Jose Maria Aznar, former Prime Minister of Spain gave an impassioned speech at the launch of the Friends of Israel Initiative in Washington DC
"Israel is under a new kind of attack. Not conventional war as in 1948, 56, 67 or 73. Not terrorism as we saw in the 70s, 80s and 90s. But a new kind of attack - an attack on Israel legitimacy, on her right to exist. A "soft-war", where many of its adversaries are employing legal tricks, multinational bodies, and an army of dubious NGO's to present internationally Israel as an illegitimate state, as a barbarian state, a state that should be isolated and converted into a pariah state.We think this is intolerable. It is unjust, morally wrong, and a strategic risk -- not only for Israel and its people -- but for all of us....
Let me be clear. We don't want in any case to defend any particular Israeli government or any particular set of policies or any particular party. Israelis' institutions are mature enough to defend their choices. We want to stand up for the right of Israel to exist."
Among the Board of the Friends of Israel Initiative:
Former President of Peru, Alejandro Toledo
British historian, Andrew Roberts,
French entrepreneur, Robert Agostinelli,
Former US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton,
Spanish former industry minister, Carlos Bustelo,
Professor George Weigel,
Peace Nobel prize Lord Trimble,
Former president of the Italian Senate, Marcello Pera,
Fiamma Nerestein, representative in the Italian parliament
Former Czech President Vaclav Havel
"Defending Israel today means strengthening the West, standing up for our values, and their right to exist as a normal country, a fellow democracy and a celebrated ally in our great western alliance.
I hope that you will share our vision, and will help us in bringing reason and decency back to the discussion concerning Israel."