Canadian Foreign minister John Baird 390.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel has no greater friend in the world than Canada, Canadian Foreign Minister
John Baird said during a warm address at the opening of the 12th-annual Herzliya
Conference on Monday night.
Ottawa stood with Israel because it was a
Canadian tradition “to stand for what is principled and just, regardless of
whether it is popular, convenient or expedient,” Baird said.
government supported Israel so strongly, he said, because it embodied the values
Canada held dear and respects, and because it was “a beacon of light in a region
that craves freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of
Slamming the “constant barrage of rhetorical demonization, double
standards and delegitimization” of Israel, Baird characterized this as the new
“Harnessing disparate anti- Semitic, anti-American and
anti-Western ideologies, it targets the Jewish people by targeting the Jewish
homeland, Israel, as the source of injustice and conflict in the world, and
uses, perversely, the language of human rights to do so,” he said. “We must be
relentless in exposing this new anti-Semitism for what it is.”
the anti-Israel sentiment would be the “easy thing to do” and it would be much
simpler to just “pretend that engaging in anti- Israeli rhetoric is being
somehow even-handed,” Baird said. But Canada would not “go along to get along,”
and would not remain silent while “the Jewish state is attacked for defending
its territory or people.”
He likened terrorism to fascism and communism,
and cautioned against appeasing it. Quoting Winston Churchill, he said “an
appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him
Turning to the diplomatic process with the Palestinians, Baird
made clear that Canada supported a two-state solution “that is negotiated by the
two parties in good faith and without preconditions.”
Israelis “deserve free states of their own. They deserve to live in peace, security and
human dignity,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Baird met with President
Shimon Peres. At the start of the meeting, the president said “Israel is
very lucky to have your friendship, which we appreciate very much.”
told Peres, “You have no better friend in the world than Canada, no stronger
ally who will stand up [for you]. We won’t stand behind you; we will
stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel.”
The two leaders discussed
bilateral cooperation in the field of science and advanced
“Israel is currently cooperating in these fields with [the
provinces of] Ontario and Nova Scotia, but we are interested in broadening this
cooperation to a federal level,” Baird said.
Peres replied, “There is
much potential to enhance our collaboration in the fields of science and
technology. Israel and Canada complete each other; Israel is small and lacks in
natural resources whereas Canada is spacious and has been blessed with many of
them. Our two countries have much to benefit from collaborating in those
staff contributed to this report.