Wednesday, September 15, 2010

World Leaders and Policy Makers Launch Effort to Combat Delegitimation of Israel

September 15 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Friends of Israel Initiative (FII), a group of leading policymakers and world leaders chaired by former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar, announced today the U.S. launch of their international campaign to combat the global effort to delegitimize the State of Israel.

Organized and launched in Paris and London in summer 2010, FII is a first of its kind -- a high-level group of international leaders who insist that Israel has a legal right to exist as a normal Western democracy, and that fellow Western nations have a moral obligation to defend that right. "It is not just a matter of Israel being the West's first line of defense against global jihadism, and that if Israel fell the West as we know it would cease to exist," said Prime Minister Aznar.

"It is certainly all of that as well, but even more critically the issue of Israel is an ethical issue. The West has lost the moral clarity required to address anti-Semitic criticisms of the Jewish State and to defend the right of Israelis to live peacefully within defensible borders."

Joining Prime Minister Aznar in the effort are the eleven original signatories of the Friends of Israel statement and the tens of thousands who have signed the group’s petition.

Reflecting Americans' broad, bipartisan support for Israel, FII will not support the specific policies of any government, politician or political party. Instead the organization will defend Israel as a normal, democratic country, with all the virtues and defects of any fellow democracy, and as a key member of the alliance of nations dedicated to defending the West's fundamental values of freedom, tolerance, human rights, prosperity and stability.

In a series of events taking place September 14 and 15 in Washington, DC, Prime Minister Aznar and the Board of FII will highlight this new and vital effort, and launch a U.S. presence for the organization dedicated to speaking out against the rising tide of anti-Israel delegitimization that threatens to undermine the West and our the fundamental tenets of our societies.

A private dinner, an event on Capitol Hill, and an address at the Council on Foreign Relations are open for press coverage. Press requests should be directed to


The Friends of Israel Initiative is a group of leading policymakers and world leaders, chaired by José María Aznar, former President of Spain, with the primary aim of fighting the growing trend of delegitimation of the State of Israel. Started in Europe and now launching a presence in the United States, the Initiative is the first of its kind -- a high-level group of international leaders who speak out in strong support of Israel’s right to exist and our deep conviction that Israel should be viewed and treated as a normal country and fellow western democracy. The Initiative is particularly significant, given the increasing irrational criticism of Israel. We will not support specific policies or any governments, but the right of Israel to exist. The Initiative will defend Israel as a normal democratic country, with all the defects and virtues of any democracy. For more information please visit

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