Paris, 2 May 2023
Madam Ursula von der Leyen
President of the European Commission
On behalf of its 440,000 members, the Wiesenthal Centre commends you for celebrating Israel’s 75 years of independence and friendship with the European Union.
In your words: “Today, we celebrate 75 years of vibrant democracy in the heart of the Middle East... Seventy-five years of dynamism, ingenuity, and ground-breaking innovations. You have literally made the desert bloom.”
These are heart-warming words for the Jewish people worldwide and for all Israeli citizens – Jews, Muslims, Christians, Baha’i and others – who have thrived in Israel since 1948, notwithstanding the huge challenges within and from outside its borders.
Your concise expression of reality in the historical, political and geographical context have been met by the accusation of “racism” by the Palestinian Authority, “hypocrisy” by Hamas, considered “criminal” by the PFLP and “offensive” by the Arab League.
These accusations go from totally inappropriate to dangerously threatening.
Since its establishment, Israel has been a vibrant democracy, the only in the region.
An example of ingenuity and innovation, Israel is dubbed the “start-up nation”, through its ground-breaking medical research, IT, mathematics, culture, security, agriculture. Your own words “thus the desert has literally bloomed” resonate and are shared by tens of millions of Europeans.
Sadly, Palestinian “leadership” prefers to let their own people dwell in resentment and misery, inciting to violence and murder.
The Palestinian Authority perpetuates a “pay to slay” policy, handing cash, received from the EU, to families selling their children to “martyrdom” through suicide attacks.
Terrorist syndicate Hamas uses schoolyards and hospitals as deposits for rockets launched into Israel. Its counterpart, the PFLP, built its reputation on airplane hijacking and the bombing of civilian targets in the streets of Europe.
Limited in size and surrounded by larger neighbours, Israel has thrived, forging peace with North African and Middle Eastern countries through the Abraham Accords, as a step towards normal relations, and building a solid and durable partnership with Europe.
With Israel’s closest neighbours, the Palestinians, we are reminded of Ambassador Abba Eban’s quote: “They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity!”
Madam President, may you remain unfazed by the hateful accusations from the Palestinian Authority.
Hamas and the PFLP are registered terror groups. We urge the European bodies to treat them as such, together with the Islamic Jihad – inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood – and Fatah with its tentacles, the old Black September and Tanzim, and now the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades...
Above all, we urge the Commission to stop all financial aid from European funds used to print books full of antisemitic Jew hatred – that can be found in Mosques and Muslim schools even across Europe.
Dr Shimon Samuels
Director for International Relations
Simon Wiesenthal Centre
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