Stephen Harper at AIPAC 2017 conference
Stephen Harper at AIPAC 2017 conferenceReuters

Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Sunday addressed the 2017 AIPAC policy conference and discussed his support for Israel during his time as Prime Minister.

“What is the difference between our values and Israel’s? None. What is the difference in the threats we face? The only difference is that Israel is much closer to these threats than we are,” Harper said.

“We have one choice: We stand by Israel and we stand against those threats or we watch those threats come to our own shores,” he continued.

“I was the first Canadian Prime Minister ever to speak to the Knesset,” Harper said, discussing his biggest achievements in terms of the Canada-Israel relationship.

“The government I led, we consistently refused to be bullied into signing one-sided international resolutions against the State of Israel, and I’m proud of that because it was the right thing to do…I noticed that over time, other countries ceased to try to change my point of view.”

Asked what could be done against these one-sided anti-Israel resolutions, Harper replied, “The United Nations is not a group of democratic nations. The United Nations is the one forum in the world that includes everybody – the good, the bad and the ugly.”

At the same time, he added, “It’s outrageous that in the UN Human Rights Council, the one and only country in the world that is subject to an agenda item is Israel…but none of that is an excuse for leaders of Western countries not to stand up and defend one of the biggest allies of the State of Israel.”

One of the biggest threats to Israel today, opined Harper, is Iran becoming a nuclear power.

“I think it’s important to do everything in our power to stop that fanatical regime from obtaining nuclear weapons,” he said.

But the most serious threat to Israel is the BDS movement, he continued.

“The BDS movement is about translating the old ideology of anti-Semitism into something acceptable to a new generation. The BDS movement, in calling for the boycott, sanctions and divestment in Israel, in having Jewish students harassed – these are its realities,” the former Prime Minister said.

“It is incumbent on all of us to be as vocal and as loud in our denunciations [of BDS] as we can possibly be,” he added.