Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird_390.
(photo credit: Courtesy of Herzliya Conference)
WASHINGTON – Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird electrified the massive
pro-Israel crowd at this week’s AIPAC’s policy conference with his
straight-talking affirmation of Israeli-Canadian shared values.
his no-nonsense anti-terror policies toward Iranian- sponsored terrorism and its
main proxy – the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah – Baird earned accolades
from experts on Israel, leading to a crystallization of Canadian-Israeli ties
into a non-formal special relationship.
In an interview with The
, Baird studiously avoided the bobbing and weaving that frequently
takes place with top diplomats on contentious Middle East crises.
the example of the EU’s refusal to list Hezbollah on its list of terrorist
organizations. In contrast to this, Baird stated that the Lebanese group is
“obviously a terrorist organization.”
He stressed Canada’s push to
convince EU countries in international forums to outlaw Hezbollah, and noted
that Canada will work on two tracks – at the NATO foreign minister’s meeting and
during visits between the French and Canadian governments.
largely viewed as the most recalcitrant EU country blocking a move designating
Hezbollah as a terrorist group.
Josh Block, who spoke at the AIPAC event
and is head of The Israel Project, told the Post
on Wednesday that “Canada’s
model is extraordinary.”
Block, who served as a spokesman during the
administration of former US president Bill Clinton, said that both Baird and
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper deeply understand the “threat to civil
society poised by intolerance and terrorism and the undercurrents of Islamic
radicalism that are sweeping the region” in the Middle East.
that “there is a moral clarity that Harper and Baird have brought to these
issues.” He declared that, despite the many naysayers fearful of blowback from
Arab countries regarding Canada’s pro-Israel position, claims that Canada’s
embrace of the ethical high ground would “worsen relations with Arab world”
turned out to be patently false.
Baird and Harper are “against
anti-Semitism, terrorism and violence” and they “should be admired for their
choices,” Block declared.
Mark Dubowitz, the executive director of the
Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies who is both a leading
expert on Canadian-Israeli relations and an authority on Iran’s alleged nuclear
weapons program, told the Post
, that “the Canadian government deserves
significant credit for its courageous and resolute stand against the threat
represented by the Iranian regime to liberal democracies.”
explained that Harper, Baird and other government officials “have led the way in
highlighting the regime’s atrocious human rights record, its pursuit of nuclear
weapons capability, its overseas terrorist operations and its genocidal threats
“The Canadian government has designated Iran as a state
sponsor of terrorism, and expelled Iranian diplomats from Ottawa, who were
Iranian intelligence officials running WMD [weapons of mass destruction]
procurement and financing networks from the Iranian embassy and an intimidation
campaign against Iranian-Canadians. The Canadian government has also added
Iran’s two overseas terrorist units, the Quds Force and Hezbollah, to Canada’s
list of terrorist organizations under the Canadian Criminal Code,” said
While stressing Canada’s “record of achievement,” he added that
“more can be done.” Dubowitz’s policy recommendations center around Canada
adding “Iran’s entire Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to that Criminal Code
terrorism list – like the United States did in 2007.”
Guards are the regime’s praetorians who direct Iran’s nuclear and ballistic
missile and terrorist activities, and are responsible for Iran’s vast system of
domestic repression.”Benjamin Weinthal is a European affairs correspondent for
Post and a fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.