May 10, 2013 -- New York -- AJC honored
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice with its prestigious Distinguished Public
"I’m deeply moved to receive AJC’s
Distinguished Public Service Award,” said Rice. “I’m proud to accept this honor
as a tribute to the dedicated work by President Obama, his administration, and
my colleagues at the U.S. Mission to the UN.”
AJC Executive Director David Harris presented the
award at the annual AJC Women’s Leadership Board luncheon. Nearly 250 attended
the overflow event at the UN Delegates Dining Room. Ron Prosor, Israel’s
ambassador to the UN, delivered the keynote address.
“You cannot succeed as U.S. ambassador to the UN
unless you are feisty, tough and unafraid to speak out,” said David Harris.
“Ambassador Rice puts courage and principle above convenience and cynicism.”
The plaque on the AJC award recognized Ambassador
Rice’s role at the UN as a “staunch defender of human dignity and democratic
Rice praised AJC for its long engagement with the
UN, which began in 1945, at the very founding of the world body, and reviewed
current challenges, especially the place of Israel at the UN.
“AJC has a distinguished history fighting for human
rights, democracy, the Jewish people, and the state of Israel. I commend AJC
and its leadership for your thoughtful approach,” said Rice. “We all understand
the UN’s flaws. But AJC has also understood the importance of the UN, and of
working for change with persistence, patience, and principle. That’s not the
easiest path, but it is the most constructive one, and I’m grateful.”
One of the most glaring flaws of the UN has been
the treatment of Israel. “Anyone who cares about the international system has
to be concerned when one member state is unfairly singled out,” said Rice.
The continuous “barrage of obsessive, unbalanced,
and relentless criticism” of Israel “undermines the UN’s own highest values,”
Rice continued. “From President Obama on down, our view is that Israel-bashing
at the UN isn’t just a problem for Israel. It’s a problem for all of us.”
Rice spoke about the U.S. commitment to countering
the ongoing challenges both to Israel’s security and legitimacy. “The UN should
be a place where conflicts are cooled, not inflamed—where confidence is built,
not eroded,” she said.
One encouraging example she cited, as did
Ambassador Prosor in his remarks, was last year’s UN General Assembly
resolution on entrepreneurship and development. The groundbreaking measure,
sponsored by Israel, garnered 141 votes, out of 193 UN members.
The enduring bond between the U.S. and Israel, as
well as between Prosor and Rice at the UN, was evident at the AJC luncheon, and
reflected in the mutual praise of both envoys.
“Ambassador Rice, her team, the U.S. deserve an
amazing applause for standing up passionately for the State of Israel,” said
Read the full text of Ambassador Rice's speech to AJC.