JERUSALEM — In a historic speech here, Prime Minister Stephen Harper rolled out a new definition of anti-Semitism — name-calling that will be controversial at home and on the global diplomatic circuit but which will make him into a mega-star in Israel.
Two Arab-Israeli members of the 120-seat Knesset thought Harper's speech was objectionable enough even before he got around to this controversial re-definition. They walked out on his speech, loudly hollering at the Canadian prime minister about injustices to their communities.
Harper's speech was historic because it was the first ever by a Canadian prime minister to the Knesset. It was just as historic for Israel in that it was the first time two MKs — Members of the Knesset — walked out on a visiting foreign dignitary.
But, of course, there has never been a speech to the Knesset like Harper's speech.
It was blunt. Angry. Honest, perhaps, to a fault. Full of admiration for Israel. And full of scorn for those in Canada and around the world who organize academic boycotts and Israel apartheid rallies. "Quite simply, weak and wrong," he called those fools.
It was precisely at the point where Harper was dismantling the "sickening" logic of the use of the term "Israeli apartheid" that Ahmad Tibi and Talab Abu Arar, one half of the Ra'am-Ta'al-Mada caucus in the Knesset, walked out.
They missed a remarkable finish to Harper's speech in which he extended the definition of anti-Semitism to include a great many more people.
Basically, in Harper's formulation, you're an anti-Semite if you criticize Israel. And no, I don't believe I'm exaggerating.