Aiding Israeli oppression in Jesus' name
by Khalid Amayreh
Stephen Harper, Canada's eccentric prime minister, claims to be conducting politics, including foreign policy, according to the "way of Jesus." However, it is amply clear that this man and his policies represent the exact anti-thesis of every sublime Christian ideal.
A few weeks ago, Harper, having received a telephone call from Israel's hawkish Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, insisted that no mention of Israel's pre-1967 borders be made in the G8 Summit leaders' final communiqué.
Harper's "intervention" collided with the views of all other leaders who wanted the border line to be specifically mentioned. It also contravened the positions of the rest of the international community.
One European diplomat reportedly remarked that "Canadians were really very adamant, even though Obama expressly referred to the 1967 borders in his speech last week."
Canada used to be a decent state that jealously safeguarded human rights and international law.
For many years the North American country represented a main destination for individuals and groups seeking redress after being wronged by despotic and tyrannical powers.
However, thanks to the monomaniac discourse of Mr Harper and the coteries of obscurant evangelicals around him, Canada has effectively become a zealous supporter of apartheid in Palestine-Israel, a defender of ethnic cleansing and justifier of scandalous human rights violations.
Harper and cohorts claim, obviously mendaciously, that supporting Israel's systematic oppression against defenceless Palestinians is a religious duty mandated by the Bible, since Israel allegedly represents God on earth and that standing against or even criticising the Jewish nation-state goes, therefore, against the will of the Almighty.
For those who really understand the message of Christ, this is an obscene distortion of true Christian ideals, which urge Christians to stand for justice, to be on the side of the poor, the weak and the oppressed.
It doesn’t seem to matter to Harper and his government that Israeli policies and actions Canada is asked to support are decidedly evil, immoral, illegal and, in many cases, go beyond the pale of human decency.
It doesn't matter that some of these acts would be absolutely and totally viewed as felonious and criminal according to Canadian laws. In the final analysis what is important for these fanatical Israel-firsters is to support Israel, whether right or wrong, no matter what Israel says or does. This abhorrent fanaticism has a name: moral blindness - and it is done in Jesus’ name.
I would like to remind Mr Harper, if he is prone to logic, that no previous Canadian governments recognised the legitimacy of the Israeli occupation that started in 1967. Even today, the Canadian Justice System refuses to recognise East Jerusalem as part of Israel. So, why this mindless, unethical and evil embrace of Israeli recalcitrance?
Interestingly, Harper’s government’s real stance on the 1967 borders has nothing to do with any objective viewpoint pertaining to the conflict.
Under the Harper administration, Canada doesn't even say where the future borders between Israel and a putative Palestinian state should lie. In fact, Harper's Canada doesn't even believe in the two-state solution, whereby a viable Palestinian state, with contiguous borders, could be established on the West Bank.
Canada’s true, undeclared stance under this pseudo-Christian bigot is actually the evangelical stance, namely that those non-Jews, including thousands of Christians, have no right to human rights, political rights, dignity and civil liberties in Israel.
And in case one tries to challenge Canada's premier on his manifestly oblique understanding of Christian values, let alone his scandalously skewed understanding of the Arab-Israeli conflict, he doesn't hesitate to quote from the the Old and New Testaments of the bible.
Within a minute he can produce a text proving that non-Jews, presumably including thousands of Christians, living under the Jewish rule have to resign to a status of "wood hewers and water carriers" in the service of the Master Race, or Chosen People. So, here we have a classical example, vintage Canada, of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, being used to promote Israel's lebensraum policies.
Indeed, in light of the ideological underpinning of his foolish embrace of Israeli fascism and jingoism, one can safely conclude that Mr Harper is effectively adopting the most racist policies of the Israeli right, including that of the settler groups, which openly offer Palestinians, including Christians, three choices: Enslavement as water carriers and wood-hewers, expulsion or Old-Testament-style physical extermination.
In his ostensibly infinite ignorance of the basic tenets of Christianity, Harper claims that the Almighty wholeheartedly supports the nearly genocidal geopolitical goals of the Israeli government. According to him, the Lord, who is portrayed as an avaricious real estate dealer, is an enthusiastic advocate of Israeli "lebensraum" policy in the West Bank and beyond.
Under this light, Christians have to back Israel unhesitatingly and under all circumstances, irrespective of the crimes against humanity Israel is committing non-stop against the virtually defenceless Palestinians.
Of course, Harper may continue to invoke Jesus to justify his un-Christian and immoral policies toward the Palestinian plight; policies that Christ would never support if only because they contradict basic morality.
Indeed, Jesus Christ, who some settler leaders openly and shamelessly refer to as the "Hitler of Bethlehem," would be hounded and perhaps killed by the very same people Mr Harper is now supporting heart and soul.
But, alas, fanatics don't hold ideas, they are held by them.
Besides, invoking Jesus doesn't mean that one is really following Jesus' ideals. Throughout history, many evil men, who were notorious agents of inequity and oppression, thought or gave the impression that they were serving the Lord when, in fact, they were doing just the opposite.
I have no doubt in my mind that Harper and his government are doing just that.
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|Liaquat Ali Khan|