February 18, 2010

An Attack on Israel is an Attack on Canada?

Canada's junior foreign minister Peter Kent says, "Prime Minister (Stephen) Harper has made it quite clear for some time now and has regularly stated that an attack on Israel would be considered an attack on Canada."

Okay. That's not something I ever thought I'd read, but okay.

Now what's Canada going to actually do about it if Iran attacks Israel? And will Canada treat rocket attacks out of Gaza as though Hamas just shot at Toronto?

I doubt anything will ever come of this, but I'd sure like to know what Barack Obama thought when he heard it.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at February 18, 2010 11:51 PM
Is this a typo? Why would Canada state something like this if they weren't ready to back it up?
Posted by: anan at February 19, 2010 12:02 am
Anand, could be it's a bluff :)

I found this statement interesting, though:

Last week, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon refused to answer a question on whether Canada would support military action against Iran by the United States or Israel.

I would be shocked if Canada openly endorsed military action against any country in advance, but whatever it is they are telegraphing there it doesn't seem to be opposition.
Posted by: Craig at February 19, 2010 12:16 am
That is an unusually strong position. Reality is: Canada can do nothing from the military point of view, its available resources are tied in Af-stan; maybe some logistics.

But they can freeze or confiscate assets of the attacking size.
Posted by: Marian Kechlibar at February 19, 2010 12:23 am
Marian Kechlibar. Not completely true. The Canadian air force packs quite a punch. Doesn't take long to deploy either. Even more true of the air assets in Afghanistan than true of the air assets in Canada/Haiti.

This said, I'm stumped by the statement and not sure what it means.

Teddy said: "speak softly but carry a big stick." This ain't speaking softly.
Posted by: anan at February 19, 2010 12:34 am
Teddy said: "speak softly but carry a big stick." This ain't speaking softly.

Canada doesn't have a big stick. Unless you count the US :)
Posted by: Craig at February 19, 2010 12:56 am
In the past, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has made statements that despite the rhetoric, Canada knows that those who target Israel will eventually turn their sites on the rest of the West. Essentially saying that these terrorist groups are against all of our fundamental values. I think this statement was more along the same lines. I would say it's more of a moral support thing, I also don't know what Canadians could actually do in the event of an attack.

I also HIGHLY doubt they are referring to rocket attacks.
Posted by: jooliz at February 19, 2010 5:18 am
This is one time where I'm pretty sure President Obama had something very close to the exact same thoughts I had when I read that headline.

"Umm... what?" Followed by, "Okay, I never expected to hear something like that."
Posted by: C Kelsey at February 19, 2010 8:41 am
Even Canada is simply showing moral support...don't read to much into it.
Posted by: Gramama at February 19, 2010 8:46 am
Now Gary Rosen can tell everyone to "Blame Canadaaaaaaaaaaaa" instead..... of the "Jooooooooos"


(apologies to South Park)
Posted by: Microraptor at February 19, 2010 1:54 pm
Who in Canada gains---now---from such a statement? Someone's poll numbers shifting? An election on the horizon? Follow the incentives.
Posted by: Paul S. at February 19, 2010 5:39 pm
..And the Priminister taken to calling critics of the Olympic games in Vancouver, "Anti-semites".
Posted by: John at February 19, 2010 8:46 pm
Jeez..."antisemite", like "racist," seems to have (d)evolved today into an anytime/every occasion fallback response for uncritical thinkers. Veering slightly to the right off of that point, conservative American (Jewish) comedian Evan Sayet observed that many of the conservatives in the entertainment field are in professional sports (a performance-based profession,) since no player could get by with the excuse that he dropped the ball because it was anti-semitic.
Posted by: Paul S. at February 19, 2010 11:36 pm
The current Harper government has been making a very heavy push to gain jewish votes. Even on a provincial level the conservative party has gone so far to advocate tax payers should fund jewish schools.

In any case, this absurd statement is part of this campaign.
Posted by: tg at February 20, 2010 11:01 am
I believe this would only apply for an attack by state actors, not stateless entities. That seems to be the only way such a statement could make sense.

My guess is that the comment was aimed at Iran and possibly Syria.

Oh, and Michael, I found this interesting reading today I thought I might share:

Twilight of the Arabs.
Posted by: crosspatch at February 20, 2010 1:13 pm
tg, are you a Canadian?
If so you should know better; if not you should be a little more familiar with Canadian politics!
Firstly, the junior minister who made this comment has a sizable Jewish constituency, fair enough, but his comments are not significantly differently than what any politician would say to please any particular group who may support them.
But I'm sure Prime Minister Harper agrees with the sentiment.
Secondly the Conservative party on a provincial level (Ontario in this case) although allied to a degree with the federal conservatives, makes its own policy. So please don't confuse the two!
Furthermore, the platform of funding Jewish schools which are private was defeated and there were many Jews who disagreed and felt had it not been for this idea the Conservatives would have won in Ontario 2 years ago. The motivating factor however was that for quite sometime (decades and decades), the provincial government has been funding Catholic schools. So this was an attempt at putting some equality into the situation.
And just to be clear there were many Muslim groups who also supported the move for reasons that are only too obvious.
Your comment was annoying and harked back to the feelings that many Canadians have had regarding the abysmal ignorance that many Americans have about Canada. But to be fair they often display the same level of ignorance about a lot of other countries too. But fortunately, Americans are fast learners :-)
Posted by: yesjb at February 20, 2010 3:12 pm
Harper is just saying what your retarded jihadist placating president is supposed to be saying when one of their allies is threatened with extinction by nuclear weapons.
Posted by: A. Albertan at February 20, 2010 3:42 pm
Oh come on, Canada is tired of the fact that nobody is even considering attacking it. Everybody wants to whack Israel, but Canada gets no respect, even North Korea has a list of about 135 countries it wants to attack, and Canada never even was mentioned in any of the Dear Leader's planning meetings. Canada is just wearing the colors so the cool kids think it might be tied to one of the scary gangs.
Posted by: Dan D at February 20, 2010 5:37 pm
I have to agree with the comment about the Canadian Air Force--it has quite a few free resources. American officers have often commented to me that although Canada did not directly and openly support US action in Iraq, the Canadian Air Force played a strong role in supporting US action. Canada would indeed be behind the scenes from this perspective, just not directly involved enough (i.e. Canadian troops on the ground) to cause any concern among any neutral or anti-Israel citizens. Its my impression that Canada will be active behind the scenes where the US and the UK are in the forefront.
Posted by: Chris Beddow at February 20, 2010 7:42 pm
For the sake of argument, let's take Peter Kent literally. The next question is - how would Canada respond if it were attacked? I'm guessing the response would be like Spain's after the train bombings - retreat and capitulate. So maybe Mr. Kent's statement is both completely honest and completely useless?
Posted by: Jonathan Levy at February 21, 2010 3:38 am
Jonathan Levy, I don't think that comment is fair at all. Canada has always stood with the rest of the English-speaking world and as much as I like to rant about Canada and the UK, it really matters to me and I think to most Americans whether or not the few Anglophile nations side with or against the US than it does what the whole rest of the world does. Spain is not in that category. It didn't cost Spain anything to walk away from the war on terror. It doesn't cost France anything to walk away from the war on terror. It would cost any English-speaking country a great deal if they did the same... namely it would cost tried-and-true alliances that have weathered good times and bad for the last 150 years. Regardless of how Canada feels about Israel, I don't believe that Canada decide to go its own way as Spain and France have done.
Posted by: Craig at February 21, 2010 12:09 pm
Jonathan Levy, I also (like Craig) disagree with you about the "retreat and capitulate" comment. Perhaps in the '90s under the leadership of John Chretien, that might have been the case. Under the current leadership, the response would be the opposite. I think the Conservatives take pride in being the "tough" party.

Then again, I don't really know how the Canadian public would react. My sense is that Canadians would be split on the issue, half would run to champion the 'appeasement' approach, half would run to champion a strong response, and what Canada actually does would be decided by its current leadership.
Posted by: jooliz at February 21, 2010 4:12 pm
Mr Levy,
I also disagree with you but I do not do so respectfully.
Your comments reveal an astounding lack of knowledge, (called ignorance), of Canada, Canadians and Canadian politics.
Canadians are not Spanish and do not shrink away from confrontation. They did not do so in 2 world wars and Korea. And they do not shrink away from confronting terrorists and their enablers in their midst. and there is plenty of evidence to that effect. (You can look it up, I'm not here to spoon-feed you).
Most Canadians, I believe significantly more than 50% would support defending Israel if it were attacked and that support would cross party lines. And you can be sure that a terrorist attack within Canada would elicit a response quite different than that of Spanish dhimmitude.
Jooliz is correct however in saying that the response would be decided by its leadership; but there would be a great deal of support in Parliament and amongst Canadians in general.
Posted by: yesjb at February 21, 2010 6:18 pm
What is the latest on Canada's 2011 Afghanistan withdrawal date? Firm?
Posted by: Paul S. at February 21, 2010 6:30 pm
If only Mr. Harper's statement that "you have to put an end date on these things" were adopted by jihadists, the term Long War might recede into history.
Posted by: Paul S. at February 21, 2010 6:36 pm
For now the date of withdrawal of combat troops is set for the end of 2011, but that does not include those who are there for reconstruction and infrastructure building. However, I find it difficult to see how the latter could remain there without the former.
I think any changes in the date will depend on events to come: stability, an end of gov't corruption, sufficient weakening of Taliban influence, decent economic development, besides the heroin trade etc.
If public perception sees it as a lost cause and just another unrepentant, Islamic tyranny, especially one which can't stand on its own 2 feet or looks like it never will, Canada won't be the only country saying "adios"
Posted by: yesjb at February 21, 2010 7:52 pm

Sadly, I agree.

From a great distance, admittedly, I think I can appreciate why Michael Yon says it may take 100 years (he has referred to Afghanistan as Jurassic Park.)

I'm frustrated though that it hasn't been fought as a global war against jihadist terrorism, meaning more of the rest of the globe acknowledges and appropriately responds to their vulnerability too. Do Spaniards, for example, actually believe acquiescence provides protection, not softer, "infidel" targets? However, I can appreciate that Madrid doesn't have the symbolic significance of Washington, D.C.

If the enemy can pick off our allies' resolve one by one, we lose regardless of effort.
Posted by: Paul S. at February 22, 2010 2:04 am
canada supports jewish education for canadian jews and so on (which is nice- israel does not have many friends) but frankly speaking they can do nothing with situation in iran. even usa is helpless- ahmadinejad does not really care about sanctions or deadlines. and iran is supported by china and russia. can canada really fight with such countries as previous two? i doubt it
Posted by: harel@ Israeli Uncensored News at February 23, 2010 3:03 am
and iran is supported by china and russia. can canada really fight with such countries as previous two?

I seriously doubt either China or Russia will risk war for the sake of Iran. That would be a disaster for China and what would be the benefit? Russia... dunno. It's remotely possible I suppose but they'd be taking a huge risk and again... what would be the benefit?
Posted by: Craig at February 23, 2010 3:21 am
What struck me about his comment (aside from that I think it's mostly moral support) is that globe-trotting Americans may soon not be able to don maple leaf patch 'disguises' when traveling abroad anymore if he keeps up this rhetoric. ;)
Posted by: KellyC at February 23, 2010 2:42 pm
It's called rhetoric.

That said, the Conservatives have been exceptionally pro-Israel because of the party's Evangelical Christian (Reform party) roots. Not for Jewish votes, as some uninformed whatever suggested; Canada's Jewish population is proportionally much smaller than the US, and the riding system puts most of Canada's Jews in a small handful of ridings in Toronto and Montreal. More importantly, the Conservatives vocal support for Israel has probably lost them far more votes than they could ever gain.

Besides the rhetoric, however, Canada has made a stunning move against Palestinian terror which went almost completely unreported.

This is what I wrote on my blog:

Canada has just taken a bold, unilateral step by announcing it will no longer fund the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). This move will undoubtedly draw the ire of Palestinian supporters who consider such financial aid essential and sacrosanct. Nevertheless, UNRWA has drawn criticism for decades, and at the very least, the organization has needed a shake-up for a long time.

The rest is here: http://moreyaltman.blogspot.com/2010/01/aunties-money-bag.html
Posted by: Morey Altman at February 24, 2010 2:02 am
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