B’nai Brith of Canada announced Friday it intends to nominate Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for a Nobel Peace Prize, in recognition of his staunch and unwavering support of Israel.
“With recent developments across the globe posing new and difficult challenges, only one leader, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, has maintained the moral clarity needed to face them, says B’nai Brith Canada,” reads the press release.
B’nai Brith CEO Frank Dimant said, “Moral clarity has been lost across much of the world, with terror, hatred and antisemitism filling the void. Throughout, there has been one leader which has demonstrated international leadership and a clear understanding of the differences between those who would seek to do evil, and their victims. More than any other individual, he has consistently spoken out with resolve regarding the safety of people under threat — such as opposing Russian aggression and annexation of Ukrainian territory — and has worked to ensure that other world leaders truly understand the threat of Islamic terrorism facing us today.”
Harper made his first official visit to Israel in January, during which he addressed the Knesset. “After generations of persecution, the Jewish people deserve their own homeland, and deserve to live safely and peacefully in that homeland,” he said. He expressed Canada’s support of Israel, adding, “It is Canadian tradition to stand for what is principled and just, regardless of whether it is convenient or popular.”
Harper’s position has been unpopular, indeed. During Operation Protective Edge, when the Western world condemned Israel for its role in the conflict, Harper put the blame squarely on Hamas. He urged the world to recognize that Hamas’s actions were “unacceptable, and that solidarity with Israel is the best way of stopping the conflict.”
Harper’s Conservative government maintains that it is unafraid to choose sides in a conflict, a part of its “principled” foreign policy. This approach has garnered strong praise from Israel and its supporters, but criticism elsewhere.
“With nominating him, you don’t know whether to laugh or cry,” said Hanna Kawas, Vancouver chairperson of the Canada Palestine Association, on Sunday. “It’s outrageous.” A petition to stop the nomination has already garnered 10,000 signatures.
As Chair of the Modern Israel Studies Department at Canada Christian College, Dimant is eligible to make nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize. In that capacity, he said, he was pleased to nominate “Prime Minister Stephen Harper for the Nobel Peace Prize in honour of the outstanding moral leadership he has demonstrated.”