Saturday, January 10, 2009


Moral clarity on the Middle East
Full Comment, Editorial board NATIONAL POST

This week, Sid Ryan, president of the Ontario section of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), compared Israel’s actions in Gaza to Nazi crimes during the Second World War, and called for a boycott of Israeli academics who do not renounce their government’s actions. (Mr. Ryan has since apologized for the Nazi comparison, but the boycott effort persists.)

The remarks caused an uproar, and Mr. Ryan rightly has been excoriated.

Unfortunately, the resultant furore overshadowed more sensible remarks from two men who actually seem to know a thing or two about the Middle East.

One of those men is Michael Ignatieff.

We must confess that we worried about the former Harvard professor on this file: In 2006, during Israel’s campaign against Hezbollah, he spuriously declared to a Quebec audience that Israel had perpetrated a “war crime” in the Lebanese town of Qana.

He subsequently recanted — sort of — but the impression lingered that the man was willing to smear Israel if that’s what it took to ingratiate himself to Quebec leftists.

But this time, Mr. Ignatieff is supporting Israel four-square.

On Thursday, he told reporters that Israel is justified in its campaign to defend itself from Hamas rocket attacks.

“Canada has to support the right of a democratic country to defend itself,” he said. “Hamas is to blame for organizing and instigating these rocket attacks and then for sheltering among civilian populations.”

On the government side, Peter Kent, the minister of state for foreign affairs, echoes these sentiments. “The position of the government of Canada is that Hamas bears the burden of responsibility for the deepening humanitarian tragedy,” he said. “Until they commit to a permanent cease-fire … the fighting will go on.”

The war in Gaza is not a morally complicated event. On one side is a terrorist group that provoked the conflict with rocket fire, uses civilians as human shields and has gone on record with its desire to exterminate its enemy wholesale. On the other side is a democratic Canadian ally that is seeking to minimize civilian casualties as it fights back against ruthless killers. We’re gratified to see that these facts have not escaped the notice of our country’s leaders.

BRAVO! I dislike Ignatieff and his acolyte Samantha Powers, but he got this one right. And so did the NP. BRAVO! And thank you Canada!

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