The following is a letter that was recently sent to Jose Manuel Barroso – President of the European Commission from the World Forum of Russian-speaking Jewry, regarding the EU’s initiative to break economic ties with any of Israel’s territories that are situated past the 1967 lines.
Message from Russian-speaking Jews all over the world: Europe has not learned from history!
The World Forum of Russian-speaking Jewry would like to express its condemnation and deep concern over the EU’s unilateral decision to consider any territories past the post-1967 lines as not a part of the State of Israel. This includes the regions that are today the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria (Jewish-populated cities of the West Bank), and East Jerusalem, which includes the Jewish Quarter of the Old City.
It is apparent to us that EU leaders have not learned from history, where they encourage and support policies similar to those that led to the Holocaust and other irreversible tragedies. It saddens us in having been informed of the EU’s initiative on the the 9th of Av, a day when we mourned the destruction of our Temple by the Romans – the greatest European empire of its time – as well as those very calamities in our history which include: the planning of the Holocaust, the Crusades and expulsion from various countries across the European continent. Moreover, instead having the entirety of the civilized and democratic world come together in unison, Europe has been taking serious steps backwards in this regard.
The EU needs to keep in mind that these are territories that Israel acquired in a war of self-defense, in which the armies of three neighboring Arab states—namely Egypt, Syria and Jordan—were the aggressors – states that contrary to Israel, severely mistreat their Palestinian refugee populations to this day and yet are not subjected to the same international condemnation that Israel is. Moreover, Israel has declared on numerous occasions that it is ready to negotiate a two-state solution, where such a solution can only be achieved via direct negotiations. So far the Palestinian Authority has refused to so much as recognize Israel as a Jewish State, which is a crucial starting point for any negotiations.
In addition, the regions of Judea and Samaria hold a historical place in the history of the Jewish people and Israel, therefore the EU’s denial of their existence as a part of the current State of Israel is tantamount to a denial of history and ventures into the absurd…as this is where our namesake originates: the Jewish people and Judea are inseparable, even if by name alone.
In closing, on behalf of the Jewish people and the Russian-speaking Jewish community worldwide, we vehemently oppose this initiative. We are absolutely certain that as long as we have a strong and prosperous Jewish state, we will not return to the days of such calamities and sorrow ever again.
We therefore call on leaders and governments of all 28 EU member states to make well-considered and balanced decisions on the matter and we hope that our European partners will hear our voice, and the voices of millions of our countrymen, for whom the words “World Peace” hold great meaning.
Alexander Levin, President of World Forum of Russian-speaking Jewry.