December 13, 2010 — New York — AJC Executive Director David Harris issued the following statement on the passing of Ambassador Richard Holbrooke.
« We mourn the loss of a giant of American diplomacy. Richard Holbrooke devoted the better part of his life to advancing our nation’s foreign policy and bringing hope to millions around the world. A remarkably energetic, creative, and determined public servant, he will long be remembered for bringing the bloody conflict and Serb-instigated ethnic cleansing in Bosnia to an end through the Dayton Accords, and, more recently, for leading so skillfully America’s efforts in the complex region of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“At AJC, we shall also long cherish the close relationship we had with him, particularly in his roles as Ambassador to Germany and Permanent Representative to the United Nations. In the latter position, for example, he was instrumental in helping correct Israel’s anomalous status as the only UN member state ineligible to vie for a seat on the Security Council. Having become aware of the issue, as he often said, because of a series of full-page AJC ads in The New York Times, Holbrooke mobilized his vast experience to overcome five decades of systemic discrimination against Israel and right a wrong.
“And we shall never forget his speech at our gala dinner in honor of Ambassador Morris Abram, the founder of AJC’s UN Watch, in December 1999. Just off a plane from Africa, Ambassador Holbrooke spoke so movingly of what he had just seen and the need to focus far more global attention on political, economic and social development for what he viewed as a neglected continent.
“We mourn Ambassador Holbrooke’s passing, as we remain grateful for all that he achieved, on behalf of the United States, a country he loved, to advance democratic values, humanitarian concerns, and security interests around the world. »