Dr. Condoleezza Rice Tells ADL She Is Optimistic About Future For Middle East Peace
Palm Beach, FL, February 6, 2009 … Saying she is a "hopeless optimist" who remains convinced that the Bush Administration has laid the groundwork for peace in the Middle East, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) that she believes there is a future for peaceful coexistence between Palestinians and Israelis.
Dr. Rice addressed an audience of more than 400 ADL leaders at a dinner in Palm Beach, Florida where she recounted her tenure with the Bush Administration and was honored with the League's Distinguished Statesman Award.
"It's been an extraordinary eight years, and yes, quite frankly I'm glad it's over," said Dr. Rice. "During eight years so much has changed for this country. But a lot has changed, too, for the Middle East."
Dr. Rice said the Bush Administration's approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict relied on standing by values and principles -- including, first and foremost, the principle "that Israel had a right to defend itself."
"I believe that in standing by these values and standing by these principles we laid a foundation that will one day change the face of the Middle East, that will change it for the better," she said.
In presenting the ADL Distinguished Statesman Award, Abraham H. Foxman, National Director, described Dr. Rice as "a consummate professional, an extraordinary pianist, a great football enthusiast, a presidential advisor, a professor, a diplomat and an extraordinary public servant."
"Over the last 20 years, Dr. Rice has served our nation with distinction during some very difficult times," Mr. Foxman said. "Throughout, she remained dedicated to democracy, diplomacy and education. A consummate professional, she has set a standard to be exemplified."
In her role as national security advisor and, later, as secretary of state, Dr. Rice consulted with Mr. Foxman on numerous occasions on key issues facing Israel and world Jewry. "She clearly understood our concerns, listened to our views and heard them even when, at times, our views differed from that of the administrations. She would open her door and hear us out."
Mr. Foxman noted that under Dr. Rice's leadership, the State Department created the position of Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism and American Embassies around the world were instructed to monitor anti-Semitism and report back to the State Department.
In accepting the honor, Dr. Rice praised the League's work, saying that, "The mission of ADL is the mission of America: A place where we all belong without regard to race, religion or ethnicity. ADL is an extraordinary force, raising awareness, struggling and insisting on making a better America. I cannot tell you how much this award means to me because it comes from this exceptional organization."
The League's Distinguished Statesman Award is an honor conferred on world leaders who exhibit a commitment to furthering the achievement of regional and world peace, and who possess a special commitment to promoting human and civil rights.
Past recipients of the Distinguished Statesman Award include Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (2003), Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (2002), President Jacques Chirac of France (2000), Guntis Ulmanis, President of Latvia (1998), Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz (1997), Ambassador Madeleine Albright (1996), German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel (1991), and Greek Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis (1990).
Dr. Rice was Secretary of State under President George W. Bush from 2005-2009, having previously served as National Security Advisor. Under President George H.W. Bush she was Senior Director of Soviet and East European Affairs in the National Security Council. She was a professor of political science at Stanford University where she served as Provost from 1993-1999.
Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, Dr. Rice is the author of several books, including Germany Unified and Europe Transformed (1995) with Philip Zelikow, The Gorbachev Era (1986) with Alexander Dallin, and Uncertain Allegiance: The Soviet Union and the Czechoslovak Army (1984). She has also written numerous articles on Soviet and East European foreign and defense policy.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.