In 2003 when Stephen Harper was elected as leader of the Alliance Party, he promised Jason Kenney and Stockwell Day that he would make Israel the cornerstone of his foreign policy, and made Day his foreign affairs critic.
Day had already made it clear that he supported a two state solution.
Recorded in Hansard in 2002, he had this to say about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:
The Canadian Alliance position on this matter has always been consistent and has always been clear. The Palestinian people have a right to their homeland in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and to the creation of a democratic Palestinian state. The only solution will be a two state solution which involves an exchange of land for peace.But after winning the 2006 election, Harper bypassed Day as Foreign Affairs minister, and took a more aggressive stand, aligning himself with Charles McVety and John Hagee.
In the short term our government should be advocating that Israel must withdraw as quickly as possible from area A to rekindle the peace process and then in the longer term Israel must withdraw from the vast majority of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to secure internationally recognized lines.
In 2006, Charles McVety, president of Canada Christian College hosted the first event (Israel You're Not Alone) of a newly created coalition called Christians United for Israel (CUFI). CUFI counts amongst its members such extremists as John Hagee, Pat Roberston and the late Jerry Falwell. In fact, Frank Dimant, BB Canada's Executive Vice President, shared the podium with McVety and Hagee, and thanked them both in these terms: "But we (Jews) and Israel are not alone because of you and the tremendous leadership of Dr. McVety and Dr. Hagee" (Jewish Tribune, May 25, 2006).And Hagee is very clear, as he leads his followers in a frenzied chant of “Not one inch! Not one inch!”—how much land they intend to see Israel give the Palestinians. Quite different from what Day claimed the Alliance party stood for.
But Stephen Harper only saw this from the perspective of political leverage. According to Lawrence Martin in Harperland:
Though Muslims outnumbered Jews by two to one in Canada, the Jewish community was more politically impactful. Harper was aware, for example, that he stood to gain a major advantage in the Canadian media with his position. The country's largest media empire, Canwest, was controlled by the Aspers, who made no secret of their allegiance to Jewish causes and became enthusiastic backers of Harper on all related questions. (pg. 81)Foreign policy is not about an attempt at peace, but how his positions affect his own career and relationship with the right-wing media. How terribly sad.
Now the right-leaning Jerusalem Post, formerly owned by Conrad Black, is reporting that a document called Kairos Palestine, which has been translated in Italian, was presented to the Pope.
An Italian edition of Kairos Palestine, a controversial document authored by representatives of Middle East Christian Churches and first presented in 2009, was launched in the Italian capital last week, on the sidelines of a Vatican synod.And these Christian churches take a different view of the situation than Christians United For Israel.
Among these are calls for “the beginning of a system of economic sanctions and boycott to be applied against Israel,” efforts defined as “tools of nonviolence,” accusations that Israel is guilty of “clear apartheid” and “racist separation,” ambiguous use of the word “resistance,” which seems to encompass terrorism in statements such as “if there were no occupation there would be no resistance...” and “we respect and have high esteem for all those who have given their life for our nation,” and, finally, criticism of the international community for not accepting “the outcome of democratic and legal elections” in Gaza that were won by Hamas.And while the Jerusalem Post is suggesting that the document is a promotion of terrorism, their website has a completely different message:
This document is the Christian Palestinians’ word to the world about what is happening in Palestine. It is written at this time when we wanted to see the Glory of the grace of God in this land and in the sufferings of its people. In this spirit the document requests the international community to stand by the Palestinian people who have faced oppression, displacement, suffering and clear apartheid for more than six decades. The suffering continues while the international community silently looks on at the occupying State, Israel. Our word is a cry of hope, with love, prayer and faith in God. We address it first of all to ourselves and then to all the churches and Christians in the world, asking them to stand against injustice and apartheid, urging them to work for a just peace in our region, calling on them to revisit theologies that justify.So CUFI are promoting a nuclear war, while KP is calling for peace.
I don't pretend to have the answers but it seems to me that peace should always be the ultimate goal. Not jockeying for position at Armageddon.