It was only fitting that Israeli president and elder statesman, Shimon Peres, should visit Canada and thank this country for its support of the Jewish state, and by extension its support for democracy and decency in the Middle East.
He had to be diplomatic, but I can be a little more direct.
While numerous Liberal leaders were far from being opposed to Israel, none of them possessed the visceral support and the genuine concern for the country we saw from Brian Mulroney, even Joe Clark, and especially Stephen Harper.
Contrary to what critics claim, Harper is not a Christian Zionist, and he doesn’t support Israel for the largely apocryphal Jewish vote. He simply believes — politically, morally, and emotionally — that Israel is the good guy in the region.
Opposition and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, on the other hand, may personally support Israel, and certainly relies on Jewish support in his parliamentary riding, but he is increasingly a head without a body, a manager with a rebellious staff.
His problem is that not just some but almost all of the opposition to Israel today, some of it vehement and even violent, within Canadian politics comes from the left, the labour movement, Islamic radicals, student activists. And many of them are part of and increasingly influential within the NDP.
The phenomenon is not confined to Canada, of course. Other than a handful of far-right extremists and a few democratic conservatives well outside of the mainstream, the sole opposition to the Jewish state comes from the left.
In fact, for someone like Mulcair to claim the NDP is the natural and long-term friend of Israel is as insulting to Israelis as it is to the NDP membership.
The party’s voters may be indifferent about the issue, but its core support and its union backers boarded the anti-Zionist train long ago, and the steam and speed are increasing all the time.
The absurd Libby Davies took over the mantle of hysterical Svend Robinson in being super-prominent New Democrats horribly jaundiced on the Middle East. Ironically, both are homosexuals and while they would be given legal protection and social respect in Israel, they would be persecuted if not killed in most of her neighbours.
Then we have Ontario Federation of Labour boss and former NDP candidate Sid Ryan, whose criticism of Israel borders on the obsessive. Attend any NDP meeting, read NDP blogs, look at conference motions. Reality cries out to be heard here. This is a party sinking deeper into an irrational anti-Zionism, made all the muddier and darker by the influx of separatist MPs in orange clothing who are intimately connected to Quebec Islamic politics.
These people may be wrong and their ideas repugnant, but party leaders being dishonest about it is almost worse.
I can assure Mr. Mulcair that he is certainly no Shimon Peres, and also that the Israeli president has seen and knows enough to detect friends and perceive enemies. You’re one of the last people left in the pro-Israel room in the house of Canadian socialism, my friend, and pretty soon you’ll look around and find you’re talking to yourself.
Your comrades will be outside, screaming back.
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