrier! (Or, as it is preposterously called in certain circles, the 'annexation wall,' or even worse, apartheid wall!)

And what if organizations such as Oxfam have distanced themselves from individuals engaged in publicity campaigns for Israeli products produced on occupied land (the cheek to call them occupied lands)?

And what if one academic association after the other joins the BDS campaign against Israel?!

After all, haven’t we learned from history that anti-Semitism can afflict the best of them?

And especially this insidious new type of anti-Semitism, which, as you put it so adroitly "has been translated into more sophisticated language for use in polite society." (Apologies -- I cannot seem to refrain from citing your poignant and impressive prose!)

We know leaders of countries of the free world can be complicit in anti-Semitism! History told us, but last time it was too late. To mention one well-known example from back home: was it not our honourable Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King himself who visited Germany in 1937 and met with Hitler, and likened him to mythical Wagnerian heroes, hoping that "the world will yet come to see a very great man–mystic in Hitler?"

Yes, it is true, Mackenzie King did not agree with Hitler’s oppression of Jews. Yes, it’s true, the official position of Canada was not complicit with Hitler’s evil agenda. But did Mackenzie King say this to Hitler? Did he point it out to him?!No, he was practically mesmerized by the man

So there we go. Mackenzie King did the wrong thing back then. But you, Prime Minister Harper, you are doing the right thing! You stand up against the new anti-Semitism! History will judge you for it.

And what if some say that anti-Semitism includes Arabs? Don’t you let that dissuade you from your forthright stance! It is but more "sophisticated language," "masked in the language of anti-racism" (oh dear, again quoting your words!). And it will be revealed as such when history judges them, and you!

Greetings from a proud Canadian,

Máire Noonan

Montreal, Quebec

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