It's nice that Netanyahu found a leader of an important Western country ready to support his pronouncements, after other leaders turned him down. But Netanyahu's lobbying only brought Israel the illusion of success. Obama didn't change his position and neither did the leaders of the European Union. Even after supposedly yielding to Netanyahu's demand, they still believe that Israel should retreat from the West Bank, evacuate the settlements and allow the Palestinians to set up an independent state, with its capital in East Jerusalem.
The editorial speaks to the crux, while Israel may welcome Canada's support, Harper's G8 stance didn't change any minds, in the countries that ultimately matter in the peace process. In reality, Harper's stance is increasingly nothing but symbolism, with the added negative of isolating Canada as we move forward. Today's, Embassy piece speaks to Harper's isolation, rather than some wishful influence over Obama, really the Americans will just tune us out, all the while being unnecessarily irritated:
The biggest surprise for those who took issue with Mr. Harper's position, however, is that Canada is now out of step with the US—a fact that will likely not sit well with the Obama administration.
"At a time when Obama has been struggling so hard to get the peace talks going, why would we take a position which basically undercuts it?" Mr. Molloy asked.
Mr. Hibbard echoed those comments, saying that Mr. Harper's stand will not sit well with the US president—which has the potential to incur long-term impacts on relations between Canada and the US.
"When you have our prime minister undercutting the president of the United States, who faces a very difficult situation domestically on this issue, then he's losing credibility with the president," Mr. Hibbard said. "I cannot imagine that Harper will have a lot of influence in Washington. I thought that he would have been more sophisticated."
It's important for pro-Israel interests to consider the consequences beyond Harper's public support. What we have seen isn't courageous on Harper's part, it's plain STUPID, it denotes once again a lack of foreign policy understanding. A G8 communique has to be the most USELESS of proclamations, lacking in any real weight. In other words, if Harper was really interested in furthering Israel's interests, taking such a public stand was counter-productive, particularly with regard to the poster child of empty rhetoric, a G8 pronouncement. All Harper accomplished was to appear off side with other world leaders, with regard to a bunch of words that will have no bearing on anything moving forward. A shrewd strategy goes along with the rhetoric, while quietly working behind the scenes to further your position. If you isolate yourself, you can't "arm twist", you're almost a pariah, a voluntary outsider, that plays no role whatsoever.
Harper doesn't seem to understand that Canada isn't a superpower, it's stature is limited, and within that reality, our interests are best served by offering quiet counsel, not "courageous" positions, which is code for practical irrelevance. Moving forward, Harper has marginalized Canada on the Israel/Palestine question, which should concern those in the pro-Israel camp. Are people looking for a superficial cheerleader, or someone who is a true ally, in the sense they have weight and influence? If it's the latter, than all sides can agree, Harper's approach does nothing for Israel, it does nothing for the peace process, it just alienates allies. Factor in the damage Harper is doing to past relationships with the Palestinian side- who know see as simply parroting Israeli positions- and you have complete and utter failure, a foreign policy disaster. If the peace process does move forward, don't expect Canada to play any role whatsoever, that fact in and of itself speaks to the bottom line reality within Harper's blunder.