Czech president wins the hearts of some Israel supporters
Two weeks ago, I shouldn't have missed Czech president Miloš Zeman's speech in Prague's Hilton – on the Israel's independence day. Here is a translation from the Czech original.
Speech of the president of the republic on the Israel's Independence Day banquet
May 27th, 2014
Ladies and Gentlemen,
thank you for your invitation to this celebration of Israel's Independence Day. In the Czech Republic, dozens of state holidays commemorating the independence are being marked every year. I may arrive to some of them, I am too busy to attend others, but the only holiday of independence which I can never leave out is the celebration of the independence of the Jewish State of Israel.
There are other nations with whom we share the same values, whether it’s the political horizon of free elections or a free market economy, but no one is threatening to delete those states from the map. No one shoots at their border towns and no one wants to see the citizens of those nations driven out of their country. There is a term called political correctness and I consider it to be a euphemism for political cowardice. Please kindly allow me not to be cowardly.
It is necessary to clearly name the enemy of human civilization and this enemy is international terrorism associated with religious fundamentalism and religious intolerance. This fanatical creed does not only attack a single nation, as we saw after September 11. Muslim fanatics in Nigeria recently captured 200 young Christian girls. And in the blooming capital of Europe, an abominable killing took place at the Jewish Museum in Brussels. I will not be reassured by the claims that this is the work of only small fringe groups. Quite the contrary. I believe that xenophobia, racism, and anti-Semitism stem from the very essence of the ideology that these fanatical groups are based on.
And let me provide a proof of this assertion in a quote from one of its sacred texts. ‘The Jews will hide behind stones and trees. Then the tree will call out, ‘A Jew hides behind me, come and kill him.’ The stone will call out, ‘A Jew hides behind me, come and kill him.’’ I would criticize those who call for the killing of the Arabs, but I am not aware of any mass movement that calls for the mass extermination of Arabs. I do however know of an anti-civilizational movement which calls for the mass murder of the Jews.
After all, one of the articles of the Hamas Charter says: ‘Kill every Jew you will see.’ Do we really want to pretend that this is just an extreme? Do we really want to be politically correct and say that everyone is a nice person and only a tiny fraction of the extremists and fundamentalists is committing these crimes?
One of my favorite essayists, Michel de Montaigne, once wrote: ‘It is a horrible delusion to believe that good necessarily succeeds evil; another evil may succeed, and a worse evil.’ We began the Arab Spring, which became the Arab Winter, and the struggles against the secular dictatorships have become battles run by Al-Qaeda. Therefore, let’s throw out political correctness and call a spade, a spade. Yes we have friends in the world to whom we express our solidarity, but this solidarity costs us nothing because these folks are never threatened by anyone or anything.
A true sense of solidarity is solidarity with a friend who is in distress and in danger, and so here I am.
Miloš Zeman, Czech President, Hotel Hilton, May 26th, 2014