NEW YORK (AP) — Canada’s prime minister Stephen Harper expressed dismay Thursday at the growing lack of support for Israel across the world and criticized international leaders for failing to back the Jewish state.

“There’s nothing more shortsighted in Western capitals in our time than the softening of support we’ve seen for Israel around the globe,” he said, calling the country “the one stable, democratic ally in this part of the world.”

Speaking during a visit to New York City, Harper also touched on Syria as he urged “extraordinary caution” on the idea of arming the opposition.

“We should not fool ourselves about what’s happening in Syria,” he said, saying there is “brutality and extremism on both sides.”

“To start talking about arming unnamed people whose objectives we don’t understand, I think, is extremely risky,” Harper said.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press