Jack Rosen, President
Robert Kesten, Executive Vice President
Contact: rkesten@ajcongress.org

Closing in on 100 years of advocacy, American Jewish Congress calls on the European Union (EU) to respect all peoples regardless of race, religion, creed, color, gender or national origin. We call on the EU to follow the letter and spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as adopted by the United Nations, and consider the wider implications of its directive on Israel and the 1967 borders ruling and what it mean to Jewish and Christian residents now living in communities beyond those lines.

The EU believe that “balance” and “fair play” will overcome all obstacles when it comes to the Israel/Palestinian situation. They assume that “moral equivalence” will present them as honest brokers and allow them to play a meaningful role in the future outcome in the region. The EU seems to forget that Israel is a nation defending itself from terrorist organizations and rogue states. Israel has a legal and moral obligation to defend itself and its people, all its people.

Israel is the only member state of the United Nations whose very existence is challenged by fellow member states and groups, recognized around the world as terrorist organizations, and yet there is supposed to be some moral equivalence between Israel and Hamas or Israel and its other enemies. Was there a moral equivalence between the United Kingdom and the IRA? Does the world view the Afghan state as morally equivalent with the Taliban? In neither case was anyone calling for the destruction of Great Britain or questioning the right of Afghanistan to exist; Israel faces those threats everyday.

By equating its decision on the 1967 borders (penalizing Israel) and acknowledging the military arm of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization the EU believed it offered a balanced approach to regional political realities while it placated its vocal extremes at home. The nationalists/Nazis now serving in governments from Greece to Sweden will however not be mollified. Those calling for boycotts, divestment and sanctions will not feel vindicated, and both groups will continue in their beliefs that Israel should not exist, that a Jewish state has no place on the map.

If the EU wants to be of help, if it wants to fight against prejudice, racism and anti-Semitism, it needs to be strong, it needs to support a fellow state and it has to let organizations and nations that continue to sponsor terrorism know that they will not succeed and will get no support from the EU. By attempting to establish a bubble of pretend moral equivalency, we all continue down the path of failure.

As an organization known as the Attorney General for the Jewish people, we call for a clarification of the intent and reasoning behind the EU’s recent decisions. It would appear that they were made without a historical context and in a way that could lead to greater repression and violence just as peace talks are scheduled to begin. It is incumbent on the EU to make every effort to promote a just and lasting peace in the region. The current policy does not meet that bar.


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