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June 3, 2015 9:42 am

Israelis ‘Believe We Have No Better Friend Than Canada,’ Netanyahu Says

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Canadian Foreign Minister Robert Nicholson and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet in Jerusalem on Wednesday. Photo: Israeli Prime Minister's Office.

Canadian Foreign Minister Robert Nicholson and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet in Jerusalem on Wednesday. Photo: Israeli Prime Minister’s Office. –  Upon hosting Canadian Foreign Minister Robert Nicholson in Jerusalem on Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israelis believe the Jewish state has “no better friend than Canada.”

Netanyahu cited recent instances of “international hypocrisy,” including the passage of a motion to boycott Israel by the United Kingdom’s National Union of Students “less than a year after they refused to support a boycott of ISIS (Islamic State)” as well as seeing “Turkey and Iran vote to give Hamas affiliate status” at the United Nations.

“I stress these points, Rob, because Canada stands out so clearly and so powerfully against these distortions of truth and distortions of justice, and I want to express the feeling of the people of Israel that we believe we have no better friend than Canada,” Netanyahu told Nicholson. “We value that partnership. It was exemplified last week, two weeks ago, in the vote of Canada, alongside the United States and Great Britain, in rolling back the attempt to single out Israel in the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty on nuclear weapons) votes. That is deeply appreciated here.”

Netanyahu also said that the Canadian-Israeli friendship “is a model of the partnership between two democracies, exemplary democracies.”

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“Israel values the support, unstinting, unfaltering, of Canada in an international environment that is often marked by cynicism and double talk,” he said. “Canada, led by Prime Minister [Stephen] Harper, is always stalwart and tells the truth. And we think that this is a refreshing wind in an increasingly hostile environment, hostile to the truth.”

The prime minister’s statement on Israelis believing they have “no better friend than Canada”—rather than America—could be the latest indicator of sharp tension between Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama, who has publicly and repeatedly criticized Netanyahu’s pre-election comments in March on Palestinian statehood and Israeli Arab voters. The Obama administration has also been at odds with Netanyahu on the nuclear talks with Iran and on Israeli construction beyond the 1967 lines. Canada’s Harper, however, has consistently been an outspoken defender of Israeli policies.

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