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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Harper’s lopsided delegation to Israel

News headlines trumpet the fact that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has taken a group of 150 to 200 supporters to Israel, some at taxpayers’ expense.

Reading through the list is an eye-opener. It includes 21 Jewish rabbis and more than 56 representatives from various Zionist lobbying groups and private Jewish schools. In addition, there are 10 representatives from evangelical Christian groups that tend to unconditionally support the most extreme Israeli positions. The delegation includes members of these groups, the Christian Missionary Alliance of Canada, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, Trinity Bible Church, Crossroads Christian Communications and the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.

The PM is also taking more than 27 chief executives of Canadian corporations, lawyers and two Canadian university presidents. From his own government are six cabinet ministers and eight Tory MPs. In addition, he gave free seats to former Tory cabinet minister Stockwell Day and his wife Valorie. Stockwell Day sits on the board of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), the most prominent pro-Israel lobbying group in Canada.

What will this huge delegation do? Little of substance. But clearly that's not the real purpose of the trip. Harper’s junket is designed to mark the beginning of an unsurpassed effort to align the Canadian government with one of the most aggressive, intransigent, hardline, expansionist governments in the history of Israel.

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