Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Canadian PM Harper outshines President Obama

Canadian PM Harper’s National Holocaust Remembrance Day Speech in Ottawa Versus President Obama’s in Washington by Jerry Gordon, Iconoclast Monday, was Canada’s National Holocaust Remembrance Day in Ottawa. According to a report in the Ottawa Citizen, Canada’s PM Stephen Harper gave a speech to an audience composed of the country’s Parliament MPs of all parties, Shoah survivors and Israel’s Ambassador to Canada and leaders of Canada’s Jewish community. A close friend, Rabbi Jonathan Hausman was in Canada for Israel Truth Week (ITW) and invited to attend yesterday’s ceremony in Ottawa. The venue for National Holocaust Remembrance Day was Canada’s National War Museum filled with WWII military equipment and memorabilia. Harper spoke and lit a memorial candle at the Yad VA Shem candelabra. In his speech, Harper noted the anti-Semitic threats to Jewish citizens on Canada’s college campuses, annihilationist threats the Jewish state of Israel faces from nuclear Iran and Salafist and Muslim Brotherhood groups both domestically and in the Middle East: It is an undertaking of a solemn responsibility to fight those threats. We see it in the manifestos of organizations which deny the right of Israel as a Jewish state to exist. We see it most profoundly and clearly in the ravings of a ruthless leader who threatens to wipe Israel off the map, while violating his country’s international obligations and pursuing the development of nuclear weapons. We see it in the slaughter of Jewish children and other innocents, just last month, by a man born and raised in a tolerant, Western country. And we see it here at home, every year on some university campuses, in the unconscionable slur that is the so-called Israeli Apartheid Week. Ladies and gentlemen, while the Holocaust stands alone, it does not stand isolated. It is but the most hellish chapter in the long and continuing history of anti-Semitism. We must face this history unflinching. Anti-Semitism is a sickness, a deadly moral sickness. Anti-Semitism kills the lives and security of its victims, the consciences of its perpetrators, and the integrity of those who fail to speak out, of those who counsel a false peace, of those who seek refuge in moral equivalence. As history and present controversies tell us all too well, anti-Semitism is a threat not only to the Jewish people. It is a threat to us all – a sickness that quickly morphs into a hatred and a desire to destroy anyone – anyone who is different than its perpetrator. Rabbi Hausman who attended yesterday’s commemoration in Ottawa had been as invited by the organizers of this past March’s ITW forum, to participate as a member of its delegation. ITW, organized by Canadian non-Jews to counteract Israel Apartheid Week activities on Canadian college campuses, had asked Rabbi Hausman to be a keynote speaker in March on Ontario campuses in Hamilton and London. Hausman returned this week to speak at an ITW event in Hamilton. According to Hausman, the chief organizer of ITW (Mark Vandermaas) was one of many honored with lighting a candle during the Ottawa Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremonies, yesterday, for his pro-Israel work. Rabbi Hausman noted this about Canadian PM Harper’s performance and delivery of his speech: PM Stephen Harper’s Canadian Friends of Yad VaShem address was infused with emotion, historical particularity and lessons for the Jewish world, as well as Canadian-Israeli relations.He spoke about the existential threats that Israel faces from her enemies, however inspired. He did not dismiss Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and what that would portend for Israel and the free world…as Iran is motivated the theology of Jew-hatred. In contradistinction to Bob Simon’s report on 60 Minutes on Christians in the Holy Land delegitimizing Israel, Harper praised Israel as a beacon of freedom and tolerance in the Middle East, a country in which everyone’s rights are protected, a country with growing and thriving minority communities, be they Arab, Muslim or Christian. Harper did not read a teleprompted speech. He spoke from some notes in English and French with passion, conviction, friendship and empathy. Miriam Ziv, Israel’s Ambassador to Canada expressed her sincere appreciation. Hausman contrasted Harper’s speech with that of President Obama’s, yesterday, at another Holocaust commemoration in Washington at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Hausman said:”the actions of Obama belie his words.” The President’s speech was criticized by Washington Post blogger, Jennifer Rubin as “disingenuous”. The President was accompanied by Holocaust Survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel as he lit a memorial candle at a Buchenwald niche, a reference to an American uncle on his mother’s side whose US Army unit participated in the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp. President Obama chose the occasion to announce new sanctions against both Syria and Iran, previously authorized by Congress, and the formation of an Atrocities Prevention Board headed by one of Israel’s fiercest opponents on his National Security Council, Samantha Powers. Powers, while on the faculty of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government had advocated use of multilateral armed force for humanitarian purposes, one of which was allegedly an invasion of Israel to enforce the establishment of a Palestinian State. Watch this You Tube video of an interview with Powers. Rubin commented in her Washington Post blog post on President Obama said about this new genocide prevention initiative: Obama has now (after three-plus years) come up with another fig leaf: “We’re making sure that the United States government has the structures, the mechanisms to better prevent and respond to mass atrocities. So I created the first-ever White House position dedicated to this task. It’s why I created a new Atrocities Prevention Board, to bring together senior officials from across our government to focus on this critical mission. This is not an afterthought.” That’s it — another committee! But it’s not an afterthought, mind you. And another report! (“The intelligence community will prepare, for example, the first-ever National Intelligence Estimate on the risk of mass atrocities and genocide.” To those in the national intelligence community: The risk of mass atrocities is going up under this president.) Given the bloodshed and slaughter in Syria and the declaration of Jihad warfare by the Islamist regime of Gen. Omar al-Bashir in Sudan against the Republic of South Sudan, we are skeptical of the Administration’s announcement and commitment to prevent genocide whether in Sub Sahara Africa or the Middle East. Words are meaningless in the face of consummate evil. Only meaningful action of the type Canada’s PM Harper spoke of yesterday at their National Holocaust Remembrance Day counts.

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