Prime Minister Harper Morphs into Statesman

As Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper finishes the last segment of his historic visit to the Middle East, the measure of success is clearly evident in the reaction.

Harper, long a vocal supporter of Israel, was welcomed to the Jewish state as ‘a great friend of Israel’.  The pomp and circumstance upon the arrival of the Canadian delegation was impressive to say the least, and spoke to the often overlooked bond between the two nations.
Natanyahu welcomes 'my best friend Stephen'

The personal friendship of Harper and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Natanyahu flavoured every public speech and presser the two shared.  There is no doubt the leaders share similar personal and political ideas.

It wasn't a photo-op vacation, however.  A series of deals and plans were put in place, including the launch to update the long-standing Canada-Israel free trade agreement.  You know Harper can’t go anywhere without economics and trade being on the table.

Perhaps the highlight of his time in Israel came when Harper made history by addressing elected officials in the Knesset (essentially the Israel parliament).  In a daring and direct speech that shattered the image of ‘the passive Canadian’, Harper threw any concern for political correctness or accepted pseudo-intellectual fads to the side and spoke truthfully.

(Watch the speech here - http://youtu.be/-ZmbQG0I5lo )

Raising eyebrows and the ire of the intellectual left, Harper clearly stated his belief that traditional anti-Semitism has transformed from the crude ugliness of the past into the accepted ‘Israeli apartheid’ softness of today.  Put plainly, if you are anti-Israel you are anti-Jew.

An uncommonly bold statement for any Canadian leader to make, and one that has long needed to be said.

Stephen Harper didn't travel to the other side of the world just to chat with Netanyahu, however.  After reaffirming Canada’s commitment to the free, democratic Jewish state and its right to exist, Harper met with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and announced more than 60 million dollars for the Authority, on top of the financial commitments already in play.
Harper meets Abbas
The Canadian P.M. is finishing up his visit with a face-to-face meeting with King Abdullah and Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour in Jordan where he is expected to announce another financial pledge in the millions.

Political officials, both in Israel and out, have praised Harper for his unabashed-yet-fair style, stating that there could be renewed hope for a peace deal with Harper’s involvement.  One government official went so far to suggest (with all due respect) that Canadians do not comprehend how respected Stephen Harper is in international circles, and that Canada has replaced the United States as Israel’s ‘most trusted friend’.

Which brings me to the most obvious sign that the trip was a success: watching the progressive left and their main stream media counterparts tripping over themselves in a frenzied attempt at the downplay game.

Canada’s most notorious leftwing rags are filled with opinion pieces attacking Harper for everything from his ‘shocking’ Knesset speech to his cozy relationship with Netanyahu.  One writer even devoted an entire column to his petty allegation that ‘no one took notice’ of Harper’s visit in Israel.

Stephen Harper certainly isn't without his faults.  Domestically, he still suffers from issues such as the Senate scandal.  His government’s popularity is static at best.

However, his successful and historic trek to the Middle East has signalled the rise of Canada as a real voice on the world stage, and in addition, shown Stephen Harper to possess the rarest of qualities for a Canadian Prime Minister: Statesman.

The bigger the roar from the Harper Hater crowd, the better Stephen Harper is doing.  Judging by the screeching from the left, he must be doing just fine.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's website documenting his Middle East trip: http://www.stephenharper.ca/middleeast/

Harper performs 'Hey Jude' for his hosts: http://youtu.be/aUh5RpvvtFo

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