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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaks during a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Harper's office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 31, 2010. (CHRIS WATTIE/Chris Wattie/Reuters)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaks during a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Harper's office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 31, 2010. (CHRIS WATTIE/Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Harper suggests Israel's government is illegitimate. Oops. Add to ...

I may not agree with everything Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government has done in Israel, but I think Stephen Harper's unprovoked attack on the legitimacy of his election victory this week was completely uncalled for and inappropriate. Israel is a democracy and one of our allies, and Harper should not be attacking their Prime Minister the way he did.

What, you missed Harper's attack on Netanyahu's legitimacy to govern Israel? He made the statement to the entire world while travelling abroad, so I'm surprised that it hasn't provoked more of an outcry.

You see, when the results of the 2009 Israeli election were counted, Tzipi Livni's Kadima Party won one more seat in the Knesset than Netanyahu's Likud. Netanyahu was able to put together a governing coalition with other right-wing parties.

When Harper declared this week that " coalitions of losers don't get to govern," he was effectively saying that any coalition made up of parties that doesn't include the party with the most seats in parliament doesn't get to govern. Not with any legitimacy, according to Harper. They're losers. No nuance, no exceptions. There's a winner and a loser in an election. The winners - Livni, in Israel's case, not Netanyahu - are in power. Those are Harper's words.

The fact that Harper feels that Netanyahu leads a coalition of losers that has no business being in power must surely come as something of a surprise to his erstwhile ally - but hey, when you have views on democracy as solidly rooted in principle as Harper does, you are sure to piss off your friends every once in a while.

Update:

I was using Israel's election results to make a point about the silliness of Stephen Harper's comments earlier this week. To the rabid anti-semites and anti-zionists who have been emailing me why Israel is an illegitimate state, enough already. Go outside and enjoy the day.

 

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