The numbers are in on Stephen Harper's trip to Israel. The Canadian Press reports:
The survey, conducted from Jan. 23-Jan. 27 by Harris/Decima for The Canadian Press, suggests a third of Canadians held a favourable impression of Harper's first foray to the Middle East.
Twenty-six per cent, meantime, said they held an unfavourable view.The majority of those polled, however — 42 per cent — said they had no opinion.
The trip served Harper's interests quite well. That thirty-three percent represents his base. He'll need them in the next election. But did he serve Israel's interests? Murray Dobbin writes that Israelis did not fall had over heals for Harper. In fact, there was significant opposition to what he said in the Knesset:
As the Haaretz editorial stated: "[Harper's] words blinded the eyes of Netanyahu and the ministers in his cabinet. He gave them the false feeling that everything is okay, that they are right, that if we only stand firm a bit longer, a lot more Harpers will sprout at the heads of the Western powers."
As for Harper's criticism of those who refer to Israel as an apartheid state, Dobbins writes:
The list of senior Israeli officials describing their approach as apartheid includes Shulamit Aloni, who once served as minister of education under Yitzhak Rabin, and former prime minister Ehud Barak. Another former prime minister, Ehud Olmert, declared: "If the day comes when the two state solution collapses, and we face a South African style struggle for equal voting rights, then as soon as that happens, the State of Israel is finished."
Mr. Harper's trip to Israel was calculated to serve his own interests, not Israel's. But then, that's what Stephen Harper is all about -- self service.