AIJAC mourns US statesman George Shultz
Feb 10, 2021 | AIJAC staff
The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) mourns the loss of eminent US statesman George Shultz, who served in four different cabinet posts under three US Presidents, most notably as Secretary of State to Ronald Reagan from 1982 – 1989.
Secretary Shultz was a man of great integrity and vision, a man of great achievement, but also humility. He was a staunch friend to Israel, telling an AIPAC conference in 1985, “Our original moral commitment to Israel has never wavered, but over the years Americans have also come to recognize the enormous importance of Israel—as a partner in the pursuit of freedom and democracy, as a people who share our highest ideals, and as a vital strategic ally in an important part of the world. The moral and personal bonds that tie us together have strengthened us both.”
Secretary Shultz was also a staunch campaigner for the freedom of Soviet Jewry. Giving the keynote address at a dinner in his honour in Australia in March 1993 hosted by Australia/Israel Publications and the Australian Institute of Jewish Affairs (which later merged to become AIJAC), he told the story of a Pesach Seder he held for refusenik Jews in Moscow in 1987, recounting that by Pesach the following year, all of those at the Seder had been allowed to emigrate.
He recalled receiving a call from one of the participants who simply told him, “This is Ida Nudel. I’m in Jerusalem. I’m home,” calling it “the most moving moment of my time as Secretary of State.”
The world is a better place for his service, and he will be sadly missed.
(See below excerpts from Shultz’s March 18, 1993 speech to Australia/Israel Publications and the Australian Institute of Jewish Affairs, as published in the Australia/Israel Review).