During his speech, delivered in both French and English, Harper pulled no punches in identifying hatred for Israel as the old Jew-hatred in disguise:
"[S]ome openly call Israel an apartheid state. Think about that. Think about the twisted logic and outright malice behind that.
And so we have witnessed, in recent years, the mutation of the old disease of antisemitism and the emergence of a new strain. We all know about the old antisemitism. It was crude and ignorant, and it led to the horrors of the death camps. Of course, in many dark corners, it is still with us. But, in much of the western world, the old hatred has been translated into more sophisticated language for use in polite society. People who would never say they hate and blame the Jews for their own failings or the problems of the world, instead declare their hatred of Israel and blame the only Jewish state for the problems of the Middle East.
As once Jewish businesses were boycotted, some civil society leaders today call for a boycott of Israel. On some campuses, intellectualized arguments against Israeli policies thinly mask the underlying realities, such as the shunning of Israeli academics and the harassment of Jewish students. Most disgracefully of all, some openly call Israel an apartheid state. Think about that. Think about the twisted logic and outright malice behind that: A state, based on freedom, democracy and the rule of law, that was founded so Jews can flourish, as Jews, and seek shelter from the shadow of the worst racist experiment in history, that is condemned, and that condemnation is masked in the language of anti-racism. It is nothing short of sickening.
For the text of the entire wonderful speech, with accompanying videos, see the Isreally Cool blog hereBut this is the face of the new antisemitism. It targets the Jewish people by targeting Israel and attempts to make the old bigotry acceptable for a new generation. Of course, criticism of Israeli government policy is not in and of itself necessarily antisemitic. But what else can we call criticism that selectively condemns only the Jewish state and effectively denies its right to defend itself while systematically ignoring – or excusing – the violence and oppression all around it? What else can we call it when Israel is routinely targeted at the United Nations, and when Israel remains the only country to be the subject of a permanent agenda item at the regular sessions of its Human Rights Council?"
For more on Stephen Harper in Israel see my previous post.