"It's hard to pick just one low point of political rhetoric this week -- though the Prime Minister reviving his old ‘anti-Semite’ smears against Liberal MPs definitely qualifies. For those who missed it, Harper's comments came in a radio interview, in which he talked about how '...anti-Israel sentiment, really [can be] just...a thinly disguised veil for good old fashioned anti-Semitism.'The Harper quotes can be found in this CanWest report. Bob Rae inquired about the drive-by smear in the House today:
Then Harper said: 'I am disturbed that there are some elements in our political system, there are even some members of Parliament...some that were willing to cater to that kind of opinion.'
Harper must have felt this worked when he first dragged out the allegation in 2006.
Pulling the smear out again this week, on the occasion of Israel's 60th anniversary as a nation, seems a little much."
Rae asked Conservative House Leader Peter Van Loan to identify the MPs Harper was referring to. Harper was not in the House on Friday during question period.These are the moments when I'm glad we have Mr. Rae in the House. He has the gravitas to lend to a given situation that requires a stern focus from Canadians. This is one of those instances where it's worth people's whiles to stop and think about the implications of what the PM said.
"Now I'd like to ask the minister, perhaps he will understand the sensitivity that all of us feel as members of parliament, perhaps the minister can tell us perhaps who exactly are the anti-Semites that the prime minister is talking about," Rae said.
Van Loan said that Rae himself had experienced anti-Semitism during his leadership candidacy and knows the "corrosive impact it can have."
During his campaign, Rae's campaign said he was the target of anti-Semitic attacks for his support of Israel and in part because his wife is Jewish.
But Rae said the current issue over the prime minister's interview is not about him and he hopes Prime Minister Harper will clarify his comments next week.
These comments from our PM, icon of integrity that he is, need to be pressed in order to get Harper on the record and clarify exactly whom he meant. Smearing unnamed Members of Parliament smears all. We'll likely hear more generalized gobbledygook to weasel out from under his comments. But in the meantime, the Prime Minister has done his damage by throwing this bomb, hasn't he? And how smarmy of Van Loan to try to draw Rae into this with his you-know-how-it-is act. Rae wasn't buying.
Just when you think the PM could go no lower on his partisan road, he presents us with a new example of his vicious streak. A big Conservative hatorade award here, that goes without saying...
(See also Creekside, pogge, Galloping Beaver, Canadian Cynic)