By Gil Lavie Tazpit News Agency
In a sign of how warm the Canada-Israel relationship has become, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper decided to skip an address to the United Nations General Assembly, but did find time to meet his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu. Canada’s Address was instead delivered by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.
Stephen Harper met his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the United Nations for an hour long meeting Friday morning, most of which discussed the Iranian threat and the continued Canadian support for the State of Israel.
The meeting came as a high ranking Canadian Foreign Affairs official announced that Canada will not be following Israel’s lead in setting Red lines on Iran, but rather would “continue to work with our allies to find a peaceful resolution” to the crisis.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used the meeting to applaud Harper on his government’s recent decision to sever relations with Iran. “I think the work you did severing ties with Iran was not only an act of statesmanship but of moral clarity” he said. “We’ve heard Iran talk about destroying Israel, even now, here in the current round of the UN General Assembly and the fact you took such, clear, decisive steps is a great example to be followed by other nations, many of which attended a conference in Tehran and said nothing”.
He continued by calling the closing of the Canadian embassy in Tehran to be a “great example” to be followed by others.
Harper largely shared Netanyahu’s views regarding the up and coming Iranian threat, but like his foreign affairs official, preferred to emphasize a peaceful resolution to the Iranian crisis.
“Our country has not been shy about warning the world of the danger the Iranian regime ultimately presents to all of us. We want to see a peaceful resolution and we work closely with our allies to try to alert the world to the danger this presents and they necessity of dealing with it”, he said after the meeting.
The Canadian Prime Minister also congratulated Netanyahu’s speech at the United Nations earlier that week, saying his words of a dangerous Iran were “reverberating around the world”.
Canada under Stephen Harper has become one of Israel’s closest friends in the Western World; a relationship based on shared foreign policy concerns, increased trade, defense ties, and shared ideological commitments. Representatives from both Israel and Canada routinely fly into each other’s countries on discussions based on increased bilateral defense and trade ties, the most recent being Montreal mayor Trembley’s trade delegation of Canadian businessmen and entrepreneurs to Israel a few weeks ago. Harper has also been one of the staunchest supporters of Israel in diplomatic forums and became one of the few countries in the world to sever relations with Iran in September, citing its threat to world peace.
Rather than deliver his own address to the UN General Assembly, the Canadian Prime Minister instead delivered a speech at the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, where he accepted the “World Statesman Award” of 2012. The Appeal of Conscience Foundation is a human rights and religious freedoms organization established in 1965 by Rabbi Arthur Schneier, a prominent rabbi of New York.
Receiving his prize from former United States statesman Henry Kissinger he did not mince words regarding Iran, describing the regime as one of which “evil dominates”.
“Our civilized world must not shrink from recognizing evil for what it is,” he said. “Our government simply contends that the international community must do more to further press and isolate the regime”
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