Tuesday, 9 September 2008
"Are we using European tax money to promote peace or hatred?", asks ECI director
Source: European Coalition for Israel
"Last week a small delegation from the European Coalition for Israel met with the Swedish government to discuss their upcoming EU-presidency in 2009 as it relates to Israel and the Middle East. (...)
While France is categorically refusing to meet official representatives of the terrorist organization Hamas, the Swedish position has been more pragmatic. During the one hour meeting with the State Secretary of the Foreign Ministry of Sweden, ECI reminded the Swedish government of the three conditions set up by the international community for accepting Hamas as a negotiating power; namely, an immediate stop to violence, recognition of the right of Israel to exist and acceptance of all previous agreements.
During the meeting the issue of Palestinian incitement to violence was also raised. According to recent reports this incitement continues to flourish both in the Palestinian media and in school textbooks despite objections from the international community.
"Universal values such as tolerance and peace need to be upheld and respected not only in the EU member states, but also in all those countries and organizations that receive EU-funding," stated ECI director Tomas Sandell at the meeting.
"Are we using European tax money to promote peace or hatred?" he asked.
The Swedish government did not object, but agreed that the EU needs to uphold and promote these universal values through dialogue and mutual respect to avoid direct confrontation and humiliation.
The meeting with the Swedish government was part of a series of encounters with European governments that are in line to take on the rotating EU-presidency. During the meeting the ECI also reminded the Swedish government about the fact that this November will mark the 70th anniversary of the Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass.
"Faith and values 70 years after Kristallnacht" will be the theme of the Annual ECI Policy Conference in Brussels on 11-12 November where a member of the Swedish Parliament will also be speaking."