Who would have ever imagined Canada would one day be a better friend of Israel than the United States?
Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, who delivered a supportive speech of Israel at the UN before its vote Thursday on the Palestinian statehood, said Friday “the bottom line is we will not let the Jewish people and the State of Israel stand alone when the going gets tough.”
Baird, in a phone interview from New York, said he had “absolutely no hesitation” about taking the podium and opposing the Palestinian bid, something he knew was not a popular position in the hall.
The Canadian foreign minister criticized Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for the hostile tenor of his speech.
“Knowing that he had such overwhelming support, this would have been an occasion for him to reach out to the government and people of Israel, to embrace the Jewish people, to talk about his hopes for peace and be magnanimous,” he said. “Unfortunately it was a rather aggressive speech that will really do nothing to advance the cause of peace or the peace process.”
Baird said he was “disappointed with some countries in Europe for failing to stand up. I thought the Czech Republic was courageous to take the position it did and stand alone in the European Union. I certainly admire their leadership.”
The Czech Republic was the only EU country to vote against the Palestinian resolution, and – along with Israel and Canada – made up a group of nine countries that opposed the bid.