Sanremo, Italy, April 25th, 2019 – The European Coalition for Israel has marked the 99th anniversary of the San Remo Resolution which paved the way for the declaration of independence of the modern State of Israel in 1948. In a small ceremony in Sanremo on Thursday, ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell and the ECI Chairman of the board, Tor G. Gull met with local residents and officials to explain the significance of the adjourned Paris Peace Conference which took place in San Remo in April, 1920 (picture).
It was in this small city on the Italian Riviera, less than an hour away from Nice, that the Supreme Council of the Principal Allied Powers of the Great War, consisting of Italy, France, Britain and Japan, with an observer from the USA, met between April 19th and 26th in 1920 to decide what would happen to the territories of the defeated Ottoman Empire.
The resolution, which was signed on April 25th, 1920 affirmed the legal right of the Jewish people to reconstitute their national home in what was then called Palestine. Two years later, on July 24th, 1922, the League of Nations unanimously declared: “Whereas recognition has been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.”
“In a day and age when Jewish links to Israel are put in to question by UNESCO resolutions and other forms of historical revisionism it is important that we are reminded about these undisputable historical and legal facts,” Sandell said. He added, “The truth of the matter is that the Jewish people are in the land of Israel as of right and not as intruders.”
However, the region of Liguria around Sanremo stands as a testimony of how the same nations which in 1920 signed the San Remo Resolution later turned their back on the Jewish people. In 1938, while Hitler was clamping down on German Jewry, Britain denied Jewish refugees entry in to Palestine, and at the Evian conference in July 1938 no nation, except the Dominican Republic, was willing to accept Jewish refugees. Still eight years later, and after six million Jews had lost their lives in the Holocaust, nothing much had changed.
Just three hours east of Sanremo in the small port city of La Spezia Holocaust survivors on board vessels destined for Palestine were blocked from leaving the harbour by the British. But thanks to the help of local Italians many Jews were eventually able to embark for Palestine, giving the city the name “The Gateway to Zion.” Over 20,000 Holocaust survivors left for Mandatory Palestine from La Spezia between 1945 and 1948.
In 2010 ECI marked the first ever commemoration event of the San Remo Resolution as guests of honour from Europe, North America and Israel, including then Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Danny Danon, came together to learn about the conference and its significance for international law.
Since 2010 the ECI has visited national parliaments around the world to share about the legal implications of the San Remo Resolution while the City of Sanremo, the City of La Spezia and the region of Liguria have taken a special interest in rediscovering the pivotal role that their region has played in shaping world history after the Great War and Jewish history in particular. On Wednesday, the visit by the ECI delegation to the Mayor’s office in Sanremo was featured in a news article in the national newspaper La Stampa.
NB. Sanremo is written in one word today. But in 1920, at the time of the conference it was written in two words, hence the reference to Sanremo in the article as it relates to today and San Remo as it relates to the historical event that took place in 1920.