WASHINGTON – Friends of Israel initiative, headed by former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, goes to Washington. The former Spanish president said in an interview with Ynet that the residents of Israel need to know they have many friends around the world.
Aznar noted that the Israelis "are not alone" and that a decision has been made to raise awareness the common values and issues Israel shares with the Western world.
The former prime minister, who spoke in front of the the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in Washington, noted he was "worried about Israel's future" because there are people who deny Israel's right to exist, and being anti-Israeli was considered "politically correct."
Azner explained that Israel is part of the Western world, and shared its values. He stressed that most members of the initiative for Israel were not Jewish, and that the issue was not related to religion.
Pro-Israel demonstration in Franfurt (Archive photo: AP)
Aznar, 58, served as the Spanish prime minister between 1996-2004, and wrote many articles in which he claimed that "If Israel falls – Europe falls."
In his interview with Ynet, Aznar refused to comment on anti-Semitism in Europe, but said that part of the problem was with European countries' eternal politics, where a big voting public consisted of Muslim immigrants.
Battle against de-legitimization (Archive photo: AP)
The former prime minister noted that the initiative has to be carried out through the long run, "Just as Churchill talked during the Second World War, we intend to talk and talk and talk."
During his speech at the Committee on Foreign Relations, Aznar said "we are not Likud or Kadima," adding that they have no intention of intervening with Israeli politics or the negotiations between Israelis and Arabs.
'If Israel falls – Europe falls' (Archive photo: Reuters)
The project, he explained, was meant to battle de-legitimization against Israel.
"Israel is vital for our future. Protecting Israel is protecting our western values," he said.
Asnar stressed that Israel was presented in a very negative and unjust manner, and that the aim of the initiative was to develop a more normalized discussion about the Jewish State.
"In some cases we agree with Israel's policies, and in some cases we don’t – but we must not argue with Israel's right to exist," he concluded.
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