JERUSALEM, Israel -- Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's unflinching support of Israel is a rare commodity these days.
"Canada supports Israel because it is the right thing to do so," Harper told Israeli lawmakers on Monday. "It is a Canadian tradition to stand for what is principled and just, regardless of whether it is convenient or popular."
Harper's speech prompted a comparison by Jerusalem Post political correspondent Herb Keinon to Knesset addresses by U.S. President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande, whose friendly remarks precipitated criticism.
"His [Harper's] was not a 'yes, but' speech; his was a 'yes, yes' speech," Keinon wrote.
Click here to watch Prime Minister Harper's speech.
Harper called Israel "the only country in the Middle East that has long anchored itself in the ideals of freedom, democracy, and rule of law."
"These are not mere notions," he continued. "They are things that over time and against all odds have proven to be the only ground in which human rights, political stability, and economic prosperity may flourish."
Knesset members gave Harper a standing ovation after Arab MKs Ahmed Tibi and Taleb Abu Arar shouted accusations of apartheid and walked out.
"Through fire and water, Canada will stand with you," Harper affirmed.