EU-Israel relations should not be hijacked by the slow progress in the peace process in the Middle East

”Anti-Semitism in all its various forms is not an unknown phenomenon even in present-day Europe. It is of paramount importance that Europe’s younger generations have a profound understanding of the darker periods in Europe’s history and the genocide of the Jews. The importance of historical awareness must be guarded as it is one of the most important tools in the fight against anti-Semitism”, said Sari Essayah MEP.

Essayah has organised a seminar on ’EU, Israel and intercultural dialogue’ today in the European Parliament in co-operation with the European Coalition for Israel. The programme includes discussions on how the demographic and cultural changes in Europe will affect relations with Israel and how the EU can promote ’universal values’ in the world community at large. Guest speakers include Tomas Sandell from the European Coalition for Israel, Bat Ye’or, author of ’Eurabia’, David G Littman, NGO Human Rights Defender at the United Nations in Geneva, and HE Ron Curiel, Israeli Ambassador to the European Institutions in Brussels, among others.

”The annihilation of the Jewish people was the evil goal that prevailed seventy years ago, and, unfortunately even remains the goal of some today. In particular, the most fervent proponent of the destruction of the State of Israel and the Jewish people is the current Iranian regime, which is also undoubtedly the greatest threat to international security today”, Essayah warned.

Sari Essayah emphasised that the planned upgrade of EU-Israel relations should not be hijacked by the slow progress in the peace process in the Middle East, especially as Israel is not the party refusing to come to the negotiating table.

”I believe that we should pay more attention to all the positive developments and breakthroughs in Israeli society today, in technology and commerce as well as in civil society. Europe needs Israel as much as Israel needs Europe as a partner in growth and development. EU Member States should embark on cooperation with influential Israeli actors in the field of science, research and culture more boldly and extensively than at present”, Essayah stressed.

Essayah recalled that every day, people in the Middle East greet each other with peace: shalom, salaam. ”As for our part, we want to do all we can so that people in both Israel and its neighbouring countries have the possibility to lead a safe and peaceful life, a life that we in Europe have had the opportunity to enjoy in the post World War II era, and particularly since the fall of the iron curtain.”