Miami, February 29 2012
Remarks at De la Cruz Art Gallery
We have kept to tracks and levels of activities. On the one hand we develop our public activities, like the one taking place tomorrow a Miami university under the auspices of its President, Dona Shalala, when we spread our message; on the other hand, we as I said before, we engage in direct and private conversations wit current leaders across the world. We try to be as educative as possible on both kind of activities.
2011-02-28 by Jose María Aznar
I would like to start by thanking Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz for hosting this presentation of Friends of Israel Initiative at this magnificent setting, their art gallery.
And also thanks to all f you that have made some room in your complicated agendas to be here today.
In the name of all the people involved in the Initiative, thank you sincerely.
Just a few words to explain what we are, who we are, and what we try to achieve.
The Friends of Israel Initiative was launched less that two yeas ago, in June 2010, in Paris in a moment when Israel was subjected as never before to a very nasty campaign of delegitimization. Criticism was directed no against specific Israeli policies, but against the idea of Israel itself. Was the right of Israel to exist what was put in doubt.
I called upon some friends, there are some today among us, like Ambassador Bolton, Andrew Roberts, Alejandro Toledo, George Weigel, Robert Agostinelly, Lord Trimble, that shared with me te same feeling of alarm and urgency to act, to say something against the unfair treatment of Israel.
We all believe that Israel is a normal country, a democracy like us, an island of stability in a very complicated region. Furthermore, it is a mature country in terms of institutions and political debate, mature enough to accept what is people decide what is best for them. Equally, we see in Israel a land of economic and technological opportunities, and we think that present Israel exclusively as a land of violence and conflict it is inaccurate and morally wrong.
So we started our activities with the goal to open up a space, particularly in Europe, for a more sensible debate about Israel and the problems of the region. We al signed different op-eds and a manifesto that we presented in several places.
But also, taking benefit of the extensive network of contacts tha we all brought to our cause, we were also able to engage in a franc and fruitful debate with our piers in governments. We defended our vision of a Israel integral part of the Wester world and we tried to convince them of avoiding what we consider should be fatal mistakes on our side.
For instance, we mobilized our forces to underline all the negative consequences a premature recognition of a Palestinian state at the UN am have for the peace process and for stability in general in the region. We toured Latin America and Europe trying to spread our ideas and analysis on that question.
Now we are meeting here in this adorable city, Miami, because we as about to release a second statement since we consider that Israel is entering a zone of vulnerability like never before where it’s enemies are growing stronger while its allies are less prepared to deal with the new emerging scenarios.
Let me give you some examples. While many still believe that the lack of a Palestinian State is at the heart of all problems, the whole region, for Morocco to Yemen, moved into something new, not always positive, for reasons and abuses that had nothing to do with the present or past conditions of the Palestinian people.
Of course well want peace between Israel and the palestinians, but we also believe that too many times the West has failed to understand the real causes of the problems.
We all sense that something wrong is happening in the current approach to the region. People seems to be more scared about the possibility of Israel bombing the nuclear installations of Iran than the Iranian bomb; man people still embrace the changes going on in some arab countries disregarding the fact that deposing the dictators there is not bringing democracy but islamism. Many more fail to grasp the reality that if Israel is left alone Israel will be in danger, and we will be all in danger.
Dear friends, we have kept to tracks and levels of activities. On the one hand we develop our public activities, like the one taking place tomorrow a Miami university under the auspices of its President, Dona Shalala, when we spread our message; on the other hand, we as I said before, we engage in direct and private conversations wit current leaders across the world. We try to be as educative as possible on both kind of activities.
We are a group of uninterested people. We don’ represent anyone’s views except ours; we don’t defend any political party, politician or institution from Israel, and we don’t have an special relationship with Israel or the Jewish community. Actually, we are not Jewish, and we don’t want to become one more Jewish organization.
We defend Israel because we share the strategic vision that if we leave the delegitimization of Israel continuos without resistance, our own values and way of live will be at risk as well.
We are a philanthropic group but not and altruistic one. We do what we do because we believe it is good for our own interests.
Israel is a vital part of the West, and the West cannot afford to loose a inch of what it is. On the contrary. The West is not a geographical area, it is the expression of common roots, values, and History. That’s why Israel is one of us.
That what, very basically, we all believe in, and what we all will defend. Nothing more, nothing less.
With your help, support and ideas, we will succeed
Please, feel free to place question to any of us while we enjoy the cocktail.
Thank you very much.