By Moshe Phillips and Benyamin Korn
Israel long ago learned that you can tell who your real friends are when the chips are down. The Gaza war is proving that again.
During the 2012 election campaign, when polls showed that President Barack Obama might lose a significant portion of the Jewish vote in key electoral states, he declared that he “will always have Israel’s back.”
But this past week, as hundreds of Hamas rockets rained down upon the Jewish state, and Israel really needed an ally to have its back, President Obama called Prime Minister Netanyahu to demand that Israel show “restraint.”
That was followed the next day by a phone call from Secretary of State John Kerry to Netanyahu, warning against “escalating tensions” and pressing Israel to let him “mediate a truce.”
The last thing Israel needs is a “truce” with Hamas. The Israelis have had two of those already. A “truce” means Hamas gets several more years to build up its supply of rockets, in preparation for the next round.
And with every new round, Hamas has new rockets, that can reach even further and cause even more devastation.
By pressing for “restraint” and a “truce,” Obama and Kerry are, in effect, trying to save Hamas from being crippled or destroyed by Israel. Is that their idea of “having Israel’s back” ?
Now contrast the Obama-Kerry line that with the words of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper this week:
— “The indiscriminate rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel are terrorist acts, for which there is no justification.”
— “It is evident that Hamas is deliberately using human shields to further terror in the region.”
— “Failure by the international community to condemn these reprehensible actions would encourage these terrorists to continue their appalling actions.”
— “Canada calls on its allies and partners to recognize that these terrorist acts are unacceptable and that solidarity with Israel is the best way of stopping the conflict.”
There was really nothing controversial in Harper’s words. They were simple statements of fact. But in today’s upside-down world, it is remarkable when a world leader simply tells the truth about Israel and the Palestinians.
It’s almost as if we surprised when a world leader turns out not to be a hypocrite, a political coward, or an appeaser. We’re so used to the international community’s outrageous double standards, that it becomes remarkable when a national leader acts like a mensch.
The sixth lesson from the Gaza war: Israel has a true friend in Ottawa. The White House could learn a thing or two from Stephen Harper about what it really means to have someone’s back.
Moshe Phillips and Benyamin Korn are members of the board of the Religious Zionists of America. This is the third in a series. To view previous installments, please visit www.phillyreligiouszionists.org/lessons-from-the-gaza-war/.