Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Pro-Israel March in Bern, Switzerland

This article was published on September 30th, 2006 by “20-Minuten”, one of the most widely-read daily newspapers in Switzerland.

3000 participate in Pro-Israel March in Swiss Capital

About 3000 Swiss Christians participated in a pro-Israel demonstration on the “Bundesplatz“ (‘Federal Square’, a large open public space in front of the Swiss Parliament building) in Bern, expressing their friendship with Israel. Because the demonstration was held on Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath), there were no Israelis or Jewish people present.

In a resolution, the demonstrators presented to the parliament and the Swiss Federal council, the group asked this Swiss Government to stand up for the right for Israel to exist. The demonstration was organized by a group called “Arbeitsgemeinschaft Israel-Schweiz” (‘Israel-Swiss Organization’), an umbrella organization consisting of about of twenty smaller Christian groups. Following their motto “Christians are showing flags”, the group marched through Bern prominently flying Swiss and Israeli flags.

Criticising Calmy-Rey

In his speech to the demonstrators, member of the Swiss parliament Christian Waber (EDU party) criticized the Swiss people because they had stopped caring about the state of Israel. He said that ever since Switzerland became a member of the UN, the Swiss seemed to have become more hostile to the Jewish state, even choosing to fly the “the melting pot banner” of the UN in place of the flag of Israel. Waber also blamed the media for their one-way reporting and consistent anti-Israeli bias.

Waber found few nice words to say about the Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey. During the recent war in Lebanon “she had been dancing an ‘anti-Israeli’ dance, a dance of self-importance”.

The demonstrators also participated in a round of prayers, songs, sounds of the famous Swiss alpenhorns, and various other speeches from delegates of other Christian groups that were present. At the end of the event, a resolution was adopted for the attention of the Swiss Parliament and Swiss Federal council, which calls for Swiss politicians to claim Israel’s right of existence in a “clear and distinct” way. Pointing at Hamas, this resolution also demands that the Swiss government not accept any terrorist organisations as valid representatives of any kind. The resolution states quite clearly that “Switzerland should also not accept any anti-Semitic actions, statements or positions.”

No Jewish organisations participating

There was neither any Jewish or Israeli groups participating in the demonstration, due to the fact that the event was held on a Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath. However, the Israeli ambassador expressed his delight about the demonstration, in the following statement:

I am so very happy to learn that there seem to be some people left (in Switzerland) who seem to not agree with official Swiss politics. I did not know in advance about this demonstration; it’s amazing how many people went there, in spite of the lack of publicity. I remember the Anti-Israel protest during the Lebanon war, only two months ago, when a big call for people was made ahead of it… and there were less participants… and most of them … were Muslims.

There is still hope... it looks.


Right Wing said...

It would be great if the other European countries took a lesson from the Swiss.

VadimM said...

some rays of hope?

The Merry Widow said...

Good on them!