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Meeting slammed
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A friend in Switzerland - Jean-Francois Bussy
Students protest
Photo: Hagai Dekel
Swiss teacher: I'm ashamed of my country
Swiss teacher sends harsh letter to his president, slams meeting with Iran's Ahmadinejad. 'I feel ashamed,' Jean-Francois Bussy writes, tells Ynet he wants Israelis to know they have Swiss supporters
Swiss protest: The Swiss president's decision to meet with Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has upset some of his countrymen, prompting a local high school history teacher to send Hans-Rudolf Merz a harsh letter denouncing his actions.

 

In his letter, history teacher Jean-Francois Bussy expressed his "dismay" over his president's meeting with Ahmadinejad, noting that the "intentions and convictions of that man were already known."

 

"I thus estimate that your meeting with him was a mistake, even an insult to democracy in general, and to Israel, the only true democracy in the Near East," Bussy wrote.

 

The high school teacher added that the thought dialogue with Iran's president would contribute to peace is "truly very naive."

 

"As Iran's president was speaking, on the day where a memorial for the Shoah was held nearby, the Swiss ambassador did not even follow other European ambassadors who left the place," Bussy wrote. "That would have been the minimum reaction that a representative of our government should have taken."

 

"I feel ashamed that our country has lowered itself to such things," Bussy wrote.

 

The teacher wrote that he fully understood Israel's decision to recall its ambassador in the wake of the incident, adding that he hoped "this would prompt a reflection of sanity for our Swiss authorities, who lack a minimum of courage."

 

'Neutrality has limits'

In a conversation with Ynet Tuesday, Bussy further stressed his disappointment.

 

"How could it be that people in Switzerland are sent to prison for anti-Semitism and Shoah-denial, while our president receives a man known as an anti-Semite, a Nazi, and one who wishes to destroy Israel?" he said. "It's a shame to host such person on our soil. He came here to spread his poison to the world, and we're giving him a platform."

 

Bussy also dismissed Switzerland's argument of neutrality, saying that "neutrality has boundaries too."

 

"Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, and we, as democrats, cannot just stand idly by," he said. "You can't be neutral when someone wishes to destroy another country. Neutrality ends at that point."

 

Students protest outside embassy

The Swiss teacher told Ynet that about 250 of his friends, who maintain similar views, also lent their support to the letter.

 

"We're fed up with this seeming neutrality, which happens to always attack Israel," he said. "Even though most Swiss citizens won't necessarily agree with me after the operation in Gaza, there are still many Swiss people like me, mostly Protestants, who support Israel."

 

Bussy said he did not urge his president to resign, but called on him to offer an apology.

 

"It's important for Israelis to know that here too they have supporters; that they have friends in Switzerland," he said.

 

Meanwhile, Israeli high school students from Raanana held a restrained protest outside the Swiss embassy in Tel Aviv Tuesday.

 

The students said they decided they could not remain silent in the face of Switzerland's conduct vis-à-vis Ahmadinejad's inflammatory statements.

 

"When will you realize that neutrality is also taking a position" the students wrote in a letter sent to Switzerland's president.

 

Roee Mandel contributed to the story

 

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