Friday, 25 June 2010

International leaders found pro-Israel group

[haznar.jpg]A group of high-profile world leaders spearheaded by former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar has created an organization to advocate for Israel’s international rights. [See ‘If Israel Goes Down, We All Go Down‘]

Called Friends of Israel Initiative, the project aims at countering international efforts to delegitimize the Jewish state and “speak up for Israel.”

Aznar outlines the group’s raison d’ĂȘtre in an opinion piece that appeared last week in the British newspaper, the Times. Under the headline, “Support Israel: if it goes down, we all go down,” Aznar links Israel’s future to that of the West. “Israel is our first line of defence in a turbulent region that is constantly at risk of descending into chaos; a region vital to our energy security owing to our overdependence on Middle Eastern oil; a region that forms the front line in the fight against extremism,” Aznar wrote. “If Israel goes down, we all go down.”

Aznar, who served as prime minister of Spain from 1996 to 2004, said the State of Israel is an open democratic society that was created by a decision of the United Nations and is “a fully fledged western nation… confronted by abnormal circumstances. Uniquely in the West, it is the only democracy whose very existence has been questioned since its inception… Now, at the behest of radical Islamists and their sympathizers, it faces a campaign of delegitimization through international law and diplomacy.

“To defend Israel’s right to exist in peace, within secure borders, requires a degree of moral and strategic clarity that too often seems to have disappeared in Europe. The United States shows worrying signs of heading in the same direction,” he said.

Dore Gold, Israel’s former ambassador to the United Nations, said “at a time when the enemies of Israel are seeking to delegitimize its very existence in the international community, it is highly appreciated that a group of distinguished former leaders stepped forward to recognize Israel’s fundamental rights.”

Speaking by phone from Jerusalem, Gold said, “What they are putting out is that Israel has fundamental rights as a member of the international community and that the rights of the Jewish people were recognized by the League of Nations and the United Nations.

“They do not take positions on contentious issues. They’re here to defend Israel’s right to exist – something that was taken for granted 40 to 50 years ago,” said Gold, who addressed the group’s launch in Paris on the topic of the delegitimization of Israel.

Shimon Fogel, CEO of the Canada-Israel Committee, said the Friends Initiative could be influential because of the status of its members. They are “third-party validators who have no direct stakeholders, who are not Jews, who can’t benefit from electoral considerations,” he said. “These are people with the benefit of great insight, given their international experience collectively, who recognize the campaign to delegitimize Israel is morally indefensible and which puts at risk the western community.

“They recognize that the crux of the problem is an attack on western values and democratic principles that serve as the foundation not just for Israel but for western democracies… that the delegitimization of Israel is in effect a delegitimization of the West,” Fogel said.

Expanding on that theme, Aznar wrote in his Times article that “the real threats to regional stability… are to be found in the rise of radical Islamism, which sees Israel’s destruction as the fulfillment of its religious destiny and, simultaneously in the case of Iran, as an expression of its ambitions for regional hegemony. Both phenomena are threats that affect not only Israel but also the wider West and the world at large.

“What binds us, however, is our unyielding support for Israel’s right to exist and to defend itself. For western countries to side with those who question Israel’s legitimacy, for them to play games in international bodies with Israel’s vital security issues, for them to appease those who oppose western values rather than robustly to stand in defence of those values, is not only a grave moral mistake, but a strategic error of the first magnitude,” Aznar stated.

“Israel is a fundamental part of the West. The West is what it is thanks to its Judeo-Christian roots. If the Jewish element of those roots is upturned and Israel is lost, then we are lost, too. Whether we like it or not, our fate is inextricably intertwined.”

Joining Aznar in the Friends Initiative are David Trimble, a Northern Ireland political leader who won a Nobel Peace Prize for efforts to bring the conflict there to an end; John Bolton, former U.S. representative to the United Nations; Alejandro Toledo, former president of Peru; Marcello Pera, former president of the Italian senate; Catholic author George Weigel and Fiamma Nirenstein, journalist and current member of the Italian parliament.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looks a lot like someone to keep far from our children.