The phrase is bandied about to describe those of us critical of "the only Western democracy in the Middle East," when we aren't being falsely accused of outright "anti-Semitism." But shouldn't we turn that around?
The other day an article appeared that made the case for not giving Canada--under its current leadership--a seat on the UN Security Council. It briefly surveyed our international record under Stephen Harper, and it makes for grim reading:
- Indigenous rights. Canada remains one of only three countries in the world that has refused to sign the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Check.
- Global warming. An on-going pattern of obstruction of international efforts to deal with this, notably at Copenhagen. Check.
- Omar Khadr. Canada is the only Western country that has left one of its own citizens to his fate at the hands of the Gitmo interrogators. Check.
- Foreign aid. Highlighted by the slashing of funds to international aid agencies for narrow ideological reasons. Check.
- Haiti. Funds misdirected towards police and prisons instead of feeding the people and helping them rebuild. Check.
It seems that Bennett had not read the article through to the end. A further reason to be critical of our international performance, said the author, Derrick O'Keefe, and this time I quote rather than paraphrase, was:
- The Middle East. Canada under Stephen Harper has been called “Israel’s best friend,” even as that state has grown ever more aggressive in violating international law to maintain its occupation and collective punishment against the Palestinian people. Fittingly, Israeli PM Netanyahu was visiting Ottawa in May when Israeli forces massacred nine members of an international aid flotilla seeking to break the siege of Gaza. The Harper government took the lead in enforcing the siege, backed Israel’s brutal military assault on Gaza, and has taken steps towards criminalizing and suppressing criticism of the state of Israel.
But Bennett came under some pressure, it seems, and she freaked out, as we Summer of Love types would put it. The tone of what she has to say is particularly unsettling. There's more than a whiff, here, of the self-abasing confessions offered by the victims at Stalin's show trials. Here, judge for yourselves:
I was shocked to be tweeted back asking if I supported the anti-israel [sic] rhetoric in the article. I went back to the article and was upset to realize that the article I had read on my berry had truncated and that I hadn’t read the last paragraphs before I retweeted the article. This is a serious lesson for me. I am thankful how quickly the error was pointed out to me and that I was able to reply that in no way did I support the anti-Israel message. As I hadn’t really agreed with the premise of the article I had used the word 'interesting' on purpose. But I now realize that as an MP if I cite an article it can be interpreted as 'promoting' it or worse yet that I agree with every word. In the future I promise to be more careful and to make clearer my support or lack of support for the opinions being put forth in the 'link'. Mea culpa. It has also been pointed out to me that I should be wary of certain publications, authors as an initial screen. I will do better in the future. I learn a great deal using social media tools… The information, the frank feedback are all part of a learning culture and a 'democracy between elections' in which citizens and their elected representatives can interact in real time. I take this responsibility seriously. I apologize for today’s error.
Good grief, has it come to this?
In other news, we are still awaiting the final report of the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism, due, like the forensic auditors' report at Rights and Democracy, this past Spring. Should be, ah, "interesting."