NEW YORK (Nov. 9)
Sen. Daniel Moynihan (D. NY) has vowed to continue efforts to move the United States Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. “The State of Israel has a right under international law to declare Jerusalem its capital,” the lawmaker told 300 guests at the presentation of the Fourth Annual Defender of Jerusalem Award last Thursday night at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
“Jerusalem is far more than just a political capital,” Moynihan declared. “It embodies and symbolizes three millennia of Jewish accomplishments and aspirations. The United States government would do well to follow Costa Rica’s example.”
Costa Rica was the first country to put its Embassy in Jerusalem despite pressure from other countries and international bodies. Luis Alberto Monge, one of the awardees, was President at the time. The two other awardees were Per Ahlmark, former Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden, and Rabbi Eliahu Essas, for 13 years a dissident in the Soviet Union and now living in Israel.
Referring to the three winners, Moynihan noted that Ahlmark “has done so much to secure support for Israel and Jerusalem in Scandinavia”; Essas “refused to forget the message of Jerusalem in the Soviet Gulag”; and Alberto Monge “has shown the world that foreign Embassies can and should be in Jerusalem.”
Nobel Prize laureate Elie Wiesel presented the award to Ahlmark, citing him for his consistent advocacy of Israel’s rights and his opposition to every manifestation of anti-Semitism in his native Sweden and throughout Scandinavia. “Statesman, poet, humanist: Per Ahlmark has relentlessly defended the honor of Israel with vigor, talent and passion. He is singularly deserving of the Jewish people’s gratitude,” Wiesel said.
THE DANGER OF ANTI-SEMITISM
Ahlmark, who is also Deputy President of the Swedish-Israeli Friendship League since 1970, said in response that Israel “has given and still does so, inspiration to free men and women around the world.” “If you support Israel, you also support the idea of freedom everywhere,” he added, and “what we see on the international scene now, not least in the UN, are systematic attempts to make the Jewish State illegal, efforts to isolate Israel in a way that in fact prepares world opinion for its future destruction.
“The anti-Semites,” he continued, “start with the Jews, but never stop with the Jews. Anti-Semitism is always a call for the destruction of democratic values and institutions. To tolerate anti-Semitism is to invite disaster. In the end, we will all be victims.”
The $100,000 award is sponsored by the Jabotinsky Foundation. The chairman of The Foundation is Eryk Spektor. The prize is given to persons who undertake extraordinary action “in defense of the rights of the Jewish people,” Spektor said.