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Unconditional support for Israel `is dangerous`, say leading European Jews
The Guardian, 2 May 2010
More than 3,000 European Jews, including prominent intellectuals, have signed a petition speaking out against Israeli settlement policies and warning that systematic support for the Israeli government is dangerous.
The petition`s signatories include French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lיvy and Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a Greens leader in the European Parliament.
Supporters, who compare their goals to those of J Street, a liberal pro-Israel Jewish lobbying group in the United States, plan to present their position at a news conference at the European Parliament in Brussels tomorrow.
They say they hope to build a European movement that is both `committed to the state of Israel and critical of the current choices of its government`.
Israeli columnist Yossi Sarid, a former Cabinet minister identified with Israel`s peace movement, praised the initiative in an comment piece published in the Haaretz daily today.
`These are people who seize every opportunity to defend Israel publicly and remain faithful to it,` he wrote. `But even their patience is running out and their hearts are filled with sincere concern.`
Israel`s foreign ministry declined to comment because the initiative is not government-sponsored.
Many signatories are from France, where the petition has received much press coverage. France`s Jewish community has hotly debated the petition, entitled Call for Reason.
But the president of France`s leading Jewish association, CRIF, declined to sign, saying he objected to some of its language and its tone.
`Do Israelis need the Jewish Diaspora to know what is `the right` decision, what should be the borders of a country that their sons and daughters are protecting?` Richard Prasquier wrote in Le Figaro newspaper.
The petition says Israel faces a threat in the `occupation and the continuing pursuit of settlements in the West Bank and in the Arab districts of East Jerusalem`.
`These policies are morally and politically wrong and feed the unacceptable delegitimization process that Israel currently faces abroad,` it sayings, adding that `systematic support of Israeli government policy is dangerous and does not serve the true interests of the state of Israel`.
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