ONE of the Jewish State’s most loyal friends abroad, former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper, received a standing ovation at the United Israel Appeal’s (UIA) 2017 campaign gala event at Sydney’s Darling Harbour Theatre on Monday – before he even spoke.
He responded by delivering a power-packed keynote speech in support of Israel, with such conviction, that it was regularly interrupted by applause.
Under his leadership from 2006 to 2015, Harper said Canada’s “recognition of Israel’s right to exist was unconditional, our support of Israel’s right to self-defence was unequivocal, and our refusal to single out Israel for criticism was unwavering”.
Harper added that while many world leaders agreed with his stance during private meetings, in many cases “once the cameras would roll, that was a different matter”.
“The truth is that Western politicians today face a torrent of venom in some circles of the media against Israel.
“But just remember this … in my country, and I’m sure the same thing is true in this country, speak the truth and the vast majority of the population will get it.
“Notwithstanding all of the vicious attacks I took on Israel, support for our position among Canadians actually went up during my term of office – a position our successors can only now reverse at their peril.
“So I tell my friends in politics around the world, never be afraid to take the right position on Israel.”
Harper revealed many of his beliefs were inspired by his late father, Joe. “He believed that those who, like Hitler, hate or threaten the Jewish people will inevitably hate and threaten all of us.”
Harper said in recent years “we have witnessed the old disease of anti-Semitism mutate into new strains”.
“My son showed me a BDS sign that appeared on a Canadian university campus – and it could have been from Berlin in 1938.
“This is the face of the new anti-Semitism – it targets the Jewish people by targeting Israel, and it attempts to make the old bigotry acceptable for a new generation.
“Most disgraceful of all, some people openly call Israel an apartheid state.
“It is nothing short of sickening, and we should denounce it with as loud a voice as we can.”
Turning to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Harper stressed the fundamental reason there is no peace is because “too many Palestinians – have for generation after generation refused to accept the right of the Jewish State to exist”.
Head of Appleseeds Academy Dafna Lifshitz and Tzur Goldin, whose twin brother Hadar was kidnapped and killed by Hamas in 2014, also spoke at the event.