The Appeal of Conscience Foundation, an international organization founded by New York rabbi Arthur Schneier, has picked Mr. Harper as its World Statesman of the Year for 2012. He joins a list of past recipients – also deemed promoters of human rights and freedom – that includes Jean Chrétien, Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel and, most recently, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.
The presentation of the award to Mr. Harper is likely to spark debate at home, where his critics and admirers will face off over whether the Conservative Prime Minister ranks as a global statesman.
Mr. Harper’s critics have argued he lost a bid for the UN Security Council, has overemphasized the military and shifted Canada to a one-sided support of Israel. His supporters will contend he has taken strong stands – and his position on Israel was cited by the ACF’s founder as one reason he will be recognized with the award [...]
“We’re not one issue. However, this [is] a significant issue – the Middle East and Iran today. His stand, I think, is basically one of conviction. That Israel is an outpost of democracy, and he supports democracies,” Mr. Schneier said. At a meeting last week, Mr. Schneier was impressed by the Prime Minister’s “unambiguous” views.