At their recent annual dinner in New York, CAMERA recognised the efforts of distinguished friends of Israel. As this article notes, the awardees included Italian MP Fiamma Nirenstein, Vice-President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Italian Parliament, journalist and author, José María Aznar, former President of Spain, and John Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador to the UN. The awardees are among the founding members of the The Friends of Israel Initiative, an international organization led by President Aznar, created to counter the delegitimization of the State of Israel and enable it to claim its right to live in peace within safe and defensible borders.
Here is a link to the Friends of Israel initiative website, well worth a read. It includes the transcript of the remarks by Aznar – which included “The Friends of Israel Initiative, as we called it, is essentially a group of prominent figures, some former politicians, some intellectuals, some professionals and entrepreneurs, most of us not Jewish, who share the strategic vision that in defending Israel we are defending the West. We are defending our way of life, our values. We are defending ourselves. Put simply, we MUST defend Israel if we want to preserve the West as we know it. The second main characteristic is that we are not a PR organisation. Though we believe that the feelings against Israel have reached new heights, manifesting a renewed anti-Semitism, our main target are political elites and policy… Over the past few months we have heard less and less about Israel as the world has shifted its gaze to the upheaval gripping the Muslim world. Nobody knows where all this will go. At one extreme of the possibilities is an Islamist take-over, reminiscent of the 1979 fundamentalist revolution in Iran, and at the other a democratic revolution and a transition to freedom, a la 1989. I truly hope freedom will triumph. Unfortunately, as we all know, freedom is not guaranteed. … These are times of potential promise but also of real danger to the world. Things might go in the right direction, or they could go dramatically wrong.”
It is important for us to recognise the Friends of Israel, and to encourage and support their efforts., again, as Aznar emphasises “in defending Israel we are defending ourselves, in defending Israel, we are defending the West.” .. also “All we want is a normal and reasonable conversation about Israel. Surely, that is not too much to ask.”