Today (Feb. 11), the Toronto Star published a letter to the editor from Shimon Fogel, CEO of the Canada-Israel Committee, in response to a column by Haroon Siddiqui. Disappointingly, the Star chose to edit an important section of the letter – see below.
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In his column, Haroon Siddiqui attacks the government's position on Egypt, arguing that Canada's policy goal is to do nothing more than "please Israel."
Siddiqui badly misrepresents Israel's position and Canada's. Nothing would contribute more to peace in the Middle East, and Israel's long-term interests, than to see liberal democracies arise in the region. But this can only emerge from the civil institutions and liberal norms that underpin a stable, robust democratic society – much more than the mere mechanics of elections.
We can't forget that it was a volatile transition absent of the key safeguards of democracy that produced the theocratic dictatorship that now rules Iran.
The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, which is devoted to ending the peace treaty with Israel and ultimately imposing sharia law, is widely viewed as the only group capable of seizing power in a potential vacuum.
To imply, as Siddiqui does without any evidence, that Canada is taking orders from Israel is appalling. Ironically, on the same day, The Times of London reports that it was the Saudis who heavily pressured the Americans not to force a rushed transition in Egypt. This is a complex issue with many moving parts in the region.
Shimon Fogel, CEO,
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The last sentence of the letter, as submitted to the Star, stated:
This is a complex issue with many moving parts in the region – but for Siddiqui, Israel is always the puppetmaster.
An important point that, unfortunately, the Star thought unfit to print.