Canada's Prime Minister Won't Single Out Israel for Criticism, Despite West Bank Concerns

Stephen Harper Spoke of 'Shared Values' During Israel Trip

Getty Images

By JTA

Published January 21, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Israel is aware of Canada’s concern about West Bank settlements but does not need to be singled out for criticism, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said.

Harper and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a news conference on Tuesday, Harper’s third day in Israel.

Israeli and Palestinian leaders are aware of Canada’s position on the settlements, which is “publicly available,” Harper asserted.

“I’m not here to single out Israel for criticism,” Harper said in response to a reporter’s question. “You know, we’ve got more than enough people standing up in the world ready to do that. You don’t need me.

“I’m here to talk about our shared values and interests. There are specific questions on which we disagree. ”

Harper called on Israel and the Palestinians to negotiate “mutually agreeable” resolutions toward a peace treaty.

The Canadian leader added what he called “an observation,” noting in the Palestinian Authority on Monday, “no one asked me there to single out the Palestinian Authority for any criticism in terms of governance or human rights or anything else. I’m asked to single out Israel.

“When I’m in Israel, I’m asked to single out Israel; when I’m in the Palestinian Authority, I’m asked to single out Israel; and in half the other places around the world, you ask me to single out Israel.”

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.

Netanyahu addressed the issue of settlements, saying “we’ll deal with it in the course of a final settlement of peace, but no, it is not the core of the conflict. The core of the conflict is the persistent refusal to accept a Jewish nation-state.”

Harper said he and Netanyahu talked about ways to increase bilateral trade and announced the launch of negotiations to modernize the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement.

Earlier in the day, the prime ministers were present at the signing of a letter of intent for a partnership between Dalhousie University in Canada and Ben-Gurion University in Israel. Harper also visited the Western Wall, but canceled a visit to the Temple Mount after being told his Jewish guards could not accompany him, according to B’nai Brith Canada.


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!
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • 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.