Sanremo prepares for grand finale of centenary year – ECI: 1920 Peace Conference gave the Jewish people their own Magna Carta and marked a renaissance of Jewish culture

San Remo Centenary

San Remo CentenarySanremo, April 22nd, 2021 – The City of Sanremo – together with the Israeli Embassy in Rome in partnership with the European Coalition for Israel, Italy´s public broadcaster RAI 2 and the Israeli News channel i24 – is preparing for a final celebration of the 100th anniversary of the San Remo Peace Conference of April 19-26th, 1920, which paved the way for the re-creation of the Jewish state in 1948. Organized in-between the Jewish and the Gregorian dates for the Israeli Independence Day, which this year fall on 14th April and 14th May respectively, this world class event will celebrate the enactment of the San Remo Resolution. The Balfour Declaration had promised a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine, and the San Remo Resolution incorporated this declaration into International law.

The announcement of the special celebration was made by the Israeli Ambassador to Italy, Dror Eydar, and the Vice President of the City Council of Sanremo, Alessandra Pavone, in a virtual event hosted by the European Coalition for Israel on Tuesday night, bringing together participants from all five continents of the world.

Having been prevented by the corona pandemic from marking the centenary last year, the City of Sanremo is showing great enthusiasm in finally being able to celebrate the international peace conference which brought their city to the world stage one hundred years ago. On April 29th a world class concert will take place in Sanremo with the San Remo Philharmonic Orchestra, with an Israeli conductor, and with a guest appearance of a world renown Italian tenor. Their names will be announced in the next couple of days.

“Nothing could be more appropriate than to celebrate the San Remo Resolution with a classical concert”, noted ECI Director for UN Affairs and Co-founder of the Forum for Cultural Diplomacy, Gregory Lafitte. He pointed out that the San Remo Conference was not only the event where the rights of the Jewish people to reconstitute their national home were recognised by the world powers, but also that the conference marked a renaissance for Jewish culture. One expression of this Jewish renaissance was the founding of the Hebrew University already in 1925, twenty-three years before the founding of the Jewish state. Among the visionaries and first board members of the university were world-renowned scientists and personalities like Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Martin Buber, and Chaim Weizmann.

Looking back at the events of 1920, the host of the virtual meeting, the 4th Marquess of Reading (picture), mentioned how two of his great grandfathers, Lord Melchett and the First Marquess of Reading, just one month after the Balfour Declaration in 1917, had committed themselves to the rebuilding of Jerusalem.

“This ‘rebuilding’ simply meant the building of relationships which would enable the realisation of the promise made to the Jewish people in the Balfour Declaration”, he explained. Lord Melchett – and later his daughter, Eva Violet Mond Isaacs, the 2nd Marchioness of Reading – would work tirelessly during their whole lifetime to ensure that the vision of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine would become a reality. By hosting world leaders and opinion shapers such as George Bernard Shaw, Orde Wingate and David Ben-Gurion at Villa Melchett, built on the shores of the Sea of Galilee by Lord Melchett in 1928, they were not only able to keep the vision alive, but also to invest materially in what later would become the modern State of Israel. Today the memory of the late Lord Melchett lives on not only in the Israeli city Tel Mond, which was named after him, and in many other cities across Israel which have streets named after Lord Melchett, but also in the villa which he built on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

Connecting the dots from the 1920´s to 2020´s, ECI Founding Director, Tomas Sandell explained how the challenges today are similar to those in the days of Lord Melchett and the first Marquess of Reading, in that we still to this date need to explain to the world the necessity for a safe and secure Jewish state.

“In a day and age when, just like in Germany in the 1930´s, groups are calling for boycotts of Jewish businesses, it is imperative to explain that the Jewish state is firmly anchored in international law, dating back to the San Remo Resolution in 1920”, he said.

Despite the pandemic, the City of Sanremo has been able to mark the centenary through a virtual exhibition. In order to ensure that the link between Israel and this city, which has been called the birthplace of the “Magna Carta of Israel”, is further strengthened, the City Council has announced a twinning agreement with the Israeli coastal city of Netanya.

The virtual event on Tuesday April 20th was part of a series of events which ECI is organizing in connection to the closing week of the San Remo centenary. Last year, on April 26th, ECI hosted a live broadcast from Jerusalem which featured messages from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin, as well as from many other world leaders.


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