In Paris last May, a group of prominent but honorable individuals gathered to launch the Friends of Israel initiative. The statement they issued deserves to be circulated far and wide. How dazzling is the light of plain, simple truth when it shines into the darkness of a feckless age. Here is the statement in full:
Stand for Israel, Stand for the West
The Friends of Israel have joined together in a new international initiative on the basis of the following convictions:
1. Israel is a Western country. With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.
2. Israel´s right to exist should not be questioned. In the face of a uniquely campaign of delegitimation, we remind all people of goodwill of the true historical context in which the State of Israel was re-established following United Nations Resolution 181 in 1947. We state emphatically that that decision to recognize the right of the Jewish people to national self-determination was not merely a gesture of compassion following the horrors that had befallen the Jewish people during the Holocaust. It was, above all, a recognition of the right of the Jewish people to establish a sovereign state on land in which they have had an enduring presence and to which they have had a historical claim for thousands of years.
3. Israel, as a sovereign country, has the right to self-defense. Israel is indeed a normal Western country, but it is one which faces unique threats and challenges. Israel is the only state in the world forced to fight one war after another to secure its very existence. Confronting some of the most violent and well equipped terrorist groups in the world it is also the only country whose right to self-defense is consistently and widely questioned. Today, Israel has been forced to fight on two fronts: one to defend its borders and another to defend its legitimacy. We stand with Israel, and demand that it be accorded the same legitimacy and the same right to defend itself as any other Western country. Human rights statutes designed to defend the dignity of people everywhere, laws on universal jurisdiction intended to be used against criminals and tyrants and international bodies established to secure justice, have been subverted, their guiding principles stood on their head, to wage war against Israeli democracy. The campaign against Israel is corroding the international system from within.
4. Israel is on our side. With this in mind, we must be clear in recognizing that Israel’s fight is our fight. Western democracy will not prevail unless we recognize and assume the Judeo-Christian cultural and moral heritage which first gave rise to those institutions and the values which initially inspired them, and strengthen them. The assault on Israel is itself an assault on Judeo-Christian values. Israel stands on the front line, but we are next in line. If Israel’s right to self defense is questioned in the Middle East, our right to self-defense will be questioned when fighting similar terrorist enemies in Afghanistan, and at home. If principles of human rights and universal jurisdiction are to be turned into weapons against Israeli democracy, what makes us so sure they will not one day be used against European and North American democracy? Israel’s future is our fate.
5. We believe in peace, but peace in the Middle East is not just about Israel and the Palestinians. The aspiration for an enduring peace in the Middle East is a noble one, and it is one we share. But outsiders, helpful as they can sometimes be, can only achieve so much. The parties involved should know how to reach a satisfactory solution themselves. Attempts to impose solutions from the outside will fail. The key to ending this conflict is for the Palestinian side to unequivocally recognize Israel as the legitimate national homeland of the Jewish people. Once that step has been taken, good faith negotiations have a chance of achieving success.
6. We share the same threats and challenges. There are two related threats which also imperil the region, and the wider world: the spread of Islamic fundamentalism and jihadism; and the prospect of a nuclear Iran. These threats are as existential for the state of Israel as for the rest of us: the jihad knows no boundaries and a nuclear Iran represents a strategic revolution of global dimensions. Israel cannot and should not face those threats alone. For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last.
7. In a spirit of solidarity with the State of Israel and in recognition that we, the Western nations, must stand together lest we fall together, we therefore launch the “Friends of Israel Initiative” to do the following:
a) To combat the deligitimization of the State of Israel at home, abroad and inside the institutions of the international community.
b) To publicly show our solidarity with Israel’s democratic institutions – the legitimate expression of the Jewish people’s millennial aspiration to live in peace and freedom in its national homeland.
c) To support Israel’s inalienable right to secure borders unmolested by terrorists or tyrannical regimes so that its citizens can continue living with the same guarantees that our own societies enjoy.
d) To consistently and firmly oppose the prospect of a nuclear armed Iran.
e) To work to ensure that Israel is fully accepted as a normal Western country, an essential and indivisible part of the Western world to which we belong.
f) To reaffirm the value of the religious, moral, and cultural Judeo-Christian heritage as the main source of the liberal and democratic Western societies.
These convictions inspire this Friends of Israel Initiative. We invite all men and women of goodwill to join us.
Paris, May 31st 2010
Please go on over to the site and add your signature in support, joining more than 10,000 signers so far, from all over the globe, along with the original twelve framers, who include José María Aznar, John Bolton, Marcello Pera, Václav Havel, George Weigel and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Lord William David Trimble.
Israel is an inextricable part of the West. We stand or fall together.