Robert Agostinelli and the Friends of Israel Initiative
Under the leadership of former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar a high level group met in Paris in the middle of 2010 to launch a new project in defense of Israel’s right to exist. This “Friends of Israel Initiative” has been joined by such notable figures as Nobel Peace Prize Laureate David Trimble, Peru’s former president Alejandro Toledo, Italian philosopher Marcello Pera, former United States Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, British historian Andrew Roberts, and others. Their key aim is to counter the growing efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel and its right to live in peace within safe and defensible borders. This Initiative arises out of a sense of deep concern about the unprecedented campaign of deligitimation against Israel waged by the enemies of the Jewish State and, perversely, supported by numerous international institutions. This Initiative differs from previous such ventures primarily in that it is being led by people who are not Jewish and whose motivations are based on the firm conviction that Israel is part of the Western world. Indeed, the sponsors of this initiative are convinced that Israel is of fundamental importance to the future of the West. Although the peace process is important, the members of the Friends of Israel Initiative are even more concerned about the onslaught of radical Islamism as well as the specter of a nuclear Iran, both of which threaten the entire world. The Friends of Israel Initiative is committed to act consistently and diligently in its effort to disseminate its members’ vision of Israel as a democratic, open, and advanced nation like any other, and that it should be perceived and treated as such. Israel is a sovereign democracy which like all the others is, of course, capable of making mistakes. Nonetheless, this should not be used as an excuse to question Israel’s right to exist, its legitimacy, or its basic rights as an independent state. Israel is an inextricable part of the West. We stand or fall together.