September 27, 2011 – New York – AJC applauds Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird for his courageous and principled address yesterday to the UN General Assembly.
“Just as fascism and communism were the great struggles of previous generations, terrorism is the great struggle of ours,” Baird told the UN General Assembly. “Too often Israel is on the front line of our struggle and its people the victims of terror. Canada will not accept or stay silent while the Jewish state is attacked for defending its territory and its citizens.”
The foreign minister reiterated Canada’s firm opposition to the Palestinian bid for UN recognition of statehood without first reaching an agreement with Israel. “Our government’s position has been clear. The only solution to this issue is one that is negotiated by the parties themselves,” said Baird.
AJC Executive Director David Harris, who, together with an AJC leadership delegation, met with Baird yesterday, applauded the minister’s speech.
“Foreign Minister Baird’s exceptional speech, a rarity in the halls of the UN, demonstrates once again Canada’s unshakeable resolve to stand up for its values, even at the expense of political convenience and popularity ratings at the UN,” said Harris. “Canada was everybody’s favorite country at the UN until it began speaking up loudly in support of Israel, and was made to pay for that by losing its bid last year for a Security Council seat.”
Baird warned against cowering to terrorists, citing Winston Churchill, who said, “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”
Speaking more broadly about Canada’s longstanding commitment to multilateral cooperation and the founding principles of the UN, Baird said, “Canada does not just ‘go along’ in order to ‘get along.’ We will ‘go along’ only if we ‘go’ in a direction that advances Canada’s values: freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”