Christian Conservative Christian "Independent"

I'm an evangelical Christian, member of the CPC, but presently & unjustly exiled to wander the political wilderness.
All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Speech from PM Harper on opposing anti-Semitism

Yet another reason why I support our Right Honourable Prime Minister whole-heartedly... I've reposted in it's entirety his speech today.
Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on the Ottawa Conference on Combating Anti-Semitism
November 8, 2010
Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today made the following remarks at the Ottawa Conference on Combating Anti-Semitism:

“Members of the Steering Committee, fellow parliamentarians, Ladies and gentlemen, let me begin by saying how delighted I am to see so many of you from around the world, gathered here in Ottawa for the second annual conference of the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism.

“It is a sign, not only of your commitment to our common cause, but also of the momentum established at the London Conference last year. It is, therefore, a great sign of hope.

“History teaches us that anti-Semitism is a tenacious and particularly dangerous form of hatred. And recent events are demonstrating that this hatred is now in resurgence throughout the world. That is why the work of the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism has never been so important or timely as it is now.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada and all Canadians, I commend you and support you in the great and important work that you are doing.

“I would like to thank Minister Jason Kenney, for inviting the ICCA to Ottawa, and for his outstanding record of leadership in combating anti-Semitism.

“I would like also to thank my introducer and friend, Scott Reid, Chair of the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism, and Mario Silva, Vice Chair, for organizing this conference.

“And I would like to thank all my colleagues in the Parliament of Canada here today, including Professor Irwin Cotler, for their dedication to your mission.

“Ladies and gentlemen, colleagues, two weeks ago I visited Ukraine for the first time.

“In Kiev I laid a wreath at Babi Yar, the site of one of the numerous atrocities of the Holocaust. I was left there with much the same impression as I had in Auschwitz in 2008 — that such horrors defy all comprehension.

“At the killing grounds of Babyn Yar, I knew I was standing in a place where evil — evil at its most cruel, obscene, and grotesque — had been unleashed. But while evil of this magnitude may be unfathomable, it is nonetheless a fact.

“It is a fact of history. And it is a fact of our nature — that humans can choose to be inhuman. This is the paradox of freedom. That awesome power, that grave responsibility — to choose between good and evil.

“Let us not forget that even in the darkest hours of the Holocaust, men were free to choose good. And some did. That is the eternal witness of the Righteous Among the Nations. And let us not forget that even now, there are those who would choose evil and would launch another Holocaust, if left unchecked. That is the challenge before us today.

“The horror of the Holocaust is unique, but it is just one chapter in the long and unbroken history of anti-Semitism. Yet, in contemporary debates that influence the fate of the Jewish homeland, unfortunately, there are those who reject the language of good and evil. They say that the situation is not black and white, that we mustn’t choose sides.

“In response to this resurgence of moral ambivalence on these issues, we must speak clearly. Remembering the Holocaust is not merely an act of historical recognition.

“It must also be an understanding and an undertaking. An understanding that the same threats exist today. And an undertaking of a solemn responsibility to fight those threats.

“Jews today in many parts of the world and many different settings are increasingly subjected to vandalism, threats, slurs, and just plain, old-fashioned lies.

“Let me draw your attention to some particularly disturbing trends. Anti-Semitism has gained a place at our universities, where at times it is not the mob who are removed, but the Jewish students under attack. And, under the shadow of a hateful ideology with global ambitions, one which targets the Jewish homeland as a scapegoat, Jews are savagely attacked around the world, such as, most appallingly, in Mumbai in 2008.

“One ruthless champion of that ideology brazenly threatens to ‘wipe Israel off the map,’ and time and again flouts the obligations that his country has taken under international treaties. I could go on, but I know that you will agree on one point: that this is all too familiar.

“We have seen all this before. And we have no excuse to be complacent. In fact we have a duty to take action. And for all of us, that starts at home.

“In Canada, we have taken a number of steps to assess and combat anti-Semitism in our own country. You will no doubt hear from my Canadian colleagues about the measures we have taken to date.

“I will mention for the time being that, for the first time, we are dealing with Canada’s own record of officially sanctioned anti-Semitism. We have created a fund for education about our country’s deliberate rejection of Jewish refugees before and during the Second World War.

“But of course we must also combat anti-Semitism beyond our borders, an evolving, global phenomenon. And we must recognize, that while its substance is as crude as ever, its method is now more sophisticated.

“Harnessing disparate anti-Semitic, anti-American and anti-Western ideologies, it targets the Jewish people by targeting the Jewish homeland, Israel, as the source of injustice and conflict in the world, and uses, perversely, the language of human rights to do so.

“We must be relentless in exposing this new anti-SemitismDemonization, double standards, delegitimization, the three D’s, it is the responsibility of us all to stand up to them.

“And I know, by the way, because I have the bruises to show for it, that whether it is at the United Nations, or any other international forum, the easy thing to do is simply to just get along and go along with this anti-Israeli rhetoric, to pretend it is just being even-handed, and to excuse oneself with the label of ‘honest broker.’ There are, after all, a lot more votes, a lot more, in being anti-Israeli than in taking a stand. But, as long as I am Prime Minister, whether it is at the UN or the Francophonie or anywhere else, Canada will take that stand, whatever the cost. And friends, I say this not just because it is the right thing to do, but because history shows us, and the ideology of the anti-Israeli mob tells us all too well if we listen to it, that those who threaten the existence of the Jewish people are a threat to all of us.

“Earlier I noted the paradox of freedom. It is freedom that makes us human. Whether it leads to heroism or depravity depends on how we use it.

“As the spectre of anti-Semitism spreads, our responsibility becomes increasingly clear. We are citizens of free countries. We have the right, and therefore the obligation, to speak out and to act. We are free citizens, but also the elected representatives of free peoples. We have a solemn duty to defend the vulnerable, to challenge the aggressor, to protect and promote human rights, human dignity, at home and abroad. None of us really knows whether we would choose to do good, in the extreme circumstances of the Righteous. But we do know there are those today who would choose to do evil, if they are so permitted. Thus, we must use our freedom now, and confront them and their anti-Semitism at every turn.

“That, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the purpose of our intervention today: our shared determination to confront this terrible hatred. The work we have undertaken, in our own countries and in cooperation with one another, is a sign of hope.

“Our work together is a sign of hope, just as the existence and persistence of the Jewish homeland is a sign of hope. And it is here that history serves not to warn but to inspire.

“As I said on the 60th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel, Israel appeared as a light, in a world emerging from deep darkness. Against all odds, that light has not been extinguished. It burns bright, upheld by the universal principles of all civilized nations — freedom, democracy and justice.

“By working together more closely in the family of civilized nations, we affirm and strengthen those principles. And we declare our faith in humanity’s future in the power of good over evil.

“Thank you for all you are doing to spread that faith. And thank you for your kind attention.

“Thank you very much.”

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15 Comments:

  • At Mon Nov 08, 10:42:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Best Prime Minister Stephen Harper
    Thank you for including the entire speech
    it is a powerful speech and we must work together so that the Prime Ministers words of wisdom do not fall on deaf ears
    we must stop the evil doers now
    it will not be an easy road as it is all up hill

    fh

     
  • At Tue Nov 09, 01:14:00 AM EST, Blogger Hoarfrost said…

    Harper is the best prime Minister that we have had in my lifetime.

    I was in my barbershop in a Liberal 905 riding today when another patron started a political discussion. He was expounding on Harper's virtues. The rest of the patrons agreed or cynically said all politicians are corrupt.

    Latterly, I spoke up with the above opening statement and I got general agreement, especially on the foreign affairs file.

     
  • At Tue Nov 09, 11:33:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I guess Harper stroking Israel at the behest of the U.S. makes him a "strong leader" to you people?
    It's a wonder you cannot see the puppet strings coming from Harper's limbs.

     
  • At Thu Nov 11, 05:13:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    If anyone is still wondering why Harper's cabinet arbitrarily over-rode the DND for the JSF F-35 wonder no more.

    Harper's speech reveals the real reasons for the decision.

     
  • At Thu Nov 11, 10:23:00 PM EST, Blogger Anon1152 said…

    CC: it's been a while. Hello, again.

    Thank you for putting this up. I have been meaning to watch the speech but it's not something that (at this moment in time) I'd take the time to find and watch.

    I have some comments, which may come in a couple of installments. First (though least important) I have some things to say about the other Anons. If I were a good editor of my own work, I admit that I would only send my second set of comments. I figure the nature of the internet gives me a sort of license...

    *

    I am not sure I'm comfortable with the Anonymous commenters on November 9 @ 11:33am and November 11 @ 5:15pm.

    These are not "bad" comments exactly. But there is... ambiguity. For example, I also associate Harper with (metaphorical) puppet strings. But I think of him as the guy pulling them. He exercises an awe-inspiring control over his caucus, and over his image, and I find it all quite deceptive. (I of course place him on a continuum: all politicians and perhaps all people do this to some extent; I don't think this is a black-and-white issue).

    But Anonymous @ 11:33am seems to suggest that Harper is the marionette, not the would-be-puppet-master. I don't think there is any reason to believe that. And given the context, I wonder what exactly this commenter does mean. This is the sort of comment that might be dismissed or denounced as "anti-semetic" by some. I don't think that it deserves that label. But given the context, and the ambiguity... I can see how the label could be applied. And even on a charitable reading, the comment bothers me just a bit.

    The other Anonymous commenter is similarly ambiguous. What are the "Real reasons for the decision" exactly? It's stated as if those reasons are obvious. They are not obvious to me. And, as I have perhaps suggested above (and in the past): I don't think it is unlike Harper to "arbitrarily over ride" the decisions of others, if it suits him.

     
  • At Thu Nov 11, 10:40:00 PM EST, Blogger Anon1152 said…

    Comment #2.

    *

    I take issue with this passage:

    "It is a fact of history. And it is a fact of our nature — that humans can choose to be inhuman. This is the paradox of freedom. That awesome power, that grave responsibility — to choose between good and evil."

    Even without any context, with only these words to work with, I think that Harper is wrong. This is not a "paradox of freedom." It is a paradox of humanity. Freedom IS the ability to, as Harper says, "choose between good and evil."

    That is why freedom--freedom in a strong sense of the term--i.e., human freedom, not the freedom of a lab mouse that has escaped his cage--is something that we see in humans, but not in other species.

    If freedom IS the ability to "choose between good and evil," then freedom (for us humans) IS moral freedom. There would be a logical problem here--a paradox--if we could only "choose" good, but not evil (or vice-versa).

    The paradox is a paradox of humanity.

    This leads me to a deeper disagreement with Harper's speech. [Though this is a non-partisan, perhaps overly-pedantic, possibly friendly disagreement].

    IF
    to be human is to be free,
    AND
    IF
    to be free is to be able to choose between good and evil,
    AND
    IF
    to be able to choose between good and evil is to be able to choose between being "human" and "inhuman" (and this is exactly what Harper says in the quote above)
    THEN
    to be human IS to be "human" and "inhuman."

    That is a paradox; a contradiction.

    *

    From a moral point of view, the distinctions Harper makes here are dangerous. He literally "de-humanizes" humans who "choose evil." But, as I was saying--and as Harper's words, quoted above, logically imply--to "choose evil" is just as human as to "choose good."

    What makes Harper's logic here dangerous is the fact that those who do "choose evil" think that they are "righteous"; they think that they are choosing good, and fighting evil.

    In doing so, they often dehumanize those they disagree with, those they hate. This is why "genocide" is not referred to as "homicides", and why it is often referred to with various euphemisms, often involving terms like "cleansing."

    *

    I have two quotes in mind, no doubt ripped out of context, and from sources that I am admittedly, and woefully, unfamiliar with:

    "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."

    "Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster."

    When one turns an opponent or enemy into a "monster," one loses sight of their own monstrousness, and it becomes easy--far too easy--to cast stones.

     
  • At Thu Nov 11, 10:42:00 PM EST, Blogger Anon1152 said…

    I take issue with this passage:"It is a fact of history. And it is a fact of our nature — that humans can choose to be inhuman. This is the paradox of freedom. That awesome power, that grave responsibility — to choose between good and evil."

    Even without any context, with only these words to work with, I think that Harper is wrong. This is not a "paradox of freedom." It is a paradox of humanity. Freedom IS the ability to, as Harper says, "choose between good and evil."

    That is why freedom--freedom in a strong sense of the term--i.e., human freedom, not the freedom of a lab mouse that has escaped his cage--is something that we see in humans, but not in other species.

    If freedom IS the ability to "choose between good and evil," then freedom (for us humans) IS moral freedom. There would be a logical problem here--a paradox--if we could only "choose" good, but not evil (or vice-versa). The paradox is a paradox of humanity.

    This leads me to a deeper disagreement with Harper's speech. [Though this is a non-partisan, perhaps overly-pedantic, possibly friendly disagreement].

    IF
    to be human is to be free,
    AND
    IF
    to be free is to be able to choose between good and evil,
    AND
    IF
    to be able to choose between good and evil is to be able to choose between being "human" and "inhuman" (and this is exactly what Harper says in the quote above)
    THEN
    to be human IS to be "human" and "inhuman."

    That is a paradox; a contradiction.

    *

    From a moral point of view, the distinctions Harper makes here are dangerous. He literally "de-humanizes" humans who "choose evil." But, as I was saying--and as Harper's words, quoted above, logically imply--to "choose evil" is just as human as to "choose good."

    What makes Harper's logic here dangerous is the fact that those who do "choose evil" think that they are "righteous"; they think that they are choosing good, and fighting evil.

    In doing so, they often dehumanize those they disagree with, those they hate. This is why "genocide" is not referred to as "homicides", and why it is often referred to with various euphemisms, often involving terms like "cleansing."

    *

    I have two quotes in mind, no doubt ripped out of context, and from sources that I am admittedly, and woefully, unfamiliar with:

    "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."

    "Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster."

    When one turns an opponent or enemy into a "monster," one loses sight of their own monstrousness, and it becomes easy--far too easy--to cast stones.

     
  • At Thu Nov 11, 10:44:00 PM EST, Blogger Anon1152 said…

    I take issue with this passage:"It is a fact of history. And it is a fact of our nature — that humans can choose to be inhuman. This is the paradox of freedom. That awesome power, that grave responsibility — to choose between good and evil."

    Even without any context, with only these words to work with, I think that Harper is wrong. This is not a "paradox of freedom." It is a paradox of humanity. Freedom IS the ability to, as Harper says, "choose between good and evil."

    That is why freedom--freedom in a strong sense of the term--i.e., human freedom, not the freedom of a lab mouse that has escaped his cage--is something that we see in humans, but not in other species.

    If freedom IS the ability to "choose between good and evil," then freedom (for us humans) IS moral freedom. There would be a logical problem here--a paradox--if we could only "choose" good, but not evil (or vice-versa). The paradox is a paradox of humanity.

    This leads me to a deeper disagreement with Harper's speech. [Though this is a non-partisan, perhaps overly-pedantic, possibly friendly disagreement].

    IF
    to be human is to be free,
    AND
    IF
    to be free is to be able to choose between good and evil,
    AND
    IF
    to be able to choose between good and evil is to be able to choose between being "human" and "inhuman" (and this is exactly what Harper says in the quote above)
    THEN
    to be human IS to be "human" and "inhuman."

    That is a paradox; a contradiction.

    *

    From a moral point of view, the distinctions Harper makes here are dangerous. He literally "de-humanizes" humans who "choose evil." But, as Harper's words, quoted above, logically imply, to "choose evil" is just as human as to "choose good."

    What makes Harper's logic here dangerous is the fact that those who do "choose evil" think that they are "righteous"; they think that they are choosing good, and fighting evil.

    In doing so, they often dehumanize those they disagree with, those they hate. This is why "genocide" is not referred to as "homicides", and why it is often referred to with various euphemisms, often involving terms like "cleansing."

    *

    I have two quotes in mind, no doubt ripped out of context, and from sources that I am admittedly, and woefully, unfamiliar with: "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." AND "Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster."

    When one turns an enemy into a "monster," one loses sight of their own monstrousness, and it becomes easy--far too easy--to cast stones.

     
  • At Wed Nov 17, 09:17:00 AM EST, Anonymous Konrad said…

    It's an intelligent speech, and Harper's anti-subjectivist approach to foreign policy--which is essentially a rejection of the politics of cynicism, and defining the limitations of Canadian interventionism in terms of how little money we want to spend on it--continues to warrant praise.

     
  • At Thu Nov 18, 05:38:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Harper spoke well and he spoke the thruth. Most people do not know what the truth is, hence all the backlash against his speech.

    He took a brave stand and virtually stands alone as a World Leader in the Western Hemisphere - it took moral courage and integrity.

    Bravo Prime Minister Harper

     
  • At Wed Nov 24, 06:01:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    k sorry about that

     
  • At Thu Nov 25, 07:06:00 PM EST, Blogger Anon1152 said…

    I take issue with this passage: "It is a fact of history. And it is a fact of our nature — that humans can choose to be inhuman. This is the paradox of freedom. That awesome power, that grave responsibility — to choose between good and evil."

    Even without any context, with only these words to work with, I think that Harper is wrong. This is not a "paradox of freedom." It is a paradox of humanity. Freedom IS the ability to, as Harper says, "choose between good and evil."

    That is why freedom--freedom in a strong sense of the term--i.e., human freedom, not the freedom of a lab mouse that has escaped his cage--is something that we see in humans, but not in other species.

    If freedom IS the ability to "choose between good and evil," then freedom (for us humans) IS moral freedom. There would be a logical problem here--a paradox--if we could only "choose" good, but not evil (or vice-versa).

    The paradox is a paradox of humanity.

    This leads me to a deeper disagreement with Harper's speech. [Though this is a non-partisan, perhaps overly-pedantic, possibly friendly disagreement].

    IF
    to be human is to be free,
    AND
    IF
    to be free is to be able to choose between good and evil,
    AND
    IF
    to be able to choose between good and evil is to be able to choose between being "human" and "inhuman" (and this is exactly what Harper says in the quote above)
    THEN
    to be human IS to be "human" and "inhuman."

    That is a paradox; a contradiction.

    *

    From a moral point of view, the distinctions Harper makes here are dangerous. He literally "de-humanizes" humans who "choose evil." But, as I was saying--and as Harper's words, quoted above logically imply--to "choose evil" is just as human as to "choose good."

    What makes Harper's logic here dangerous is the fact that those who do "choose evil" often think that they are "righteous"; they think that they are choosing good, and fighting evil.

    In doing so, they often dehumanize those they disagree with, those they hate. This is why "genocide" is not referred to as "homicides", and why it is often referred to with various euphemisms, often involving terms like "cleansing."

    *
    I have two quotes in mind, from two very different sources:

    1. "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."

    2. "Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster."

    When one turns an opponent or enemy into a "monster," one loses sight of their own monstrousness, and it becomes easy--far too easy--to cast stones.

     
  • At Thu Nov 25, 07:14:00 PM EST, Blogger Anon1152 said…

    I take issue with this passage: "It is a fact of history. And it is a fact of our nature — that humans can choose to be inhuman. This is the paradox of freedom. That awesome power, that grave responsibility — to choose between good and evil."

    This is not a "paradox of freedom." It is a paradox of humanity. Freedom IS the ability to, as Harper says, "choose between good and evil." That is why freedom is something that we see in humans, but not in other species.

    If freedom IS the ability to "choose between good and evil," then freedom IS moral freedom. There would be a logical problem here--a paradox--if we could only "choose" good, but not evil (or vice-versa).

    *

    This leads me to a deeper disagreement with Harper's speech. [Though this is a non-partisan, perhaps overly-pedantic, possibly friendly disagreement]

    From a moral point of view, the distinctions Harper makes here are dangerous. He literally "de-humanizes" humans who "choose evil." But, as I was saying--and as Harper's words, quoted above logically imply--to "choose evil" is just as human as to "choose good."

    What makes Harper's logic here dangerous is the fact that those who do "choose evil" often think that they are "righteous"; they think that they are choosing good, and fighting evil.

    In doing so, they often dehumanize those they disagree with, those they hate. This is why "genocide" is not referred to as "homicides", and why it is often referred to with various euphemisms, often involving terms like "cleansing."

    *

    I have two quotes in mind, from two very different sources:

    1. "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."

    2. "Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster."

    When one turns an opponent or enemy into a "monster," one loses sight of their own monstrousness, and it becomes easy--far too easy--to cast stones.

     
  • At Fri Nov 26, 05:55:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Israel is one of the world's biggest terrorist states, killing innocent civilians on a seemingly daily basis. You are proud to have our PM sucking up to them?

    Bible thump = war monger.

     
  • At Mon Dec 06, 01:57:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hatred can easily be be cloaked by ignorant cowards like Anonymous!!!

     

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