The freedom thing, &c.

Our new secretary of state, John Kerry


A friend of mine in Canada e-mailed me a tweet from Prime Minister Harper. My friend said, “Most Canadian tweet ever?” You decide. The prime minister tweeted, “Stopped by @ifstc2012 in Woodbridge today and met some students — sorry for interrupting your class.”

For a picture, in conjunction with the tweet, go here.

In my piece, I mention a Canadian prime minister of the past — John Diefenbaker, known as “Dief,” or “The Chief,” or “Dief the Chief.” He was a Conservative who held the top office during the time of Eisenhower and Kennedy (1957–63). (Leave it to me to date history by U.S. presidents.) (I’m at a loss before the 1790s.)

The Canadian government has made a video, emphasizing freedom as a national value. As I understand it, the video uses words that Diefenbaker spoke when introducing the Canadian Bill of Rights in 1960.

Dief’s words:

I am a Canadian, a free Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.

The video does not use the words “for myself and all mankind.” The Harper government is bold — very bold — for a Canadian government. It is less politically correct than any government we’ll have up there. But “all mankind” would be going way too far . . .

Something that happened last week caused a flashback in me. Let me explain: Speaking at a U.N. event in Vienna, the Turkish leader Erdogan blasted Zionism as “a crime against humanity.” Ban Ki-moon, the U.N. secretary-general, sat on the stage with him, silent.

Erdogan and Ban Ki-moon shared a stage in Davos, in 2009. Ban blasted Israel, though in indirect terms. Erdogan blasted Israel. Amr Moussa, still the Arab League boss, blasted Israel. The room was thick with lies and moral perversity.

Then it was time for Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, to speak. He blasted back. He spoke basic truths, passionately, clearing out, for a while, the lies and perversity.

I’m pretty sure this was the most thrilling and gladdening thing I have ever seen in public life. I don’t believe I have ever witnessed a performance so great and gratifying as Peres’s. I know that righties like me are supposed to dislike the oft-dovish, though not always dovish, Peres. Be that as it may . . .

I wrote up the experience for NR, here.

While we’re talking of Israel: A friend of mine sent me an article and said, “Remember, Israel is racist. Very racist.” The article explained that a 21-year-old Ethiopian immigrant had been crowned Miss Israel. She will compete in Miss World next September.

Well, I don’t see why that’s a big deal: I mean, Arab states — or Turkey or Iran — would award a black woman such a crown too, wouldn’t they?

Remember: Israel is racist, very racist. If you’re tempted to forget, the U.N. (among others) will remind you.

Let’s have a little music: For my “New York Chronicle,” in the new New Criterion, go here.

I enjoyed reading something in an obit of Dale Robertson, an actor in many a western. (It sounds wrong to say you enjoyed reading something in an obit, but you know what I mean.) “Mr. Robertson never made any bones about his desire to get out of show business one day. He said movies had gotten too sexy for his tastes. He said he got tired of having to hold his stomach in. Mostly, he wanted a ranch.”

End on a little golf — and tennis? As we learn in this report, Serena Williams was in Tiger Woods’s gallery at the Honda Classic last week. At one point, she took a picture, and was scolded by security. She tweeted, “Apparently u can’t take pics. This security . . . yelled at me.” She subsequently tweeted, “In my Defense peeps always take pics of tennis players.”

I love that. Thanks for joining me, dear readers, and catch you soon.

To order Jay Nordlinger’s book Peace, They Say: A History of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Most Famous and Controversial Prize in the World, go here. To order his collection Here, There & Everywhere, go here.