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The Israeli flag flies at a Toronto conference centre during celebrations marking the Jewish state's 50th birthday on April 30, 1998. (Fred Lum/Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)
The Israeli flag flies at a Toronto conference centre during celebrations marking the Jewish state's 50th birthday on April 30, 1998. (Fred Lum/Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)

Stephen Harper earns biblical praise for pro-Israeli stand Add to ...

Stephen Harper is being hailed as a modern-day "Abraham" for his defence of Israel in a recent speech to a conference on combating anti-Semitism.

"Our biblical patriarch Abraham pleaded with God to rescind the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, arguing that the virtues of just a few righteous people could suffice to save that world," say the authors of an article appearing Sunday in Perspectives, a publication of the Israel-based Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies.

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"In our modern world, that righteous person - whose voice of conscience, critique and courage may be the saving grace - is surely Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper."

The analysis was written by Efraim Inbar, a professor of political science at Israel's Bar-Ilan University, and David Weinberg, the public affairs director at the Begin-Sadat Centre.

Mr. Weinberg bills himself as a "proud Canadian expatriate." On his website, he describes himself as "a spokesman, speechwriter, columnist and lobbyist who is a sharp critic of Israel's detractors and of post-Zionist trends in Israel."

The centre is based in Israel with a North American office in Montreal. On its website, it says it is a "non-partisan independent institute."

In his speech to the conference of the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism in Ottawa last month, the Prime Minister vowed to be a vocal champion of Israel regardless of the consequences, including losing coveted international prizes such as a UN Security Council seat.

Mr. Harper drew loud applause for his conference remarks. And the authors of the paper go even farther. "Harper sounded the clearest and most courageous call of this century against modern anti-Semitism and hatred of the Jewish state," they write. "In fact, Harper's entire political career has been punctuated by steadfast support for Israel and the Jewish People, with clarity of vision and intensity without parallel in recent times."

Indeed, Mr. Harper's strong support of Israel famously earned him the support of high-profile former Liberal supporters, including Heather Reisman, the CEO of Indigo Books and Music. It has helped drive a wedge in the Liberal Party.

The authors conclude: "[Mr. Harper]certainly has emerged as the finest global spokesman for a more virtuous world. Thank you, Prime Minister Harper, for not despairing the world nor abandoning us."

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