Public Safety Minister Stephen Blaney announced that the Harper government will show "zero tolerance" for groups advocating a boycott of Israel as a protest against that government's treatment of Palestinians. Those who now openly criticize Israel include former president Jimmy Carter and Pope Francis. And their criticism is based on recent events. Murray Dobbins writes:
Indeed, during the recent Israeli election, Netanyahu declared towards the end of the campaign that there would never be a Palestinian state so long as he was prime minister. For most observers, this was at once shocking and simply a statement of what Netanyahu had always made clear by his actions: his continued building of settlements throughout the West Bank, his refusal to consider (even in negotiations) East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital, his stunningly brutal bombing of Gaza and his repeated insults directed at U.S. President Barack Obama regarding Israel's responsibilities in reaching a peace settlement.
Netanyahu's new Minister of Justice, Ayelet Shaked -- who, incidentally, does not possess a law degree -- recently declared on Facebook:
"What's so horrifying about understanding that the entire Palestinian people is the enemy? … in wars the enemy is usually an entire people, including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure." In the same post she declared war on Palestinian mothers: "They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there." Under Article 3 of the UN's Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, this kind of statement ("Direct and public incitement to commit genocide") is listed as an act that is "punishable" under the Convention.
Clearly, there are some loose screws in Netanyahu's cabinet. But Harper's threat to punish people like Carter and the Pope -- as well as his obsessive pursuit of Omar Khadr -- suggest that there are one or two loose screws banging around in the heads of the Harper cabinet.