Friends of Israel Monthly Report

Friends of Israel Initiative in Mexico

The Friends of Israel Initiative will be officially presented in Mexico DF on January 18th-19th by José María Aznar.

Herzliya Conference

Rafael Bardají, FOII’s Executive Director, will be participating in the 2011 edition of the Herzliya Conference on February 6th-9th.

Recent Events

Prize to José María Aznar

Last December, Madrid’s Jewish community awarded the former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar its 2010 ‘Or Janucá’ prize in recognition of his steadfast defence of the Jewish People and the State of Israel and for his commitment to democracy and freedom.

More Events

Rooting Around

The unilateral deterioration in Turkey's relations with Israel is the worrying tip of the iceberg of a deeper problem afflicting Turkish society.

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‘Being overgenerous to extremist groups is like giving sweets to a spoilt child in the hope that it will improve its behaviour – it usually results in worse actions.’

David Trimble

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Christians and Jews under attack

The main threat to the Jewish people today is no longer physical, as it was in the past. Rather, it is directed at the legitimacy and survival of the State of Israel itself, the Jewish State. It is no longer a case of the Palestinians attempting to create a State, but of the shift in the mindset of a significant number of them from a nationalist to an Islamist cause. Israel is now under threat from radical Islam as practised by agents ranging from countries like Iran to terrorist forces such as Hizbollah in the North and Hamas in the South.

Last week there were a number of attacks in different Muslim nations against peaceful Christians. Though probably unconnected to each other, the succession of deadly attacks reveals a clear pattern: Islam today, under the influence of radical elements and fundamentalists, is not a tolerant faith and is being invoked in increasingly violent acts. In many places its radical strain is acquiring an aggressive and totalitarian nature. Thus, the recent attacks against Christian living in Muslim lands are not only the continuation of the long-established practice of harassing those who do not share the Islamic faith, but a further step in the process of religious cleansing preached by the Islamists.

The strategic significance of this pattern is obvious: for Christians, appeasement does not work. Trying to propitiate an Islam that is under the influence of radical elements is a futile enterprise that, ultimately, will prove to be counterproductive. Religious freedom is, quite simply, not part of the fundamentalist vision of what the region should look like.

Secondly, these events are another instance of the seeming impossibility of accommodating the radicals in any way, be they Islamists, Palestinians or others. Just as there are many who would like to see Israel vanish into thin air, there are many who want the Christians to move out too. The only goal of radical Islam is subjugation, not tolerance and freedom for all.

Finally, what the attacks underline is the urgent need for a new understanding between people of goodwill, both Christian and Jewish, in order to reinforce their common heritage, values, interests and future. An extremist faith cannot be countered by reason alone, but needs a good dose of faith and goodwill as well.

The Friends of Israel Initiative defends Israel’s legitimacy and right to exist as a Jewish State, and we do so from a non-Jewish perspective. We cannot remain silent about the criminal attacks against Christians in Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan and elsewhere because this is all part and parcel of the same struggle, a battle between those who are civilised and those who are not. It is high time that Christians and Jews understand their common strategic interest: together we can prevail.


No boycott for Red Sea sharks

The expression ‘double standards’ inevitably springs to mind in any context in which the name ‘Israel’ crops up.

Prime Minister Zapatero
wearing kefia

A good case in point is an advertisement broadcast last week on Palestinian Authority TV. The ad calls for the boycotting of all Israeli goods, despite one of the characters in it admitting that Israeli products are better than the local ones. The surprise appears right at the end, when the logos of the ad’s sponsors are shown after the text ‘Don’t prolong the occupation’s life upon our land’. Alongside a Palestinian development agency’s logo are those of the Spanish Government, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Spain’s governmental humanitarian aid development agency AECID and the Spanish NGO ACSUR. Thus, acts openly hostile to Israel can be promoted and even receive sponsorship from a Western government without any qualms and with no consciences being disturbed. Read more

Conversely, Israel is routinely suspected of underhand motives and, indeed, is considered to be responsible for any sort of mischief, however bizarre it may be. It was no surprise to read a recent claim that a shark that had attacked a foreign bather at a beach in the Red Sea had been trained as an assassin by Mossad to disrupt the Egyptian tourist industry. Read more

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