Canadian PM Harper arrives in Jordan, meets with King Abdullah II. Smart move. Here’s why.

Stephen Harper shakes hands with King Abdullah II of Jordan at the Royal Palace in Amman on January 23 , 2014 prior to their meeting. (Photo credit: AFP)

Stephen Harper shakes hands with King Abdullah II of Jordan at the Royal Palace in Amman on January 23 , 2014 prior to their meeting. (Photo credit: AFP)

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper made his first state visit to Jordan today, meeting with King Abdullah II, and announcing new humanitarian relief support for Canada’s most important Arab ally. Harper and his wife, Laureen, and part of their Canadian delegation have just completed a four-day visit to Israel. They will spend Thursday and Friday in Jordan.

It’s a smart move. Here’s why.

Canada’s evangelical Christian Prime Minister has developed very warm and close ties to the Israelis. Indeed, as I have noted often, Harper is the most pro-Israel leader on the planet.

That’s good, but it not enough. Now it’s vital that he forge deep ties with Jordan’s monarch.

Abdullah is the most moderate, peaceful and strategically-savvy Reformer/leader in the Arab world. He is building upon the extraordinary legacy of his father, the late-King Hussein, who battled Radicals, worked closely with Britain and the U.S., and forged a peace treaty with Israel in 1994. But Abdullah faces enormously serious challenges — a small territory, no oil, few other natural resources, a highly-educated population but not enough economic growth, extremist groups that want to topple his regime, and fellow Arab leaders who don’t all appreciate his moderate, pro-Western approach, especially with regards to peace with the Jewish “cousins” next door.

The fact is: King Abdullah and his nation need all the sincere, smart, principled friends and allies they can get. Harper and his nation are ideally suited to be such friends, and build a long-term relationship that can benefit both countries.

  • Canada has oil and natural gas that could be a blessing to Jordan.
  • Canada has high-tech businesses that can invest and expand into the Jordanian economy, creating jobs.
  • Canadians should be encouraged to take tours both to Israel and to Jordan.
  • Canadians are moderate, peaceful people who want to help build a stable, secure Middle East.

So Harper was right to plan two-days in Jordan on this trip to the epicenter. He sees the opportunity, and my early sense is that he is moving wisely.

“Harper began [the visit] with a roundtable discussion that included a variety of business officials,” reported The Canadian Press. “Harper, who was accompanied by International Trade Minister Ed Fast, made brief remarks about the importance of the Canadian-Jordanian relationship. Others at the roundtable included Nayef Stetieh, the president of the Jordanian-Canadian Business Association and Royal Jordanian Airlines chairman H.E. Nasser Lozi. Harper then had lunch with the king in an ornate room at the royal palace overlooking Amman….atri refugee camp, which is home to tens of thousands of Syrian refugees who have fled their country.”

“Canada is providing $ 100-million to Jordan to help it deal with the influx of refugees from Syria — with much of the money going towards propping up the country’s overloaded child education system,” reports the National Post. “The announcement was made Thursday by Prime Minister Stephen Harper after a meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah II.”

“Jordan continues to show compassion and generosity by receiving Syrian refugees fleeing the crisis in their country,” Harper said in a prepared statement. “Our government is committed to helping them address the challenges posed by the Syrian conflict. The support announced today will help ensure that all children in Jordan, whether local or refugees, have access to a proper education.”

“Since the civil war began in Syria, about 576,000 refugees have fled to Jordan and now comprise about nine per cent of the country’s total population. This has put a tremendous strain on Jordan’s financial resources,” the Post noted. “Some of those refugees have ended up in massive tent camps while many others have ended up in Jordanian cities.”…..

The Post also reported that:

  • The new funds promised Thursday are in addition to previously announced Canadian commitments for Jordan which include:
  • $ 110-million to support development projects to ease the impact in Jordan of the refugee crisis, in areas such as health.
  • 41.6-million for Jordan to mitigate the threat posed by Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons.
  • $ 26.4-million for humanitarian assistance projects in Jordan, with the funds being delivered through bodies such as the United Nations, and the Red Cross movement. The money is spent in areas such as emergency shelter, food, nutrition, clean water and sanitation.


Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

Canadian PM Harper visits the epicenter. Tells Israel: “Through fire and water, Canada will stand with you.” Brings delegation of 208 Canadians, including Rabbis & Pastors. Also, read full text of Harper address.

harper-net-flagsAt a time when so many world leaders are turning away from Israel and trying to isolate the Jewish state, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper – an evangelical Christian and the most pro-Israel world leader on the planet at this time — arrived in Jerusalem on Sunday for his first visit, telling the Israeli people, “through fire and water, Canada will stand with you.”

Harper was given the red carpet treatment by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu with whom he has become a close and personal friend, as well as a staunch and reliable ally. He and his wife, Laureen, dined with Netanyahu and his wife, Sara. The Harpers also toured several Christian holy sites, and plan to visit several more — including sites around the Sea of Galilee — during their trip.

Harper brought with him a delegation of 208 Canadians, including 21 Rabbis, 27 CEOs of Canadian companies, as well as numerous evangelical pastors and Catholic priests.

On Monday, Harper became the first Canadian Prime Minister in history to address the Israeli Knesset. He reaffirmed the importance of Israel as ”a Jewish state,” and was given a standing ovation for his long-standing and warm friendship and support for the State of Israel and the Jewish people.

“It is right to support Israel because after generations of persecutions the Jewish people deserve their own homeland,” Harper told the Israeli parliament. “I believe the story of Israel is a great example to the world. It is a story, essentially, of a people whose response to suffering has been to move beyond resentment and build a most extraordinary society, a vibrant democracy, a freedom-loving country with an independent and rights-affirming judiciary. An innovative, world-leading ‘start-up’ nation. You have taken the collective memory of death and persecution to build an optimistic, forward-looking land, one that so values life, you will sometimes release a thousand criminals and terrorists, to save one of your own. In the democratic family of nations, Israel represents values which our Government takes as articles of faith, and principles to drive our national life. And therefore, through fire and water, Canada will stand with you.”

To read the text of his extraordinary speech, please click here (scroll to the bottom of the Haaretz article where the video of the speech is located).

Harper met with Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Monday morning. Later this week, he will visit Jordan and meet with King Abdullah II in Amman, deeply committed as he is to encouraging peace between Israel and the Arab people.

“Prime Minister Harper, my good friend Stephen, welcome to Jerusalem,” said Netanyahu said on Sunday upon welcoming Harper at his office, reported Israel Hayom. “I have to say, Stephen, that you are a great friend of Israel and the Jewish people. I’m not just saying that — I mean it deeply from the bottom of my heart and I speak for all the people of Israel….This world is often cynical and hypocritical, and you have shown great moral leadership. When it comes to fighting terrorism, you know that there cannot be any politically correct double talk, but only unequivocal condemnation and united international action….When it comes to anti-Semitism, you have stood up unabashedly at the side of Israel and the entire Jewish people, I think at the side of decency and fairness to everyone: Jews and non-Jews alike. And when it comes to Iran’s repeated calls for Israel’s annihilation and its unrelenting development of nuclear weapons — you and Canada have stood unflinchingly on the right side of history.”

“Touching on the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations,” Israel Hayom noted, Netanyahu told Harper, “You recognize that a genuine peace, a lasting peace, must be based on mutual recognition and sound security arrangements on the ground. I think in all this and in so many other things, you have shown courage, clarity and conviction. And in standing up for the truth, your voice, Stephen, has been an indispensable one,” Netanyahu said. “So the people of Israel and I deeply appreciate your friendship and the friendship of the people of Canada to us.”


Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

With Intl. Holocaust Remembrance Day approaching, Rep. Cantor to make 1st visit to Auschwitz. Canadian PM Harper visits Yad Vashem. How will you remember and teach others?

Canadian PM Stephen Harper lays a wreath at Yad Vashem to honor the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

Canadian PM Stephen Harper lays a wreath at Yad Vashem to honor the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

Next week — January 27th — is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Senior U.S., Canadian and Israeli officials are taking special steps to remember the six million Jews who were murdered by the Nazis and to remind the world what happens when evil rises and the free world does not take decisive action.

I would encourage you to do something to mark the day and teach your family and friends, as well.

If you can, visit the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. Or watch a Holocaust-related film, like Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List of Roberto Benigni in Life Is Beautiful. Or read a good book on the subject, like Night by Elie Wiesel, or The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, or William Shirer’s masterpiece, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Spend the day in prayer for those who survived the Holocaust. Pray for their families and friends. Pray, too, for the peace of Jerusalem and for the Lord to protect Israel and the Jewish people from those who seek to do them harm again.

I wish my new novel, The Auschwitz Escape, was already published. Unfortunately, it does not release until March 18th. But this is going to be a very important year in Holocaust education, with notable anniversaries of major events, including D-Day and the 70th anniversary of the escape of several actual heroes from Auschwitz, which inspired the novel. My hope is that this novel will be deeply moving for you, and teach you a great deal, a book you’ll want to share with a friend and sit down and discuss over a cup of tea or coffee.

As more time goes by, fewer and fewer people have really learned much about the Holocaust. We are in danger of forgetting history and its lessons.

Thus, I’m very encouraged that several major Western leaders are focusing on the Holocaust themselves and drawing attention to it at this time.

Rep. Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader and highest ranking Jewish official in Congress, “will travel to Auschwitz-Birkenau on International Holocaust Remembrance Day next week, taking part in an unprecedented event with Israeli, Polish and Russian officials,” reports the Jerusalem Post.

“Cantor will be joined by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Patrick McHenry (R-NC) at the mega-event with the Knesset’s largest-ever delegation abroad, even though it will take place on January 27, the day before the State of the Union Address,” the Post noted, adding that 64 Members of the Knesset will be attending the special ceremonies along with 30 Holocaust survivors. 

“This is a priority for [Cantor],” a source said, explaining the Majority Leader’s willingness to attend the event despite the tight schedule. “He’s never been to Auschwitz before.”

Today, senior Canadian leaders have been visiting Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust memorial and research center.

“Prime Minister Stephen Harper paid his respects to Jewish victims of the Holocaust during a visit today to Yad Vashem memorial on the third day of his Middle East tour,” reported the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC). “He was joined by his official delegation, which includes Conservative MPs and cabinet ministers. According to the CBC’s Terry Milewski, Harper’s note in the memorial’s guestbook reads, ‘They are remembered always, in our hearts, in our prayers and most importantly in our resolve. Never again.’”

————————

Here are more details on The Auschwitz Escape for those not yet familiar with it.

Unlike any other novel I’ve written, this is a work of historical fiction. It was inspired by two sets of true  and deeply-moving stories from World War II.

The first involved a small group of German Jews, members of the underground, who made it their mission to rescue their fellow Jews, and sabotage the Nazis at every turn, until they were discovered by the Gestapo, arrested and sent to concentration camps.

The second involved a small group of Protestant Christian pastors and their families in a small town in south-central France who also made it their mission to rescue Jews escaping the Nazi nightmare, and until they, too, were discovered by the Gestapo, arrested, and sent to the camps. 

After visiting Auschwitz in the fall of 2011, I became intrigued with reading everything I could get my hands on about these two groups of people, talking to Holocaust experts, tracking down out-of-print books, meeting with Holocaust survivors, watching old documentaries, and trying to understand who these folks were, what they did, and why they did it.

What I would come to discover were stories of such pain and heartbreak inside the death camps, but also stories of such courage and hope and unbelievable heroism. Until I set out on this journey, I had no idea that an entire town in France was awarded “Righteous Among the Nations” status by the Israeli government for their efforts to rescue Jews fleeing the Holocaust. I had no idea that over 800 people tried to escape from Auschwitz, and that a handful of them actually succeeded. I had no idea that some of those who escaped did so not only to save their own lives, but to tell the Jewish communities of Europe, the Allied leadership in London and Washington, and the free world of the terrible atrocities being committed in the death camps, and to urge the world to act decisively to liberate the death camps before it was too late. Yet the more I learned, the more intrigued I became and the more determined I became to somehow convey their profound stories.

This spring will mark the 70th anniversary since those men — long-since forgotten by the world, if they were ever known at all – made their daring, spectacular,  indeed miraculous escapes from the world’s most infamous death camp. This year will also mark the 70th anniversary of the release of their eyewitness account, known as “The Auschwitz Protocol,” as well as of D-Day and the Allied effort to liberate Europe and end the Third Reich once and for all. And next January — 2015 – we will mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, and shortly thereafter the fall of Berlin, the death of Adolf Hitler, the Allied victory and the end of World War II. Thus, I decided if there were ever time to write such a book and try to help people remember this history, to be drawn into it, to experience it emotionally and even to draw lessons from it for our time, it seemed like this was the moment.

While The Auschwitz Escape is a work of fiction, it is based on several years worth of research, including meetings with scholars at Yad Vashem. It is a very different book from anything I’ve ever written before, and was by far the most difficult novel I’ve ever attempted. But whether you’re Jewish or Christian, of another faith, or no faith at all, I hope you’ll find this journey into the heart of darkness and back again as compelling as I have. What’s more, I hope you’ll find this book to meditate on and discuss with others. Above all, my hope is this book will inspire you to press in and learn more about the real men and women whose lives inspired me, and ask yourself what you would do if darkness fell and evil rose and all that you knew and loved was swept away in a breath-taking, heart-stopping instant of time.

>> To read an excerpt from The Auschwitz Escape, please click here.

>> To pre-order copies of The Auschwitz Escape, please click here, or visit your favorite local bookstore.


Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

Canadian PM Harper set to make first state visit to Israel this month. Will also visit King Abdullah II and Chairman Abbas.

Canada's PM Stephen Harper is making his first state visit to Israel this month. Here he is meeting with Israel's PM Benjamin Netanyahu on the side lines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. (Photo by Reuters )

Canada’s PM Stephen Harper is making his first state visit to Israel this month. Here he is meeting with Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu on the side lines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. (Photo by Reuters )

UPDATE: Canada appoints pro-Israeli lawyer as ambassador

At a highly sensitive moment in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, I’m pleased to note that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper — the most pro-Israel leader in the world at the moment — is set to make his ”first-ever visit” to Israel on January 19,” reports Haaretz.

The Israeli paper reports that Harper ”will be staying in the region for four days, during which he will also visit the Palestinian Authority and Jordan.”

“I look forward to visiting the Middle East early next year to explore ways of strengthening peace and security, stimulating sustainable economic growth, and promoting essential Canadian values, such as tolerance and human rights, across the region,” the Canadian premier said in a speech to a Jewish group last month.

Harper further noted that “Canada will continue to support Israel in the United Nations and in every other international forum,” reported Haaretz. “The head of the pro-Israel lobby in Canada, David Koschitzky, welcomed Harper’s announcement. He said that relations between the two countries are excellent, but there is always room for improvement – especially when it comes to trade relations. Netanyahu considers Harper one of the leaders closest to him – both personally and politically. Netanyahu has visited Canada three times in the past five years and he speaks to Harper on the phone very frequently.”

Let’s be praying that the visit goes well, that Harper’s relationship with Netanyahu, Abbas and King Abdullah will be strengthened, and that the Canadian leader will be a source of  wisdom, moral support, and encouragement to each of them.

Last June, I had the honor of spending several days in Ottawa, Canada, with several colleagues. We met with nearly two dozen Members of Parliament (including the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, the President the Senate, various members of the government, and members of the opposition party, the NDP) to discuss the crises facing Israel, Iran & Syria. 

First and foremost, I thanked the members of the ruling party (the Conservatives) for their strong support of Harper and for being part of the most pro-Israel government on the planet. Canada is pursuing a principled and profoundly moral position with vigor, integrity and consistency.

Second, I noted how important it would be if Harper made a state visit to Israel to show his solidarity with the Jewish State. On the same trip, he could meet with Palestinian leaders, and visit King Abdullah II in Jordan who needs to be encouraged as a man of peace and strengthened against Radicals trying to bring him down and impose a Islamist regime in Amman.

Surely others were encouraging the PM and his team along the same lines, and I’m very encouraged to see the trip will come to pass this month.

—————————

>> New novel, “The Auschwitz Escape,” will release March 18th. Inspired by true story of the greatest escape of all-time.

>> Here’s my list of the Top Five most important events in the Mideast in 2013.

>> www.joshuafund.net


Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

Report from Ottawa: Notes from my meetings with Canadian Members of Parliament on the crises with Israel, Iran, Syria & the Damascus Countdown. Action Item: It’s time for PM Harper to make a state visit to Israel this year.

Meeting with the Honorable Diane Ablonczy, Canada's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, in Ottawa.

Meeting with the Honorable Diane Ablonczy, Canada’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, in Ottawa.

Meeting with the Honorable Noel Kinsella, Speaker of the Canadian Senate.

Meeting with the Honorable Noel Kinsella, Speaker of the Canadian Senate.

(Ottawa, Canada) — For the past several days, I’ve been in Ottawa, Canada, with several colleagues and I wanted to give you a quick report. We met with nearly two dozen Members of Parliament (including members of the government, and members of the opposition party, the NDP) to discuss the crises facing Israel, Iran & Syria.  These included:

  • Honorable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (Americas), who is also a Member of the Cabinet Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence.
  • MP Dean Allison, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Committee.
  • Senator Noel Kinsella, Speaker of the Canadian Senate.

While I’m not at liberty to discuss what these Canadian officials said to me, I can share with you what my colleagues and I shared with them.

  1. First and foremost, I thanked the MPs from the ruling party (the Conservative Party) for having in Prime Minister Stephen Harper the most pro-Israel leader on the planet, and for being part of the most pro-Israel government on the planet. Canada is pursuing a principled and profoundly moral position with vigor, integrity and consistency. (see below)
  2. I noted it would be positive if Harper made a state visit to Israel this year to show his solidarity with the Jewish State. On the same trip, he could meet with Palestinian leaders, and visit King Abdullah II in Jordan who needs to be encouraged as a man of peace and strengthened against Radicals trying to bring him down and impose a Islamist regime in Amman.
  3. At the same time, I also thanked the Canadian leaders for showing their deep and profound support for the enslaved people of Iran. The Harper Government last fall cut ties with the Iranian regime, closed Canada’s embassy in Tehran, expelled Iranian diplomats from Canada, and are reaching out directly to the Iranian people to show solidarity with them in their suffering, and calling upon them to overthrow the Ayatollah Khamenei and his cruel dictatorship.
  4. We offered an analysis of the Iranian so-called “elections” coming up on Friday, who some of the key players are, and considered the Ayatollah Khamenei’s objectives.
  5. We discussed the current nuclear threat posed by Iran, including the Israeli Intelligence Minister’s quote that Iran is “very close” to the red line and is preparing to build 30 nuclear warheads per year. We discussed the possibility that Israel may soon have to launch a massive preemptive military strike. I gave them copies of my latest novel, Damascus Countdown, and we talked about the implications of such a preemptive strike, and why much of the world could turn against Israel. In that context, I asked the MPs to accelerate discussions they are having amongst themselves on how Canada would stand with the State of Israel if such a conflict were to break out, particularly in using their bully pulpit to tell world leaders and the media the truth about the conflict and why people of goodwill should stand with Israel to stop the Iranian mullahs from getting the Bomb that could bring about a second Holocaust, terrorize Iran’s other neighbors, and further enslave and terrorize the people of Iran.
  6. We discussed the civil war in Syria and the possibility that the geopolitical state of Syria we know today may not exact when the dust settles from this bloodbath. We discussed how Iran and Hezbollah are injecting themselves into the Syria conflict, not so much to prop up Assad as to hold the territory as a forward position from which to eventually attack Israel. I shared with several of the leaders the prophecies of Isaiah 17 and Jeremiah 49 about the coming destruction of Damascus.
  7. We discussed how Russian President Vladimir Putin is reasserting Russian military power into the Middle East region, including naval power, and why this is so dangerous.
  8. We discussed who Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is, how he views these various conflicts, and how he makes decisions.
  9. We also discussed how Christians in Canada, the U.S., and around the world are seeking to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus. It was an honor to have Tom Yancy, a Joshua Fund board member, on the trip with me to help explain how The Joshua Fund operates to educate people about what’s happening in the epicenter, and to care for the poor and needy in the region with food, clothing, medical supplies and other humanitarian relief and spiritual encouragement.
  10. The Abrahamic Covenant is clear — God will bless those who bless Israel, and curse those who curse Israel (see Genesis 12:1-3), so let us also seek to be a source of blessing. At the same time, the Lord also wants us to love Israel’s neighbors, and her enemies. While we bless Israel, let us be sure to find ways to bless the Palestinian people, the Syrians, the Iranians, and all the people of the epicenter.

In addition, I had the opportunity to preach at the Metropolitan Bible Church in Ottawa on Sunday night on the prophecies of Ezekiel 38-39, examining them in the light of current events.

It was an honor to be invited to meet with these Canadian government leaders, and to be able to pray with and for them. They are principled and courageous men and women who, along with their Prime Minister, are boldly and warmly standing with Israel and the Jewish people at a time when few leaders in the world are doing so.

Let us thank the Lord for them, and keep them all in our prayers at this critical time.

Highlights of the Policies of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Government:

  • Prime Minister Harper was the first world leader to order his UN delegation to walk out of a speech at the UN General Assembly by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad several years ago.
  • PM Harper was the first world leader to announce Canada would not be sending a delegation to the UN’s ”Durban II” conference which was supposed to be about opposing racism but turned into a vicious anti-Israel forum whose keynote speaker was Ahmadinejad, a man who has denied the Holocaust and has repeatedly called for the “annihilation” of the Jewish State.
  • The Harper Government has courageous fought anti-Semitism.
  • When the Gaza flotilla crisis unfolded, the Harper Government stood strongly with Israel’s right to defend herself from terrorist and left-wing activist attacks, whereas the White House equivocated.
  • In contrast to the Obama Administration, Prime Minister Harper and his Government has consistently built a warm and increasingly close professional relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu over the last eight years.
  • The Harper Government has strongly urged the world to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program before it is too late.
  • The Harper Government has been so pro-Israel that Canada recently lost its bid to be on the UN Security Council because anti-Israel countries coalesced against Canada and prevented her from attaining such a globally influential position.
  • The Harper Government has explicitly called for “regime change” in Iran, something the Obama administration has not done.
  • The Harper Government is reaching out directly to the Iranian people and calling on them to overthrow their “clerical military dictatorship.”
  • In September 2012, the Harper Government cut diplomatic ties with Iran, closed the Canadian embassy in Tehran, and expelled Iranian diplomats from Canada.

——————————

>> Read Damascus Countdown, the New York Times best-selling novel.

>> To learn more about the work of The Joshua Fund — and/or to provide a tax-deductible contribution to this work — please visit www.joshuafund.net.

>> To learn more about the Bible prophecies of the “War of Gog & Magog,” please click here.


Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog