Benjamin Netanyahu’s stunning re-election victory in last month’s Israeli elections was the best result that all western nations, including Canada, could have hoped for.
Sure, there are some obvious reasons why I make this statement.
I’m a small “c” conservative on fiscal and social issues. I share Netanyahu’s support for smaller government, lower taxes, the free market and private enterprise, and fighting the war on terror, among other things. I had also predicted a Likud victory in a few places, including this newspaper, so, it’s a pleasure to be proven right!
Most importantly, I believe it.
Besides the positive virtues of his right-leaning political and economic views, Israel’s prime minister tends to be a straight-shooter. Netanyahu doesn’t sugarcoat his language and ideas with meaningless platitudes. He doesn’t propose goals that are impossible to achieve. Rather, he takes strong positions and vigorously defends them on a principled basis.
You may not like what he says. You may not like the way he says it. At the same time, he means what he says – and he says what he means.
When Netanyahu spoke to the U.S. House of Representatives on March 3, for example, he noted that Iran, once “one of the world’s great civilizations,” had been “hijacked by religious zealots” in 1979. He worried that the Iranians “could soon be armed with intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs.” He opposed President Barack Obama’s contrived deal because it “doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb; it paves Iran’s path to the bomb.”
Moreover, his comparison between Iran and the Islamic State was direct and powerful: “Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam. One calls itself the Islamic Republic. The other calls itself the Islamic State. Both want to impose a militant Islamic empire first on the region and then on the entire world. They just disagree among themselves who will be the ruler of that empire. In this deadly game of thrones, there’s no place for America or for Israel, no peace for Christians, Jews or Muslims who don’t share the Islamist medieval creed, no rights for women, no freedom for anyone. So when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.”
In other words, Netanyahu will not accept peace for peace’s sake. He wants it to be a lasting peace that is realistic, beneficial for Israel, and without restrictions and conditions.
The same principle applies to peace in the Middle East.
Netanyahu supports the theory of a two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Most rational thinking people do.
Yet, the Israeli PM won’t cede land, stop the West Bank settlements, divide Jerusalem and deal with the Palestinian right of return while the terrorist group Hamas continues to wield power and influence. Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ repeated calls for the removal of the Israeli military presence would leave the Jewish state incredibly vulnerable. As well, bringing down the security wall between Israel and the Palestinians would be impossible at this stage when the latter continue to engage in suicide bombings and other attacks.
That’s why most small “c” conservatives, including U.S. Republicans and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Tories, support Netanyahu and Likud. We believe he’s looking at these difficult situations (and others) in a realistic manner, and is handling them to the best of his ability.
Some on the political left, including security-conscious Liberals, would surely agree with this position.
As for Canadian Jews, they should be pleased that a strong leader like Netanyahu remains in power. He will always work hard to ensure the safety and security of Israelis, oppose totalitarian nations, rogue states and terrorist groups, and always fight for a Jewish homeland.
That’s what Israel needs. That’s what western democracies desire. That’s what Canada should always support.
Michael Taube is a Washington Times contributor, political commentator and former speechwriter for Prime Minister Stephen Harper.