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Joyce Bateman, M.P.

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by Rhonda Spivak, April 7, 2014



Liberal party leader Justin Trudeau has said that Prime Minister Harper's positions vis-a vis Israel are taken with a view to "playing well at the ballot box." His remarks were made during an interview to a Farsi-language weekly newspaper Salaam Toronto, a paper read by Iranian-Canadians.



Trudeau's remarks, which  be seen in their entirety on this you tube video below(look at minutes 11-16 ).



Trudeau said: “whether it’s his [Harper’s] positioning around Israel, or position around working closely with the United States, he’s very, very much focused on what is going to play well at the ballot box.”




Critics of Trudeau, such as Conservative columnist Ezra Levant have written that Trudeau has in essence charged that Harper's support of Israel is no more than pandering to the Jewish vote, as opposed to standing up for core principles in defence of Israel and against terror. As Levant wrote in the Winnipeg Sun :

And then Trudeau talked about the Jews.
When he’s courting donations in Montreal, Trudeau claims to be a friend of Israel. He appointed one of Montreal’s richest Jews, billionaire Stephen Bronfman, to head up his fundraising.
"But when he’s alone in a room with an Iranian newspaper, he nods along as his hosts bad-mouth Canada’s foreign policy, including Harper's pro-Israel stance. And then he says this: “whether it’s his positioning around Israel, or position around working closely with the United States, he’s very, very much focused on what is going to play well at the ballot box.”
So Harper standing up to Putin’s illegal war is about trying to win Ukrainian votes. And Harper standing up to terrorism is just trying to suck up to Jews.,



At Shimon Peres's President's Conference in Jerusalem in July 2013 (which  this reporter attended), Foreign Minister John Baird addressed the issue of whether the Harper government's support of Israel was tied to the ballot box as opposed to doing "the right thing." He noted that in his own riding (Ottawa West-Nepean) there are "2,800 Jews and 11,000 Arabs/Muslims such that his defence of Israel isn't done to pander to the Jewish vote. Baird said that electorally, "It's not a winning issue."



In the interview with Salaam Toronto, Trudeau also questioned the Harper government's lack of "communication" with Iran's Islamist government, and questioned Canada's 2012 decision to shut down the country's embassy in Tehran and expel Iranian diplomats in Ottawa.


"I know certain elements of it were a security decision ... but I'm of the school of international relations that says it’s important to talk to each other and it’s especially important to talk to regimes that you disagree with and that disagree with you, and make sure that there is means of communication," Trudeau said.

Joyce Bateman, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South Centre issued a  statement in response to Trudeau's remarks on April 4, 2014. In Bateman's statement (which is reprinted in its entirety below), Bateman says that in the interview with Salaam Toronto Trudeau said that Canada should take a more "balanced line" regarding the Middle East. However, this reporter has watched the video of Trudeau's interview with Salaam Toronto and Trudeau in fact never said Canada should take a more "balanced line" regarding the Middle East--these words were not uttered. The confusion may have arisen as a result of an article run on the Israel National News website about Trudeau's interview with Salaam Toronto. The last line of that article ,claimed that " Trudeau ...has in recent months argued that Canada should take  a  more "balanced line" regarding the Middle East, potentially signifying a shift away from support for Israel."


Bateman's complete statement is as follows



“In a telling interview with Toronto Farsi-language paper Salam Toronto, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau attacks Prime Minister Harper for taking a principled position in the defence of Israel and on foreign affairs.  Trudeau argued that Canada should take a more "balanced line" regarding the Middle East, signifying a shift away from support for Israel.”



Today, Member of Parliament Joyce Bateman issued the following statement on Justin Trudeau’s divisive commentary:


Once again, Justin Trudeau has shown he is in way over his head.”


 I am concerned that Mr. Trudeau wants to undermine Israel’s place in the world by opposing our efforts to defend their right to exist and to a Jewish homeland. Justin Trudeau’s offend no one mentality and ‘honest broker’ neutrality offends all of us who expect Government to stand-up for and champion Canadian values at home and abroad.


As Jewish Canadians prepare for Passover and mark the freedom of Jews from slavery and captivity, Justin Trudeau is proclaiming his desire to befriend a radical regime that is determined to destroy the state of Israel. The Liberal Party’s historic ‘go along to get along’ approach has shamefully isolated allies like Israel on the world stage.  


No more under this Government. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, we have led the world with a clear, principled foreign policy that defends free, democratic states. This means taking the principled and unwavering position to defend democratic allies abroad, including Israel, even if it does not please every dictator in the UN.


Whether it is in Ukraine, Israel, or against the regime in Iran, our Prime Minister will do what is right, and just, regardless of whether it is popular, convenient or expedient.”


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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.