Monday, April 16, 2007

Stephen Harper on anti-semitism

I'm not used to praising politicians, and feel a little awkward doing so, since I consider myself far more partisan to ideas rather than to parties. Yet I continue to be impressed with Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to the point where I can actually imagine myself carrying a sign with his name on it, in support of his ongoing leadership... an unprecedented gesture, for me, for any politician, from any party.

Sunday he demonstrated what for me was an impressive moral consistency, through a powerful speech delivered at the annual Canadian Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony, Yom Hashoah, on Parliament Hill.
How many times in recent Canadian history has any politician, let alone a Prime Minister, been so clear in their stand for Israel, and the Good that should be associated with that nation and its people?

Here is Prime Minister Harper's full speech, from yesterday:

It has been said that lies become truth if they are repeated often enough.
That’s why truth is so precious. That’s why the truth must be repeated, over and over and over, to protect us from lies.
So let us plainly state the awful, incontrovertible truth that brings us here today: millions, including six million Jewish men, women, and children, were murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
This genocide was so premeditated and grotesque in design, so monstrous and barbaric in scale, and so systematic and efficient in execution, that it stands alone in the annals of human evil.
To this day, the holocaust terrifies and mystifies. We cannot really understand the evil that consumed one the great nations of Europe. We cannot fully fathom why it was embraced by an ideology rooted in hatred. And we cannot truly comprehend the suffering of the people who perished in the madness. But we do understand that the attempted extermination of the Jewish people was a crime against all of humanity.
Our world is immeasurably poorer because of the Holocaust.
We will never know how many more Einstein’s, how many more Gershwin’s, Golda Meir’s, Leonard Cohen’s, or Mordecai Richler’s, might have enriched our world.
But we do know it must never, ever, happen again.
Unfortunately, in some countries, hatred of the Jews is still preached from religious pulpits and still proclaimed from political podiums.
There are still people who would perpetrate another holocaust if they could.
That’s why we must resist the error of viewing the Holocaust as a strictly historical event.
It’s not good enough for politicians to stand before you and say they remember and mourn what happened over six decades ago.
They must stand up to those who advocate the destruction of Israel and its people today.
And they must be unequivocal in their condemnation of anti-Semitic despots, terrorists and fanatics.
That is the only real way to honour the memory of those who were consumed by the Holocaust.
And the only way to ensure it never happens again.
Thank you.


[Sunday's] ceremony and moment of silence on Parliament Hill were organized by the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem. The commemoration concluded with a march to the Ottawa Congress Centre.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, in some countries, hatred of the Jews is still preached from religious pulpits and still proclaimed from political podiums.

Yes, and Canada is one of them. I appreciate what Harper is doing, but I will be really impressed when he stops the distancing routine and makes the Liberals account for their fellow party travellers like Elmasry and the NDP for their Ryans and their MPs who attended last summer's decidedly anti-Israel "World Peace Forum" and, as far as I know, did not voice criticism thereof. And it's not only in our mosques that you can find Judeophobia and Israel hatred - in plenty of "Christian" churches too. We need a leader who will yet more clearly draw and defend the line of respectable thinking in this country, before it's too late. I wonder if Harper remembers how popular Mordechai Richler was in Quebec when he pointed to their history of antisemitism. Of course he does, so will he have the nerve to make this a central election issue?