Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Thoughts on Stephen Harper and the Israeli Apartheid

It's interesting to note that in the last half century, there have been only five Conservative Prime Ministers. Four of them have been of the Progressive variety. The fifth and current one, well...is Conservative in name only. The current Neo-Con party being nothing more than just another twisted  incarnation of the old Reform/Alliance Party who have used and bastardized the name "Conservative".

But two of those Progressive Prime Ministers, John Diefenbaker and Brian Mulroney were strong ant-apartheid advocates. In fact, it was Mr. Diefenbaker who was instrumental in having South Africa removed from the Commonwealth of Nations for it's refusal to abandon apartheid. These men took a strong stance against a sister nation and co-member of the Commonwealth because they believed it was doing something that was inherently wrong.

I don't believe that either of these Canadian Prime Ministers considered them selves to be the enemy of South Africa. Probably far from it.  Both Canada and South Africa share a democratic and legal tradition that stems from our former mother country of England. We are basically, siblings in the global community. Our societies may be quite distinct, but our values remain very similar. But this didn't stop either Mr. Diefenbaker or Mr. Mulroney, both of whom wore the Progressive label with pride,  from doing what they thought was the right thing.

Today, there is another kind of apartheid going on. This time in Israel. Long simmering hostilities have left the dominant Jewish people of that nation in control and they have gradually, over time, reduced their Palestinian brethren to second class status. They have been sequestered on small parcels of land in an already tiny country. And even these parcels of land are being infringed upon by the Israeli state to the point where Palestinians are now essentially imprisoned and impoverished in their own land.  

This is not a state of affairs that anyone deliberately set out to accomplish. This is a region that has a history of hostility dating back thousands of years. In modern times, the Israeli's- our friends and allies- have fought war after war in an effort to maintain their nation status. As a result, fear, paranoia and hatred have become realities of Israeli existence and it has eventually lead to the current situation with respect to the Palestinians. 

Yes, Israel since it's inception, has been considered a friend and an ally. We here in North America remain strongly connected to the "Holy Land" because of our religious traditions. That and the fact that Israel is a fellow democratic nation that has drawn it's citizenry from all over the world, including Canada. But our friends have crossed a line and have taken the notion of their right to exist to such an extreme as to have inflicted this horrible apartheid on their Palestinian citizens. Yet instead of chastising our friend and Global neighbor for their current state of affairs, our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, who in reality exists too far out into right field as to be considered a Conservative, has taken the stance that the State of Israel can do no wrong. His attitude seeming to be that: "you stick by your friends no matter what" - and more disturbingly,he  has conveyed the message that anyone who criticizes Israel is probably Anti-Semitic.  

This seems to be an "all-or-nothing" kind of behaviour from our Prime Minister. When it first came to light that Afghan detainees handed over to the local authorities by Canadian troops were being tortured, Mr. Harper blustered on in Parliament that any member of the opposition or the press who was concerned about this issue was more concerned about the well being of the enemy then of our men and women in uniform. These critics most certainly, were absolutely un-Canadian! All or nothing with Mr. Harper. Blind, unconditional support, no matter the cost.

The Prime Minister has stated proudly and categorically that his Government will take several unpopular stances regarding it's foreign policy and will not bow to every "petty dictator who has a vote at the U.N.". A disturbing thought this, that our state leader considers the U.N. to be riddled with petty dictators. This might be a case of sour grapes resulting from Harper's shame-faced inability to gain a seat at the Security Counsel last fall, a seat that was ours to lose. Or it could be a case of twisted convictions/ a psychiatric disorder that renders him incapable of perceiving right from wrong.

What ever the cause of Mr. Harper's "all-or-nothing" world view, it has led to such heinous situations as our government blocking Asbestos from being listed as a hazardous substance by the U.N. (there's that U.N. connection again) because we make boat-loads of cash from shipping it to developing nations. And it has earned Canada the label of "Rogue Nation" by the E.U. So I guess it makes sense then that our Rogue Government would unconditionally support another Rogue Government, Israel.

1 comment:

  1. Right on, RKD. Disturbing though, to live in this world, in a nice country, with an asshole for a newly minted leader. Angrifying, even.