Sometimes, you just have to stand back and say, "Oh."
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, speaking at a conference of international parliamentarians and experts attending a conference on combating anti-Semitism, told the assembled that Canada refused to "pretend" to be an "honest broker" on Israel, even though it meant losing its bid for a seat on the UN Security Council. Canada had been elected to the Security Council in every decade since the inception of the UN until this one - a loss attributed to the Islamic bloc being unhappy with Harper's outspoken support for Israel, as well as to a failure of the United States to lobby on Canada's behalf. We'll get to the U.S. position in a minute, but Prime Minister Harper's words on anti-Semitism and Israel should be read:
Harnessing disparate anti-Semitic, anti-American and anti-Western ideologies, it targets the Jewish people by targeting the Jewish homeland, Israel, as the source of injustice and conflict in the world, and uses, perversely, the language of human rights to do so.
We must be relentless in exposing this new anti-Semitism for what it is...when Israel, the only country in the world whose very existence is under attack - Is consistently and conspicuously singled out for condemnation, I believe we are morally obligated to take a stand. Demonization, double standards, delegitimization, the 3 D's, it is a responsibility to stand up to them.
I know, by the way, because I have the bruises to show for it, that whether it is at the United Nations, or any other international forum, the easiest thing to do is simply to just get along and go along with this anti-Israeli rhetoric, to pretend it is just about being even-handed, and to excuse oneself with the label of "honest broker."
There are, after all, a lot more votes - a lot more - in being anti-Israeli than in taking a stand. But, as long as I am prime minister, whether it is at the UN or the Francophonie or anywhere else, Canada will take that stand...Not just because it is the right thing to do, but because history shows us, and the ideology of the anti-Israeli mob tells us all too well, that those who threaten the existence of the Jewish people are a threat to all of us.
Thank you, Mr. Harper. Most sincerely, thank you.
Now for the American part. Richard Grenell, a former American spokesman at the UN, said U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice "not only didn't campaign for Canada's election but instructed American diplomats to not get involved" prior to the voting.
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley declined to directly address Grenell's claims. Asked whether the United States did anything to support Canada, Crowley said, "For that particular seat there was a contested election, and we were present. We voted. And beyond that, I'm not going to comment."
Watch out for that. Our vote is one of 192 in the body.
When the United States wants the right thing, lobbies for it and argues for it, there are a great many countries that will go where we want to go. But if we decide our vote is worth only 1/192nd of the total, we will be overwhelmed by forces in the body that seek to do us - and our friends - ill. If that is the best Israel can expect from the United States - that we will be present and vote our 1/192nd with Israel on principle - the UN will sink even lower than we thought it could.
Some days, being Canadian looks like a good option.