A special plenary session marked 50 years of diplomatic relations between Israel and Germany. Bundestag President Lammert: "Antisemitism, wherever it occurs, is unacceptable, and in Germany, it is unbearable. The intensity of the friendly relations between our two countries is indeed one of history's miracles." Knesset Speaker Edelstein: "Germany must be at the forefront of the fight against BDS."
During special plenary session marking 50 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and Germany Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein said the countries "share many common positions, and the good relations [between them] are exceptional and unique."
Turning to Bundestag President Norbert Lammert, Speaker Edelstein said, "Personally, I wish to express to you my appreciation and the appreciation of the Knesset and its members, for being a friend to Israel in heart and soul. You have never hesitated to stand by us and speak in support of Israel. I recall that in the past you even stated that the hand the Jewish people and the State of Israel extended to Germany was a gesture that allowed Germany to become what it is today. 'You gave us back our humanity. You gave us a new opportunity, and we are grateful for it', you said."
"You have mentioned more than once the special importance you attach to establishing parliamentary relations between our countries, and your open approach - which calls to bring the members of Israel's and Germany's younger generation closer together - is significant," Edelstein told the visiting Bundestag President.
He added: "Germany is a true friend of Israel. [The fact that you are] standing by us and by the Jewish nation is important as ever, particularly during this time; a time of a difficult global struggle against anti-Semitism in its new form - anti-Israelism. Despite the very difficult history between the nations, we must add to and contribute to the effort to build during this era trust between the countries, based on deep cooperation. This is even our duty: To prove that it is possible to build totally different relations. Not to deny, not to ignore, not to forget and not to sweep anything. On the contrary: To remember the past well in order to deal with it, to make certain that such a thing will never happen again - not to the Jewish people or to any other human beings.
It is important to stress this, since - also in Germany itself - voices are being heard, particularly among the young generation, claiming that despite its commitment to preserve the memory of the Holocaust, this [does not constitute an obligation] to support Israel, the nation state of the Jewish people. Therefore, sir, the fact that you are standing here today, and the address you will deliver to us, is of added significance to the public in Israel and also to the citizens of Germany and even outside of it. The lessons of the Holocaust are not only universal, they are also particular and pertain directly to Israel and the Jewish people."
Speaker Edelstein called the increasing calls to impose economic, academic and cultural boycotts on Israel "detached from reality" and "somewhat hypocritical" because they are "directed at the most attacked country in the world, which is making a supreme effort to maintain its morality at all times. This activity is driven by hate, prejudice and sometimes blind anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism," Edelstein posited. "It is blind to what is happening in many countries in our region, including in Syria - right here on our border - and to the massacres and mass expulsions, cruel and daily, by extremist elements such as ISIS, al-Qaeda and others, who threaten the stability of the entire Western world.
The boycotters and detractors are also blind to the fact that the real conflict has long since not been a local one between Israel and the Palestinians, and its cause is not alleged occupation or banishment; the real struggle is much broader - it is a 'clash of civilizations', and it is a religious and cultural clash between the extremist Islamic world and the free and tolerant world."
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