Jan. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Israel is being targeted by a “new anti-Semitism” and pledged that his government will maintain sanctions against Iran until that country proves it’s no longer pursuing nuclear weapons.
Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state is “absolute and non-negotiable,” Harper said today in a speech to the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem. Canada wants the Palestinian people to “choose a viable, democratic” state that is “committed to living peacefully alongside” Israel, he said.
“Criticism of Israeli government policy is not in and of itself necessarily anti-Semitic,” Harper said. “But what else can we call criticism that selectively condemns only the Jewish state and effectively denies its right to defend itself while systematically ignoring or excusing the violence and oppression all around it?”
Canada has imposed economic sanctions against Iran that include a ban on most exports. The prime minister said his country will be a “strong voice” for new global sanctions if Iran doesn’t live up to its promises on nuclear weapons.
Harper also said that supporting Israel is in Canada’s own long-term self interest, and that the two countries are seeking to broaden trade and investment links.
Two Arab members of parliament, Ahmed Tibi and Taleb Abu Arar, heckled Harper because of his strong support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and then left the chamber.
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