#harper 2008 B’nai Brith Humanitarianism Award

Remarks by PM Harper accepting B’nai Brith International’s Presidential Gold Medallion for Humanitarianism Award

Posted On 06/27/08

MERCI BEAUCOUP.
THANK YOU.

THANK-YOU MOISHE (SMITH) FOR YOUR KIND AND GENEROUS WORDS.

YOUR EXCELLENCIES, PRESIDENT WEINSTEIN, DISTINGUISHED GUESTS.

C’EST UN GRAND HONNEUR D’ÊTRE LE PREMIER CANADIEN À RECEVOIR LA MÉDAILLE D’OR DE B’NAI B’RITH INTERNATIONAL.

IT IS TRULY AN HONOUR TO BE THE FIRST CANADIAN AWARDED THE GOLD MEDALLION.

AND IT IS A SPECIAL HONOUR TO BE SO RECOGNIZED BY B’NAI B’RITH INTERNATIONAL.

NOT JUST BECAUSE B’NAI B’RITH IS ONE OF THE WORLD’S OLDEST AND LARGEST HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS.

BUT ALSO BECAUSE B’NAI B’RITH IS ONE OF THE IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTIONS MADE TO HUMANITY BY THE JEWISH PEOPLE,

– WHO HAVE CONTRIBUTED SO MUCH TO OUR COUNTRY AND TO OUR WORLD.

INCLUDED IN THESE CONTRIBUTIONS ARE TIMELESS TRUTHS AND FUNDAMENTAL VALUES THAT THE JEWISH COMMUNITY IN CANADA, IN ISRAEL AND AROUND THE WORLD HOLDS DEAR.

INDEED, THE PREAMBLE OF THE CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS –

THAT “CANADA IS FOUNDED UPON THE PRINCIPLES THAT RECOGNIZE THE SUPREMACY OF GOD AND THE RULE OF LAW” –

IS ROOTED IN OUR COMMON THEISTIC TRADITION AND THE COVENANT AT SINAI.

JE REÇOIS CET HONNEUR AVEC UNE GRANDE HUMILITÉ,

– CAR LES RÉCIPIENDAIRES PRÉCÉDENTS SONT PARMI LES PERSONNALITÉS PUBLIQUES LES PLUS IMPORTANTES DE L’HISTOIRE.

IT IS ALSO HUMBLING TO RECEIVE THIS AWARD,

AS MOISHE NOTED, PREVIOUS RECIPIENTS OF THE GOLD MEDALLION INCLUDE SOME OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PUBLIC FIGURES IN HISTORY.

PRESIDENTS LIKE TRUMAN, EISENHOWER AND KENNEDY,

PRIME MINISTERS LIKE THATCHER, BEN GURION AND MEIR.

THIS IS IMPRESSIVE COMPANY INDEED.

IN THE SUM OF THEIR ACCOMPLISHMENTS, I HAVE NO CLAIM TO STAND AMONG THEM.

BUT WHAT HAS EARNED THEM YOUR AND MY ADMIRATION HAS BEEN THEIR ABILITY TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT AND NOT WHAT IS OPPORTUNE OR EXPEDIENT.

FAIRE CE QUI EST JUSTE N’EST PAS TOUJOURS FACILE, NI MÊME ÉVIDENT.

MAIS SI UNE CHOSE A TOUJOURS ÉTÉ À LA FOIS JUSTE ET ÉVIDENTE, C’EST QUE LA HAINE ET LA DISCRIMINATION N’ONT PAS LEUR PLACE DANS UNE SOCIÉTÉ CIVILISÉE.

DOING WHAT’S RIGHT IS NOT ALWAYS EASY, OR EVEN OBVIOUS.

BUT IF THERE IS ONE THING THAT HAS ALWAYS BEEN BOTH RIGHT AND OBVIOUS, IT IS THAT HATRED AND DISCRIMINATION HAVE NO PLACE IN A CIVILIZED SOCIETY.

THIS IS THE PRINCIPLE UNDERLYING THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE B’NAI B’RITH,

THE PRINCIPLE THAT HAS GUIDED YOUR PHILANTHROPIC WORK AROUND THE WORLD FOR THE BETTER PART OF TWO CENTURIES.
THE PRINCIPLE THAT ANIMATES YOUR RELENTLESS BATTLE AGAINST ANTI-SEMITISM, ONE OF THE WORST POLITICAL PLAGUES HATRED HAS SPAWNED,

– THE PRINCIPLE THAT INFORMS YOUR STALWART DEFENCE OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL, THE STILL-BESIEGED HOMELAND OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE.

LA MÉDAILLE D’OR RECONNAÎT GÉNÉREUSEMENT QUE CE PRINCIPE GUIDE ÉGALEMENT LES ACTIONS DE NOTRE GOUVERNEMENT.

NOUS N’AVONS JAMAIS HÉSITÉ À CONDAMNER PUBLIQUEMENT LA HAINE ET LA DISCRIMINATION SOUS TOUTES LEURS FORMES,

– ET À LUTTER CONTRE ELLES, PEU IMPORTE LE COÛT DIPLOMATIQUE OU POLITIQUE.

THE AWARD OF THE GOLD MEDALLION GENEROUSLY ACKNOWLEDGES THAT THIS PRINCIPLE HAS GUIDED KEY ACTIONS OF OUR GOVERNMENT.

THAT`S WHY, FOR EXAMPLE, OUR GOVERNMENT IS ESTABLISHING THE CANADIAN MUSEUM OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN WINNIPEG.

– A PROJECT INITIATED AND INSPIRED BY THE ASPER FAMILY.

BUT WE HAVE, OF COURSE, DONE MORE.

WE HAVE NEVER HESITATED TO PUBLICLY CONDEMN HATRED AND DISCRIMINATION IN ALL THEIR VILE MANIFESTATIONS.

AND TO FIGHT AGAINST THEM, WHATEVER THE DIPLOMATIC OR POLITICAL COST.

NOT LONG AFTER WE TOOK OFFICE, FOR INSTANCE, WE SUSPENDED RELATIONS WITH THE HAMAS-LED GOVERNMENT IN PALESTINE, BECOMING THE FIRST COUNTRY TO DO SO.

WE HAVE STOOD FIRM ON ISRAEL’S RIGHT TO DEFEND ITS EXISTENCE AGAINST SUICIDE BOMBERS, TERRORISTS GROUPS AND THE GENOCIDAL THREATS OF THE REGIMES WHICH SUPPORT THEM.

FROM THE UNITED NATIONS TO THE FRANCOPHONIE, WE HAVE REFUSED TO BE BULLIED INTO SIGNING ON TO ONE-SIDED INTERNATIONAL RESOLUTIONS AGAINST ISRAEL AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO.

VOILÀ POURQUOI NOUS REFUSONS DE PARTICIPER À LA SOI-DISANT CONFÉRENCE DE DURBAN II.

NOUS AVONS TOUTES LES RAISONS DE CROIRE QUE CE SERA UNE RÉPÉTITION DE DURBAN I,

– ET NOUS N’ALLONS PAS PARTICIPER À UN FESTIVAL HAINEUX ANTISÉMITE ET ANTIOCCIDENTAL MAQUILLÉ EN CONFÉRENCE ANTIRACISME.

THAT IS WHY WE ARE REFUSING TO PARTICIPATE IN THE SO-CALLED DURBAN II CONFERENCE.

WE HAVE EVERY REASON TO EXPECT IT WILL BE A REPEAT OF DURBAN I,

– AND WE WILL NOT BE PARTY TO AN ANTI-SEMITIC AND ANTI-WESTERN HATEFEST DRESSED UP AS AN ANTI-RACISM CONFERENCE.
WHICH UNDERSCORES WHY OUR GOVERNMENT, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE B’NAI BRITH, VAD YASHEM AND THE CANADIAN JEWISH CONGRESS,

– IS ALSO JOINING THE TASK FORCE FOR INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION ON HOLOCAUST EDUCATION, REMEMBRANCE AND RESEARCH.

THE HOLOCAUST MUST BE RETOLD, NOT JUST FOR ITS VALUE AS HISTORY, BUT SO THAT WE RECOGNIZE, TODAY AND IN THE FUTURE, ITS SIGNS AND ITS APOSTLES WHEREVER IN THE WORLD THEY MIGHT APPEAR.

AND SO THAT WE REALIZE WHAT WE WERE TOO SLOW TO UNDERSTAND BEFORE WORLD WAR II: THAT THOSE WHO SEEK TO ELIMINATE ONE NATION WILL INEVITABLY THREATEN
US ALL.

AUJOURD’HUI, LA POSITION DU CANADA N’EST PLUS HÉSITANTE NI AMBIGUË.

NOUS CONSIDÉRONS L’ÉTAT D’ISRAËL COMME UN AMI ET UN ALLIÉ DANS LA FAMILLE DÉMOCRATIQUE DES NATIONS.
TOUT COMME NOUS SOUTENONS UNE SOLUTION DE DEUX ÉTATS AU MOYEN-ORIENT.

TODAY THERE IS NO LONGER ANY HESITATION OR AMBIGUITY IN CANADA’S POSITION.

WE SEE ISRAEL AS A FRIEND AND ALLY IN THE DEMOCRATIC FAMILY OF NATIONS.

OUR SUPPORT FOR HER RIGHT TO EXIST IS UNSHAKEABLE.

OUR SUPPORT FOR HER RIGHT TO SELF-DEFENCE UNEQUIVOCAL.

JUST AS WE SUPPORT A TWO-STATE SOLUTION IN THE MIDDLE EAST.

IN THIS WE STAND WITH ISRAELI LEADERS WHO HAVE LONG DESIRED PEACE, SECURITY AND DEMOCRACY FOR BOTH THEIR OWN PEOPLE AND THE PALESTINIANS.

AND THE SWEEP OF HISTORY TELLS US:

THAT THOSE GROUPS AND REGIMES WHO SEEK THE DESTRUCTION OF ISRAEL
– HAVE NOT AND NEVER WILL BRING PEACE OR JUSTICE TO THE PALESTINIANS,
– THEY CAN ONLY PROLONG THEIR SUFFERING.

SADLY, THE MIDDLE EAST IS NOT THE ONLY REGION IN THE WORLD WHERE PEACE, DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS ARE UNDER SIEGE.

AUJOURD’HUI, LE GOUVERNEMENT DU ZIMBABWE TIENT UNE ÉLECTION QUI EST UNE SALE PERVERSION DE LA DÉMOCRATIE.

NOTRE GOUVERNEMENT CONDAMNE CE VOTE CORROMPU DANS LES TERMES LES PLUS DURS POSSIBLE, ET NOUS TRAVAILLONS AVEC LA COMMUNAUTÉ INTERNATIONALE POUR PRENDRE DES MESURES SÉVÈRES POUR FAIRE PRESSION SUR LE RÉGIME MUGABE, QUI A INDÛMENT VOLÉ LES ÉLECTIONS.

TODAY, THE GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE IS HOLDING AN ELECTION THAT IS AN UGLY PERVERSION OF DEMOCRACY.
OUR GOVERNMENT HAS CONDEMNED THE CORRUPTED VOTE IN THE STRONGEST POSSIBLE TERMS,

– AND WE ARE WORKING WITH THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO BRING IN STRONG MEASURES TO PRESSURE THE MUGABE REGIME WHICH HAS ILLEGITIMATELY STOLEN THE ELECTION.

BIEN ENTENDU, MALGRÉ TOUTE LA FIERTÉ QUE J’ÉPROUVE POUR LES ACTIONS DE NOTRE GOUVERNEMENT,

– ET MALGRÉ TOUTE LA FIERTÉ QUE NOUS ÉPROUVONS POUR LES VALEURS DE NOTRE PAYS,

– L’HISTOIRE DU CANADA N’EST PAS SANS CICATRICES.

VOILÀ POURQUOI, PAR EXEMPLE, NOUS AVONS AFFRONTÉ LE TRISTE CHAPITRE DES PENSIONNATS INDIENS.
OF COURSE, AS PROUD AS I AM OF OUR GOVERNMENT’S ACTIONS,

AND AS PROUD AS WE ALL ARE OF OUR COUNTRY’S VALUES,
CANADA’S HISTORY IS NOT WITHOUT ITS SCARS.
THE DECISION TO TURN AWAY HUNDREDS OF GERMAN JEWISH REFUGEES ABOARD THE SS ST. LOUIS IN 1939, FOR EXAMPLE, WAS BOTH TRAGIC AND INDEFENSIBLE.

THAT’S WHY THE HISTORICAL RECOGNITION PROGRAM WE ANNOUNCED LAST MONTH WILL SUPPORT COMMUNITY-BASED PROJECTS TO COMMEMORATE EVENTS LIKE THE ST. LOUIS INCIDENT.

EARLIER THIS MONTH CANADA’S HISTORY AND VALUES WERE PUT TO THE ONE OF THE TOUGHEST TESTS WE HAVE EVER FACED.

WE CONFRONTED THE SAD CHAPTER OF INDIAN RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS – THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA’S LONG POLICY OF FORCED REMOVAL OF ABORIGINAL CHILDREN FROM THEIR HOMES AND FORCED ASSIMILATION IN MOSTLY CHURCH-RUN RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS.

THE SUFFERING ENDURED BY THOSE CHILDREN AND THE DISRUPTION OF THEIR FAMILIES HAUNTS US TO THIS DAY.

ON JUNE 11, WE JOINED WITH CANADA’S ABORIGINAL LEADERS IN SYMBOLIC ACTS OF APOLOGY, REMEMBRANCE AND RECONCILIATION.

WE SPOKE FRANKLY OF THE TERRIBLE THINGS THAT TRANSPIRED, BUT ABORIGINAL LEADERS ALSO SPOKE OF THEIR PRIDE IN OUR COUNTRY.

NATIONAL CHIEF PHIL FONTAINE SAID THE APOLOGY HERALDED A “NEW DAWN” FOR CANADA, WHERE, QUOTE, “TOGETHER WE CAN ACHIEVE THE GREATNESS OUR COUNTRY DESERVES.”

À MON AVIS, MESDAMES ET MESSIEURS, LES GRANDES DÉMOCRATIES NE PRÉTENDENT PAS À LA PERFECTION.

ELLES NE CHERCHENT PAS À RÉÉCRIRE LEUR HISTOIRE POUR TOUJOURS ÊTRE JUSTES.

ELLES CHERCHENT À APPRENDRE DE LEUR HISTOIRE ET À BÂTIR UN AVENIR MEILLEUR.

C’EST LE GENRE DE PAYS QUE JE VEUX DIRIGER.

IN MY VIEW, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, GREAT DEMOCRACIES DO NOT CLAIM TO BE PERFECT.

THEY DO NOT SEEK TO WRITE AND RE-WRITE THEIR HISTORIES TO PROVE GREATNESS AT EVER TURN.

THEY SEEK TO LEARN FROM THEIR HISTORY AND TO GROW INTO A BETTER FUTURE.

THAT IS THE KIND OF COUNTRY I WANT TO LEAD.

AND THAT’S WHY, ON BEHALF OUR COUNTRY, I AM HONOURED TO ACCEPT THE GOLD MEDALLION.

MERCI BEAUCOUP.

THANK YOU.

source: http://www.bnaibrith.ca/prdisplay.php?id=1349


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