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July 07, 1989 - Image 28

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-07-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

!CAPITOL REPORT'

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Taking Israel's Show
On The Road

WOLF BLITZER

Capitol Correspondent

0

ttawa — Marcel
Prud'homme, a Lib-
eral Member of
Parliament, is well known
here as an outspoken sup-
porter of the Palestinians.
When Palestine Liberation
Organization Chairman
Yassir Arafat addressed the
United Nations General
Assembly in 1974,
Prud'homme, then a member
of Canada's delegation,
reportedly stood and
applauded.
On June 27, he politely join-
ed all of his Parliamentary
colleagues in standing both
before and after President
Chaim Herzog addressed a
joint session of the Senate
and House of Commons. But
Prud'homme pointedly refus-
ed to clap.
Indeed, throughout Her-
zog's detailed 30-minute
defense of Israel's record in
searching for peace,
Prud'homme, sitting in the
first row just a few feet away
from Herzog, appeared edgy
and irritated. He scribbled
notes and occasionally
snickered and grimaced but
he did not heckle or interrupt.
He had specifically been ask-
ed by other MPs to show
respect for the visiting head
of state.
Later, Prud'homme told
reporters that he was con-
cerned about the message
Canada was sending to the
world by giving Herzog such
a platform. "Hopefully, it
won't be a signal of approval
for everything that Israel is
doing in the occupied ter-
ritories," he said angrily.
Prud'homme was in a
distinct minority. In sharp
contrast, nearly all other
parliamentarians warmly
received the president, and
leading the way was Cana-
dian Prime Minister Brian
Mulroney.
Herzog, meeting at a
- beautiful government guest
house with a few accompany-
ing reporters, spoke glowing-
ly of Mulroney — "a good and
loyal friend of Israel, a real
personality. What a pleasure
it was to talk with him. He
understands our problems
and worries about our image."
"These visits," he explain-
ed, "are designed not to make
policy but to create an at-
mosphere, to improve our haz-
bara [information campaign].
They are very significant."

Canadian Jewish leaders
who came to Ottawa for the
state dinner, the address
before Parliament, a corn-
munitywide rally at a local

synagogue and a reception
hosted by the president
agreed. It was a very good mo-
ment in Canadian-Israeli
relations.
Israeli officials noted that
the Canadian government's
support for Israel falls
generally somewhere bet-
ween that of the United
States and the West Euro-
peans. The major difference
between Washington and Ot-
tawa today, they say, focuses
on Canada's much deeper con-
cern over what it regards as
Israeli violations of Palesti-
nian human rights.
Canada's Secretary of State
for External Affairs Joe Clark

Chaim Herzog:
Impressed Parliament

is seen as the leading ar-
chitect of his government's
more critical attitude toward
Israel. Clark deeply upset
Israel and its supporters here
in March when he announc-
ed that Canada's relations
with the PLO were being
upgraded. The Canadians
have also recognized the
Palestinian right to self-
determination, although they
maintain that that does not
necessarily mean an indepen-
dent state.
The Herzog visit received
some impressive coverage in
the Canadian news media.
The national television and
radio news broadcasts carried
extensive reports. The Globe
and Mail published a front-
page picture of Herzog in the
Parliament with Mulroney
standing at his side.
There was a rather com-
plimentary profile of Herzog
in the Ottawa Citizen,
headlined "Herzog seeks to
build a consensus in Israel,"
the article said: "Israel has a
parliamentary system with
most of its political power
vested in a cabinet headed by
a prime minister, currently
Yitzhak Shamir. The presi-
dent has traditionally per-
formed a mainly ceremonial
role. That is not the case with
Chaim Herzog. He has been
very active and involved in
the issues confronting Israel."

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