we stand by israel unreservedly

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    We Jews in the Diaspora will never....never ...abandon Israel. You hear that Fullguy?


    Brian Mulroney
    National Post,
    Thursday June 12, 2003

    The headline on tonight’s newscasts will be: 16 killed, at least 100 injured as homicide bomber strikes downtown Jerusalem.

    We will mostly shake our heads in dismay and move on to other things, so inured have we become to tragedy in the Middle East. But say such an event--for whatever reason-- happened in Canada or the United States, the approximate comparable figures tonight would be:
    Canada--96 dead, 600 injured;

    United States--960 dead, 3,000 injured.

    What do you think we would say then? Would we move on to other things or would we deal with terrorism in the only manner possible: implacable and unflinching opposition to the people and institutions that initiate, encourage or condone such acts of violence against innocent men, women and children.

    This is precisely the situation in which Israel finds herself tonight because contemporary anti-Semitism, without changing its stripes, has added the sate of Israel to its list of targets. The current goal is to deny the Jewish state its rightful place among the community of nations. For Islamic and Arab extremists and others of this ilk who have, for example, domesticated Europe’s anti-Semitic themes, with their unholy allies on the extreme Right and the radical Left, as I said in February, Israel has in effect become the new Jew.

    Twenty years ago tonight, I was elected Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. I then served as Leader of the Opposition for one year and prime minister for nine years.

    In June 1983, the world was not what it is today: We were threatened with nuclear war; the Soviet Union was at the height of its power; the Warsaw Pact enveloped in communism all of Eastern Europe; Germany was still split in two; and Israel had few friends, it was isolated in the world, vilified at the United Nations, threatened militarily by her neighbors and promised extinction by the terrorist PLO.

    Canada’s policy towards the United States was quixotic and unproductive. I was determined to refurbish the relationship of respect, friendship and trust that must always exist between the prime minister of Canada and the president of the United States. I conveyed this view to president Reagan while I was in Opposition and made it stick as soon as I became prime minister.

    Canada’s policy towards the Middle East had not been unfair in the previous years. It was referred to as “even-handed” and it probably was. That _expression, however, was one I rejected. It struck me as code that meant Israel ran a serious risk in the crunch of getting shafted and I was determined to change Canadian policy to ensure that not happen.

    Canada in future would treat Israel as a very close ally and friend. We would expand relations with her in every field and defend her unswervingly at the UN and all other international fora. Because Israel was a friend we would do what true friends do--giver her the benefit of the doubt in any quarrel or disagreement in which she was engaged around the world, such as the first intifada.

    In other words, when I, as a new prime minister, stated clearly that Canada was going to treat Israel--the only democracy in the region--as a “friend”, I specifically said as a “loyal” friend not a “fair-weather” friend who bails out when the going gets rough.

    And this is what we did. This policy did not in any way prevent us from developing deep and warm relationships with constructive and moderate leaders in the Arab world like the late, great King Hussein of Jordan. Nor did it preclude us--in concert with the United States--from pressing for an acceptable process that would ensure a just and equitable solution to the crisis.

    I believe this policy represented, in some measure, how a prime minister should act because it sent out signals to the nation and the world of where Canada stood on this extremely vital question. When I ceased being prime minister, I maintained that attitude, publicly denouncing those from the United Nations to the Canadian government to foreign governments and organizations that showed hostility or malice to Israel or the Jews.

    And why is it important that we all continue to do that? Simply because history has taught us what happens when we don’t. This does not mean, however, that Israel should be immune from criticism. One can strongly disagree with policies of the Government of Israel without being called an anti-Semite.

    Nor does it mean that a strong defense of Israel’s right to exist and live in security precludes the acceptance of a Palestinian state where all citizens, and in particular young Palestinians, come to know the benefits of health care, educational excellence, economic opportunities and growing prosperity similar to those available in Israel. This should be the objective of all who believe in justice. And I am certain that following President Bush’s meetings in the region last week, we shall see the initiation of a process that will produce precisely this result. Israel must be patient and vigilant and strong because those qualities ensure eventual success. Israel’s friends must stand by her fully and unreservedly until this objective is achieved.

    (The above text was adapted from a speech in Montreal last night to the Jewish
    National Fund, which honoured the former Prime Minister as “Man of the Year”.)

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