Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
Harper’s calling Hezbollah and Hamas ‘genocidal’ is ‘inflammatory’

[21 December, 2006]

HALIFAX – NDP Foreign Affairs and International Development Critic, Alexa McDonough (Halifax), today condemned Stephen Harper’s pronouncement on Hamas and Hezbollah as inflammatory and destructive to any advancing of peace in the Middle East.

"Stephen Harper’s characterization of Hamas and Hezbollah as ‘genocidal’ displays a profound ignorance of international issues in general and the Middle East conflict in particular," says McDonough. "Harper’s rigid ideology clearly impairs Canada’s capacity to advance peace through non-violent means. It is a tragic contradiction that in the same breath he acknowledges that peaceful negotiations provide the only path forward for enduring peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

"Genocide has a precise meaning in international law to which Canada subscribes. Is the Prime Minister that ignorant of the implications of declaring an act genocidal which carries very specific international responsibilities, including an obligation to intervene?" asked McDonough. "Genocide is not a term to be tossed around loosely."

"What irony that this Prime Minister refuses to acknowledge that the slaughter in Darfur is a ‘genocide in slow motion’, and to commit Canadian troops to a UN peacekeeping force in Sudan, while seemingly content to inflame conflict in the Middle East at a critical time when many other countries are struggling to avert further violence and strife among impoverished and desperate Palestinians," said McDonough. "A balanced approach would condemn violence on all sides, and affirm the fundamental dignity and the right to peace for all peoples in the region."

"Over a half century, Canadians have built an independent foreign policy based on international law and a commitment to genuine peace-building, for which we have gained much respect and goodwill," said McDonough. "Harper’s mishandling of the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict this past summer combined with this week’s reckless comments significantly damage Canada’s international reputation."