Wednesday 25 March 2009

"Do not let Israel become the Sudetenland of today", Hanna Orgonikova (ECI)

"Do not let Israel become the Sudetenland of today." (Hanna Orgonikova, Czech member of Parliament)

European Coalition for Israel (ECI) marked the 70th anniversary of the Munich Treaty in Prague.

"The historical lesson of the Munich treaty in 1938 is clear. Appeasement does not lead to peace. Those forces which in 1939 invaded Czechoslovakia but ultimately wanted to exterminate the Jewish people can be compared to those powers of today that have as their ultimate goal the complete destruction of Israel and promise the world community peace if only Israel is sacrificed. But appeasing these powers will not lead to peace just as betraying Czechoslovakia did not bring peace but war."

This was the message of the European Coalition of Israel during a three day working visit to Prague which ended on Thursday. Prague is the current seat of the rotating EU-presidency which is now held by the Czech government. The message resonated well with those members of parliament and of the Czech government with whom the ECI met. "Israel cannot become the Sudetenland of today", warned Czech member of Parliament Hanna Orgonikova, who urged all people of good will in Europe, elected members of Parliaments as well as members of civil society, to work together in order to raise awareness about the current existential threat to Israel and the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe. (Sudetenland was the part of Czechoslovakia which was given to Hitler in the Munich treaty in an attempt to appease him.)

The same message of support for Israel was echoed also by other members of parliament who commended the recent Czech appeal by Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg to withdraw EU participation from the upcoming UN world conference on racism in Geneva as a protest against the slanted anti-Israel agenda. The message from ECI was the same: "Let us not repeat the mistakes of the past by letting a UN lead conference single out one nation as the root cause for international conflict, namely Israel." A growing number of EU member states now support a boycott of the Durban II conference.

At an emotional meeting with the vice-president of the Czech senate, Peter Pithart, Harald Eckert, a Christian leader from Munich and a board member of the European Coalition for Israel, presented a letter from the office of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel which affirmed the historical role of Nazi Germany in the Munich treaty and the invasion which followed. The meeting between ECI and the vice-president took place in the exact same room in the senate building where the Munich treaty was announced to the Czechoslovakian government in 1938. This week also marked the 70th anniversary of the invasion of Czechoslovakia on 15 March 1939 and the ECI delegation, consisting of both German and British representatives, together acknowledged the guilt of their governments in betraying Czechoslovakia in order to appease Hitler. In the framework of the ongoing United Nation Year of Reconciliation Harald Eckert of Germany and David Noakes of Great Britain asked the Czech vice-president of the Senate for forgiveness for the role of their countries in the betrayal of Czechoslovakia and the invasion which followed.

Apart from meeting with political leaders the delegation also visited an exhibition in the National Museum where the original Munich treaty in four languages is on display, borrowed from the four signatory countries, Germany, Britain, Italy and France. Prior to the political meetings the ECI delegation met with local Christian leaders in Prague for a reconciliation event. A similar people-to-people reconciliation event with representatives also from France and Italy is planned for later this year."

Source: ECI - A Christian initiative promoting European-Israeli Cooperation

No comments: