Michael Ignatieff's plan to travel to Israel to counter the controversy stemming from his assertion that the country committed a war crime in Lebanon has been cancelled by the group organizing the trip, over fears the mission will be overshadowed by leadership politicking.
The Canada-Israel Committee said yesterday that it cancelled the three-day trip for MPs after Liberal leadership candidate Mr. Ignatieff decided to go because they were concerned its purpose of educating parliamentarians would be derailed by a "highly-charged political environment."
The move means the leadership front-runner's gesture to demonstrate his ties to Israel is called off -- but it spares him from a risky plan that worried key supporters, including several MPs who feared it would only rehash the controversy.
"We're going to wait until this round of politics dies down," said CIC chair Marc Gold. "These trips are educational in nature. It's a chance for parliamentarians to be exposed to a range of issues. And that purpose would be compromised, or wouldn't be served, to the extent that it would be focused on who's saying what."
Mr. Ignatieff issued a statement yesterday saying he was "disappointed" that the trip was postponed. He said he will go when it is re-scheduled after the leadership convention.
Calling Israel and the Liberal Party "highly-charged political environments" is like calling Antarctica slightly chilly. Only one of them is the place for Iggy to pretend that he is the great statesman, Pearson and Trudeau reincarnate together.
Iggy in Israel would have been a media frenzy to create the prime ministerial image Ignatieff needs and the media wants for him.
Source: Globe and Mail