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Canadian Policy: The Jerusalem effect

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Message Bahija Reghai

So, Cannon may assert that Canada "wants to make a meaningful contribution to the 'peace process' between Israel and its neighbours," but ideologically-based changes in policy tell otherwise.

All these announcements should have been made in Canada because they have a profound impact on Canadian interests and need to be debated in Canada inside and outside Parliament.

Freedom of the press is the cornerstone of a democratic society. Unfortunately, our national news media have shirked their responsibilities. They have failed to subject to scrutiny the government's use of foreign podia to announce ideologically tainted changes to Canadian policy, and initiate the debates necessary for a civil society that is strong, open, and capable of playing a positive role in politics and government.

When he came to power, Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised that his government would be open, honest and responsive to the people it serves. His pledge to restore higher standards of ethics, accountability and transparency is yet to be fulfilled. Bowing to strident, crusading pressure groups, whose positions are aligned with the extreme settler movements in Israel, has resulted in skewed policies that are detrimental to both Israelis and Palestinians.

As Gerald Kaplan wrote in the Globe and Mail, "" if Kenney had bothered to look around him in Jerusalem, he would have discovered a slew of Israeli writers, commentators, scholars, soldiers, human rights activists and others who routinely and severely criticize their own government. Imagine NOT criticizing an extremist Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu, a radical nationalist; Avigdor Lieberman, who supports ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians; and the ultra-Orthodox Shas party."

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Bahija Reghai is a Canadian Human Rights activist and a former president of the National COuncil on Canada-Arab Relations (NCCAR).
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