"The PM's holiday reading includes former Canadian PM Stephen Harper's Right Here, Right Now... " (Our pollies brought to book over summer, Troy Bramston, The Australian, 11/12/18)
Stephen Harper, eh? No surprises there:
"[O]ne of Harper's most polarizing foreign policy causes has been Israel. As Israel has grown increasingly isolated due to its treatment of the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories - as well as building illegal settlements on this land - the Harper government has become one of the country's most zealous supporters.
"Since Harper became prime minister , Israel has invaded Lebanon - killing up to 1,125 Lebanese (as compared to 159 Israelis) and launched two invasions of the Gaza Strip, the first in 2008-09 that led to 1,434 Palestinian casualties (as compared to 13 Israelis) and then last year, leading to 2,139 Palestinian deaths and 11,000 wounded (as compared to 73 Israeli deaths and 556 wounded). In 2010, when six Turkish ships set sail for Gaza to deliver 10,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid to relieve Israel's blockade, Israeli commandos stormed the boats in international waters and killed 10 activists. Despite international condemnation over what was seen as Israel's overkill in these instances, the Harper government has consistently rushed to Israel's defense and been quick to brand Palestinians and their organizations as 'terrorists.'...
"Harper has a close affinity with the current government of Israel, led by the hard-liner Benjamin Netanyahu, although Netanyahu's party won only 23% of the vote in the most recent election. Moreover, during that campaign, Netanyahu pledged to never negotiate a two-state solution with the Palestinians and made thinly racist comments on the eve of the vote, saying 'Arab voters are heading to the polling stations in droves' as a warning to voters to back his Likud party. In fact, Canada has sided with Israel to thwart Palestinians' efforts to have their own state: in 2012, Canada was the only one of nine countries in the UN that voted against Palestinians achieving statehood. Since 2007, it has cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority, voted against all UN resolutions recognizing the rights of Palestinians and complained bitterly when Palestine was admitted as a full member state to UNESCO.
"Not surprisingly, Harper's foreign policy has alienated Canada's Arab and Muslim communities... In 2009, the federal government cut its $1-million annual funding for the Canadian Arab Federation (CAF) due to the organization's criticism's of Israel... And then there is Harper's decision to send fighter jets to Iraq to do battle with ISIS, costing $360-million this year... " (Is Harper Canada's worst prime minister?, Bruce Livesey, nationalobserver.com, 7/6/15)
That was 2015. Lately, Harper has begun to display signs of the dreaded Jerusalem Syndrome:
"The intersection of populism and trade may be Harper's second-favourite subject on the speaking circuit after Israel. His sharpest post-political advocacy is for the Jewish state, after steadfast rhetorical support during his time in government. Maclean's counts at least 10 Israel-related speaking engagements or events Harper has attended since leaving office [in 2015]... plus a private event at the mansion of pro-Israel casino magnate Sheldon Adelson for the Republican Jewish Coalition while still MP in 2016. Harper has become director of the Friends of Israel Initiative, a group of former political leaders [inc. Howard and Downer!] - and it was through that group that he co-signed a full-page ad in the New York Times praising Trump's pulling out of the Iran nuclear accord, which Israel hotly advocated but Canada's current government didn't.
"'He's a man of principles and he's not going to let political exigencies affect his standing for what he believes is right, even if not popular,' says Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, head of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. When that charity [LOL] held its first gala, at Trump's glitzy Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, it hoped to book Nikki Haley, Trump's UN ambassador, Eckstein recalls. When she was unavailable, his board opted for Harper. According to a speech transcript provided by the charity, Harper... ripped into anti-Semitism on campuses, Iran's threat to Israel, how he would declare Jerusalem the state's capital if he were prime minister, and why unequivocal support of Israel is 'plainly and simply the right thing to do'." (What on earth is Stephen Harper up to? Jason Markusoff, macleans.ca, 12/7/18)