104 years since “Israel’s Magna carta” was signed in Sanremo – ECI: No nation is more legitimate than Israel

Sanremo, April 29th 2024 – There is no other people group on the face of the earth, except for the Jews, who live in the same land, speak the same language and have the same religion as they did 3,000 years ago. Still, the only nation state whose legitimacy is constantly under attack, from college campuses to international criminal courts, is that of the Jewish state. This is one of the great paradoxes of our time and it cannot be explained in any other way than with the rise of antisemitism. The latest mutation of this deadly virus is to deny the Jewish people their right to self-determination and to demonize the modern State of Israel.

Despite the many challenges facing Israel today Israel’s ambassador to Rome, Alon Bar was convinced that the majority is not anti-Israel. “Still, you cannot remain a silent majority but need to speak up before it is too late,” he warned.

These were some of the observations as the European Coalition for Israel hosted a 104th anniversary symposium in Sanremo, Italy on Thursday 25th April, the anniversary date of the San Remo Declaration. It was this declaration that incorporated the Balfour Declaration into international law and thus paved the way for the rebirth of the Jewish state in 1948. The British Foreign Minister at the time, Lord Curzon, called the San Remo Declaration “the Magna Carta of the Jewish people.” Israel’s first president Chaim Weizmann, who attended the San Remo Peace Conference as an observer, wrote that it was “perhaps the most important event in the history of our people since the exile.”

Amidst the ongoing war in Gaza and rising antisemitism in the West the conference discussed the relevance of the San Remo Declaration for the future of the State of Israel. Setting a positive tone despite the current challenges facing Israel ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell noted that the Jewish people need to win back the war of narratives.

“The future is not won by arguments made at international courts, regardless of how important these are, but by storytelling, by those who have the most compelling story to tell.” Addressing the Israeli Ambassador Sandell said, “Your people have the best stories. From the world’s bestselling book, the Bible, to epic blockbuster movies from Hollywood, the Jews have always been a people of story tellers. What happened in Sanremo on 25th April 1920 needs to be amplified to the people of Israel as well as to the international community. Only this way can we debunk the myths of colonization and imperialism which are today dominating the college campuses around the world. The truth of the matter is that the rebirth of Israel marked the beginning of the decolonization process as it proved that the Jewish people are the indigenous people in Palestine and that the illegal expulsion by the Romans in 136 AD could be reversed”, Sandell said.

In his remarks, Co-founder of the Forum for Cultural Diplomacy, Dr Gregory Lafitte shared how the Zionist leaders danced of joy at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 after the French government delegation had acknowledged their right to create a Jewish state. One year later at the San Remo Peace conference, the Supreme Council of the Principal Allied Powers recognized the right of the Jewish people to reconstitute their national home in Eretz Israel thus making it part of international law.

This is what has motivated ECI to host several international conferences on the subject over the years, starting in 2010 when they co-hosted the 90th anniversary in Sanremo. In 2020, amidst the height of the covid pandemic ECI organized an online 100th anniversary event from Jerusalem with messages from world leaders including UK Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, US Foreign Secretary Mike Pompeo, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Later in the year ECI co-hosted a festive concert in the Casino of Sanremo with Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli.

This year’s conference took place in the Royal Hotel Sanremo, the same hotel which hosted the British delegation in 1920 and included a visit to Castello Devachan where the actual San Remo Peace Conference took place on 19-26 April 1920. Other speakers in this year’s conference included Robert Lloyd George, Lord Reading and Annie Bradshaw.

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Von der Leyen, Weber 2024

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