A "new anti-Semitism" that emanates from an alliance of Western leftists and Islamic extremists is more dangerous than the "old European" form of Jew-hatred, Canada's minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism said as he wound up a four-day trip to Israel Sunday.
"The existential threat faced by Israel on a daily basis is ultimately a threat to the broader Western civilization," said Jason Kenney, explaining the staunchly pro-Israel positions of his government, led by Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
"It's a threat that comes from profoundly undemocratic forces that don't have the same conception of human dignity or freedom, and which abuse Israel as a kind of representative of the broader West and Western liberal-democratic values," said Kenney. "I also very acutely understand the nature of the new anti-Semitism, and I think it's even more dangerous than the old European anti-Semitism."
Kenney said many anti-Israel attacks come from adherents of a form of anti-Semitism that who appear to view a Jewish homeland as illegitimate.
"Israel is not perfect, obviously," Kenney said. "Israelis should be the first to admit that. But we acknowledge that so much of the criticism Israel faces is motivated by a dangerous form of anti-Semitism that tries to hide behind anti-Zionism and is represented by a coalition of the far left in the West with extreme currents of jihadi Islam that seek the destruction of the Jewish nation. They seem to believe that the Jewish people are the only people in the world that don't have a right to a homeland."
The 40-year-old, who earlier this month was elected Canada's "Best Overall MP" by fellow parliamentarians, prides himself on being responsible for his country's decision to shun the United Nations-sponsored Durban II conference on racism, based on fears it would be misused as a platform for unfair criticism of Israel. Canada was the first country to announce its boycott of the meet, even ahead of Israel.
Before coming to Israel, Kenney visited Lebanon, Syria and Egypt, as Canada is home to many immigrants from these countries, he said. After arriving Thursday, he visited a Jewish Agency absorption center in Mevasseret Zion, outside Jerusalem, and met with his Israeli counterpart, Immigration Minister Sofa Landver. He also spoke to Minority Affairs Minister Avishay Braverman and Information and Diaspora Minister Yuli Edelstein, who is also the former chairman of the interparliamentary Canada-Israel Friendship Group.