Ever since the United Nations vote on Thursday, the Harper government has portrayed itself as a beautiful loser. It and eight other nations -- most notably the United States -- voted against support for Palestine. Canada, say the Harperites, is on the side of moral clarity. Haroon Siddiqui wrote yesterday in the Toronto Star that:
The vote was overwhelming, more than two-thirds in favour — 138 for, 9 against and 41 abstentions. Much to Canada’s shame, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird was among the loudest pipsqueak noises against the tide of history.
Even the United States, chief patron of Israel, was subdued, dishing out brief boilerplate statements. But the voluminous Baird was keen to showcase Canada in the august company of the Czech Republic, Panama, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru and Palau.
Stephen Harper claims that he is a loyal supporter of Israel. In truth, he is a loyal supporter of a like minded government; and he ignores Israeli opposition to Benjamin Netanyahu:
The prime minister portrays himself as a staunch ally of Israel, and tends to brand those who don’t agree with him as anti-Semitic and bully them — as discovered by the Christian ecumenical group Kairos, the Canadian Arab Federation and Palestine House, whose funding was cut, and Montreal-based Rights and Democracy, which was destroyed.
In fact, what Harper has done is to take sides with the right wing in an ideological and political struggle within Israel and the Jewish diaspora. He could have sided with those who do not agree with Israeli expansionism and permanent war on the Palestinians.
But Stephen Harper is incapable of balancing competing interests -- whether they be the interests of business and labour, Alberta and British Columbia or Ottawa and the provinces. The only thing he knows how to do is pick sides. And, like most people who call themselves conservatives these days, he is on the wrong side of history.
Scott Fitzgerald wrote that, "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function." It has become abundantly clear that the Conservative caucus is not populated by people of first rate intelligence. And, when it comes to foreign policy, the prime minister is first among equals.