by I.H. Asper, O.C., OM., Q.C.
Israel, after 53 years of statehood, remains the only isolated island of democracy, human rights and rule of law -- a lonely outpost of Western civilization and its values in a sea of terrorism, corruption, dictatorship and human enslavement. Countries like Canada should therefore be in the vanguard of its support, for mutual economic, military and ethical reasons.
I was there two weeks ago when the 20 innocent youths were mercilessly slaughtered, and dozens of young people maimed and crippled for life in Tel Aviv -- all as an expression of Yasser Arafat's unwavering, original and continuing objective of annihilating the state entirely, by any means, however ruthless, savage, barbaric and inhumane, and regardless of how long it takes.
Arafat and his brutal Palestinian colleagues are the voice, the arm and the fist of their terrorist-sponsoring state partners, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon and Syria, in their deadly 53-year-old campaign to destroy Israel, as well as inflict suffering on other democratic nations. Whether they are aiming their bombs at innocent civilians in Israel, or blowing up planes over Lockerbie, or embassies in Nairobi, or office buildings in New York, they are all cut from the same cloth, using the same pattern and belonging to the same school of gangster terrorists. Canada should treat them as such.
It is therefore a dismaying sight for knowledgeable Canadians to watch our Foreign Affairs Minister, John Manley, either a prisoner of naïeveté, or political opportunism, embracing this war criminal, Arafat, on Mr. Manley's recent visit to the Middle East. Perhaps we shouldn't blame Mr. Manley for Canada's shameful and wrong-headed policy on Israel, as represented by its pro-Palestinian votes at the United Nations. Perhaps we should simply blame his advisors at the historically anti-Israeli Department of Foreign Affairs, who seem bent on re-enacting the pre-war anti-Semitism of the F. C. Blair Department of Immigration.
Only Opposition leader Stockwell Day and his former foreign affairs critic Monte Solberg have had the courage to tell it as it is; to call a thug a thug, and tell the truth on who are the bad guys in the Middle East volcano of violence.
It remains a task for friends of Israel and friends of the Liberal party to appeal to the Liberal government to reverse its anti-Israel position in its comments and votes at the UN.
Our government should know:1. That Arafat is a pathological liar, who has always sought and will continue to seek not justice for his people, but only the destruction of the state of Israel. Any peace arrangements are only a temporary stop along the way;These and many more facts bear witness to the fact Arafat has declared war and therefore Israel is entitled to conduct itself and its defence accordingly, without the cluck-clucking of sanctimonious Canadian officials. How long would the government of Canada forbear, and tolerate, as it demands of Israel, atrocities against Canadians from bases say, in Quebec? Not a minute -- just ask the members of the 1970s Trudeau Cabinet, who invoked the War Measures Act.
2. That contrary to the Oslo alleged peace agreements whereby Arafat agreed to end the teaching and promotion of hatred and the incitement to violence against Israel, Arafat's schools, mosques, state-owned newspapers and broadcasters continue to preach incitement, hatred, and the benefits of martyrdom in heaven for Palestinians willing to die in his holy cause of killing Israelis and Jews, wherever they may be found;
3. That Arafat continues to refuse to account for how he has spent the billions he's received for humanitarian aid, including money from Canada, even though it has been proven that some has been spent establishing terror-training camps for school children, and that his personal secret bank accounts are reported to be in the billions;
4. That contrary to his protestations to the gullible Western world, including Canada, that the present uprising was sparked by a provocative visit to the Temple Mount by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the initifada had been deliberately planned months before -- this, from the mouth of his own minister of communications;
5. That contrary to the Oslo peace agreements, he emptied the jails of all the captured terrorists, to encourage and supply them with arms to make their attacks on Israel from the territory turned over to him by a compliant Israel;
6. That the most virulent of the roadside shootings, ambushes and mortar shellings against Israeli citizens are carried out by Arafat's personal guard force and militias, entirely within his control.
No, it is time for a change in Canadian foreign policy. It is not too late to regain our honour and integrity.This is excerpted from a speech yesterday to Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Toronto. I.H. Asper is Executive Chairman of CanWest Global Communications Corp.
©2001 - National Post