Canada's Stephen Harper Backs Israel in Knesset Speech on First Visit

'Right Thing To Do,' Premier Tells Packed Gallery

getty images

By JTA

Published January 20, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Canada supports Israel “because it is the right thing to do,” Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a speech to the Knesset.

Harper on Monday became the first Canadian prime minister to address Israeli lawmakers in the parliament as part of his first visit since taking office in 2006. The visitors’ gallery was filled with Canadian-Israelis.

“Canada supports Israel fundamentally because it is right to do so,” Harper said, speaking in English and French, Canada’s two national languages. He also expressed support for a Palestinian state.

“A Palestinian state will come, and one thing that will make it come is when the regimes that bankroll terrorism realize that the path to peace is accommodation, not violence,” Harper said.

Two Arab lawmakers, Ahmad Tibi and Hanna Swaid, interrupted Harper several times in the middle of his speech before walking out of the chamber. Their exit was applauded by lawmakers and the visitors’ gallery.

Harper said Jews have been in Canada for more than 250 years and that “350,000 Canadians share with you their heritage.”

“They are immensely proud of what was accomplished here,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Harper traveled to Ramallah to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, where he announced $66 million in economic aid to the Palestinians to help bring “peace and stability” to the area.

“Canada looks forward to a bright future for all Palestinians, one in which security and prosperity are enjoyed in a viable and democratic Palestinian state,” Harper said. Harper arrived Sunday night and was greeted by an honor guard and words of praise from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“When it comes to anti-Semitism, you have stood up unabashedly at the side of Israel and the entire Jewish people, I think at the side of decency and fairness to everyone: Jews and non-Jews alike,” Netanyahu said. “And when it comes to Iran’s repeated calls for Israel’s annihilation and its unrelenting development of nuclear weapons, you and Canada have stood unflinchingly on the right side of history.

“And finally, when it comes to peace, you recognize that a genuine peace, a lasting peace, must be based on mutual recognition and sound security arrangements on the ground. I think in all this and in so many other things, you have shown courage, clarity and conviction.”

Just days before Harper’s visit to Israel, the Canadian Foreign Ministry issued an updated policy paper on Israel and the Palestinians stating that Canada believes Israeli settlements are illegal and an obstacle to peace, Haaretz reported.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.