Jim Miles: Canada Meets the Zionist Right

By Jim Miles

Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Peter Mackay completed a visit to Israel recently, reinforcing Canada’s growing militant support of a government that continues to deny the basic essentials of human democracy to its own people and especially to the people of the occupied territories of Palestine.  Apparently, Canada’s relations with Israel are “particularly warm” and “bilateral and diplomatic ties are currently at their peak.” [1]

The minority Steven Harper government, currently standing at 33 per cent in public opinion polls, was the first to deny the validity of the democratically elected Hamas government, before the Americans and before the British.  The emphasis of this point in MacKay’s recent visit would indicate that Harper and MacKay choose to remain ignorant of the atrocities perpetrated by the Israeli’s against the Palestinian people.

The government, Mackay in particular, puts itself into a contradictory position.  When speaking to a UN meeting on the effects of warfare on children, MacKay says, “progress has been made on the wider protection of civilians in armed conflict agenda, where leaders have confirmed their commitment to the legal and physical protection of civilians.”  For Harper and MacKay, this rhetoric is wonderful if applied to Uganda or Nigeria or Sri Lanka, but there is no connection with the children of generations who have suffered in Palestine under Israeli military occupation, nor any connection to “wider protection of civilians,” and their “legal and physical protection” that his speech espouses.

In the same speech, MacKay adds more fluff to his rhetoric, indicating there is a “gap between words and deeds” using as an example “Recent events in the Middle East saw hundreds of thousands of people displaced obviously a large number of them children and it can happen virtually overnight. The size and scope of these conflicts and the speed of these erupted is stagger at times [sic].” [2] Is not Palestine a part of the Middle East?  Have not enough generations of Palestinian children suffered under the occupation of the IDF, living lives destroyed by murder, torture, fear, humiliation, degradation, starvation and the lack of all the things that Canadian children take for granted? 

Yes, there is a gap between words and deeds, a credibility gap between what MacKay says in one situation and the ideological politics – of Christian Zionism sucking up to the Canadian Jewish-Zionist community – it plays in another. 

Mahmoud Zahar of Hamas made the point that “Canada’s “extremist” Conservative government showed no respect for democracy because of its boycott of Hamas.”[3]  He is correct.  How can progress be made if dialogue and discussion are not ongoing?  Where is it to all start?  For Canada to deny Hamas the legitimacy they received from elections that were at worst as democratic as those in Canada, and certainly more democratic than any Israeli election is pure hypocrisy.  It can only be surmised that MacKay wishes for Israel to succeed with its plans to have Fatah defeat Hamas in a Palestinian civil war and thus be able to work with a more compliant faction of Palestinian society. 

The next war front – and I am generally loathe to predict the future but this looks more and more realistic with many parallels to the Iraqi pre-war rhetorical build up – with Iran also receives Canada’s support.  The Ministry says, "Canada has been at the forefront of the international efforts against the Iranian nuclear threat," a threat that does not exist in reality but is entirely defined by the manipulations of Israel within the American government and now with its new ‘peak’ ally, Canada.  For the number of times this has been reiterated by people much more knowledgeable than myself in this area [4], Iran has operated legally within the mandate of the IAEA and the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, while ‘allies’ such as Pakistan and Israel have large nuclear arsenals that appear to be above reproach.  All the rest is pre-war jingoism to keep the Canadian populace ill informed of the reality of the situation.

MacKay is quite cozy with the Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni (not quite as cozy as with Condaleeza Rice, one could not ask for two more extreme confederates) who describes him as someone who “knows how to make distinctions between right and wrong."  As shown above, those ‘distinctions’ are extremely selective, and are based either on wilful ignorance or moral ineptitude, or a combination of both.  

Canada, as represented by Harper’s current minority government, is following the American path of nationalistic hubris, of championing the ‘rights’ of one people to trample over the lives and rights of another, denying by its actions that it has anything to do with democracy and freedom.  Militant jingoism has become part and parcel of both its domestic and foreign policy.  It can only be hoped that like ‘peak oil’ this will all eventually fade away – unfortunately, like ‘peak oil’, considerable damage, perhaps irreparable, will be done along the way.


[1] Ministry and Livni quotes from: “Israel says it enjoys ‘peak’ relations with Harper government in Canada.”  Yehonathan Tommer, Canadian Press, Tuesday, January 23, 2007.  http://www.canada.com/topics/news/world/story.html

[2] Minister of Foreign Affairs,  “CHILD SOLDIERS:  Changing the Reality on the Ground”.  Monday, August 28, 2006.   http://geo.international.gc.ca/cip-pic/current_discussions/

[3] “Canadian foreign minister shuns Hamas.”  January 23, 2007. http://jta.org/page_view_breaking_story.asp?intid=6558 

[4] see in particular Scott Ritter’s  Target Iran – The Truth About the White House’s Plans for Regime Change.  Nation Books, New York, 2006; also many articles on websites, in particular Znet, Counterpunch, and Asia Times. 

-Jim Miles is a Canadian educator and a regular contributor of opinion pieces and book reviews to Palestine Chronicles.  His interest in this topic stems originally from an environmental perspective, which encompasses the militarization and economic subjugation of the global community and its commodification by corporate governance and by the American government. 

(The Palestine Chronicle is a registered 501(c)3 organization, thus, all donations are tax deductible.)
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