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Transcript of Minister Kenney's Address at the Israel Emergency Briefing

Honourable Jason Kenney: Ladies and gentlemen, it is a great pleasure to be joining you remotely from our nation’s capital, to join with you in this rally for Israel. The Prime Minister asked me to bring his special message of greetings to all of you gathered together through the good work of the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, and the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, Canada. Friends and fellow Canadians from different faiths, cultural communities, and all walks of life, thank you for gathering together tonight in Vancouver in solidarity with the democratic Jewish state of Israel at a time of great need.

As you know, Canada has been one of the leading voices in the world in defending the right of the Jewish people to defend their homeland against terrorist aggression. When we see the 1,700 rockets that have been fired by the banned, anti-Semitic death cult called Hamas against civilians in Israel, we understand what stakes are at play. We know that Hamas and its hateful leadership, its state-sponsors in Tehran, and other extremist organizations like Hezbollah do not seek a normal, legitimate peace solution. They are not interested in a two-state solution. They are interested in a one-state solution, and no state for the Jewish people. They’ve told us again and again through their words and actions that they want to push the Jews into the sea. And this Canadian government takes them at their word.

When the government of Israel has responded over the past week to defend its innocent civilians from endless violent aggression and attacks targeting its civilians, it has done what any other responsible civilized democracy in the world would do. In fact, when we see condemnations coming from various corners of the international community against Israel’s efforts to defend its innocent civilians from terrorist attacks and these rocket bombardments, we think to ourselves - imagine what would happen if Canadians were subjected to repeated, unpredictable rocket attacks from a neighboring terrorist state that were designed not to achieve a military objective, not to promote some kind of a durable peace settlement, but just to terrorize individuals and innocent civilians. This is totally unacceptable.

Canada and any other responsible democracy would exercise not just her right, but her responsibility to defend her civilians as the Israeli defense forces have done in these past few days through Operation Pillar of Defense. We know that whenever there is warfare or conflict, there will be regrettable consequences; there will be the loss of life and we all together mourn for the innocent civilians both in Israel and in the Gaza Strip whose lives have been lost in these past few days. We hope and pray that the Palestinian leadership will give as much regard to human life as the government and people of Israel, and that they will stop this aggression that has forced Israel into this kind of defensive action. We hope that the people of Gaza will finally reject the reckless, hateful and violent leadership of Hamas, of Ismail Haniya, and their state sponsors in the Holocaust-denying, anti-Semitic regime of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran.

So once again, on behalf of my colleague, the Honourable John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Canada’s Prime Minister the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, we reiterate Canada’s solidarity with the people of Israel. In expressing that solidarity, we are actually expressing solidarity for the very foundational principles of democracy, of human dignity. No democracy can live in peace if it allows itself endlessly to be subject to harassment, violence, terrorism and attacks on its innocent civilians, such as the bombing that we saw today in Israel that injured over two dozen victims – an attack that was immediately praised as a martyr operation by the spokespeople for Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
 
That is why Canada has continued to stand for Israel’s right to defend itself. That is why Prime Minister Harper was the first world leader in March of 2006 to announce an ending of all Canadian aid to the Palestinian Authority following the election of Hamas, in the PA elections in 2006. This is why Canada was almost alone in the civilized world in standing with Israel in July and August of 2006, following similar provocative rocket attacks from Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. It is why Prime Minister Harper stood up to Jacques Chirac and dozens of world leaders at the Francophonie Summit in October of 2006, who sought yet again to adopt a resolution scape-goating the Jewish state for defending its civilians. It’s why again and again, this Prime Minister and our Conservative government have taken these strong and principled actions, because recognizing the right of the Jewish people to their homeland and their right of that homeland to self-defense is fundamentally in-sync with Canada’s democratic values. It’s also in-sync with our interests.

Because as our Prime Minister has said, those who seek to eliminate the Jewish people, ultimately, if allowed to, would seek to eliminate all of us. This is, in a strange way, being motivated by the same kind of ancient and durable hatred, of anti-Semitism that the Jewish people know all too well. So once again, I would like to thank you all for gathering together tonight in a concrete expression of your solidarity and support – yes, for the state of Israel, but also for human life, for human dignity, for democracy. That’s what you’re gathering to support tonight in Vancouver. We thank you for doing so and we remind you that Canada stands with you.

Am Yisrael Chai. May Israel live and prosper. God bless Israel, and God bless Canada.