PM Harper didn't miss many cliches in his droolingly sycophantic speech before the Israeli parliament today. He even managed to marvel at how the "people of Israel" managed to make the desert bloom!
When Mr. Harper talks about "the people of Israel" he is not talking about Israeli citizens per se; no, his speech makes clear that his admiration is only for Jewish citizens of the state of Israel. The other 20% of the population are non-entities. When talking about "the people of Israel" Harper is referencing the "Israelites" of his Judeo-Christian tradition.
Harpers theological roots lie in a conservative fundamentalist sect called the Christian Missionary Alliance. Like their literalist counterparts in Judaism, they accept that the Land of Israel is the Land of Israel because God rendered it thus. Beyond that article of faith no justification or rationale is required. Hence anyone who questions modern Israel's expansionist agenda, illegal occupation and history of ethnic cleansing is simply denying God's will.
That's why we expected the slavish adulation Harper expressed towards his audience.
But he gave them even more than he had to.
While Israel, or at least its Jewish population, defines everything that is noble and just and courageous and decent in humanity, there are bad people around. And who might those be?
Those who scorn modernity, who loathe the liberty of others, and who hold the differences of peoples and cultures in contempt. Those who often begin by hating the Jews, but, history show us, end up hating anyone who is not them. Those forces, which have threatened the state of Israel every day of its existence, and which, today, as 9/11 graphically showed us, threaten us all.
While you wouldn't know it listening to Mr. Harper, Jews and Muslims have managed to get along reasonably well throughout most of their shared history. The persecution of Jews has always been primarily a Christian undertaking.
Which is why, were I one of those smug folks sitting in the Knesset listening to Mr. Harper, I'd be having some doubts about the authenticity of the friendship he never stops talking about.