Jerusalem, April 28th, 2020 – Government leaders from around the world sent written messages conveying their support for a virtual event as Israel marked the 100th anniversary of the San Remo Resolution in Jerusalem on Sunday. A centenary conference was originally planned to be held in Sanremo (known as San Remo in 1920), Italy, but because of the current lock-down in both Italy and Israel, the celebration was instead turned into a virtual event in the form of a live broadcast from Jerusalem that was organised by the European Coalition for Israel and the Forum for Cultural Diplomacy.
“The Spanish flu did not prevent the San Remo Peace Conference from taking place one hundred years ago in 1920, neither did we want the current COVID-19 pandemic to stop us from celebrating this landmark event in the history of the Jewish people”, said ECI Founding Director and conference organizer Tomas Sandell.
In the one-hour live broadcast from Israel, hosted by Chris Mitchell, senior Israeli diplomats explained the significance of the San Remo Resolution, which was concluded at the Peace Conference, in that it established the legal foundation for the State of Israel which was declared as an independent Jewish state 28 years later in 1948.
UN-Ambassador Danny Danon, who was the keynote speaker at the 90th anniversary of the San Remo Resolution at the Villa Devachan in Sanremo in 2010, acknowledged that still to this day very few international diplomats have heard about the resolution. Former UN-Ambassador Dore Gold and Israel’s current Ambassador to Italy, Dror Eydar, both agreed that the San Remo Peace Conference has been largely forgotten in the international debate but emphasized that “our responsibility now is to remind the international community about its significance as the basis for Israel’s legitimacy under international law”.
Also in Italy, which hosted the peace conference in San Remo one hundred years ago in 1920, the resolution seems to have been largely forgotten. But in time for the 100th anniversary, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte conveyed a warm message of celebration for Italian-Jewish friendship, noting that “one of the seeds of the olive tree which would come to symbolise the Jewish state was planted in San Remo”. In a recorded message, Sanremo Mayor Alberto Biancheri took pride in saying that his city could even be considered the birthplace of the Jewish state.
If the San Remo Resolution has been largely ignored in the international debate until now, that all changed on Sunday April 26th, 2020, as government leaders from around the world including US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair acknowledged the central role of the San Remo Resolution in the creation of the Jewish state.
“By enshrining the commitment of the United Kingdom to promote a national home for the Jewish people in international law, San Remo both confirmed and reinforced the legitimate claims of the Jewish people for self-determination in their own homeland”, Tony Blair wrote in a message to the virtual conference. Current British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab added that “the San Remo Resolution saw Britain play its part in establishing a homeland for the Jewish people”. In his message to the conference, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote that “the historic agreement marked the world’s embrace of the unbreakable connection of the Jewish people to the land of Israel”.
In a recorded message, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced plans to fulfil the election promises to apply Israeli sovereignty over Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan valley which, he said, would be “another historic moment in the history of Zionism”.
In a separate statement, ECI clarified its position in saying that “its objective with the centenary conference was to explain a forgotten part in the Jewish journey towards statehood, not to make a political statement”.
“Europe was not only the dark continent for the Jewish people but was also the place in which a culture developed which nurtured the Jewish dream of a return to Israel for many centuries. This dream reached a pivotal phase in 1920 as the rebirth of the Jewish State was intrinsically linked to a renaissance of the Hebrew language and the Jewish culture—starting with Theodor Herzl, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda and others in the late 19th century to influential writings in the 1920’s, in particular by André Spire, Albert Cohen, Gustave Kahn, Henri Franck and Edmond Fleg—a renaissance which also contributed to European culture through a treasure trove of literary works, thought, art and philosophy”, explains Gregory Lafitte, co-founder of the Forum for Cultural Diplomacy.
The Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte writes: “Few peoples embody the concept of a national home and identity like the Jewish people. It expresses in the most noble sense the definition of nationhood by the great historian Renan. […] The strength of the Jewish nation lies precisely in its intrinsic capacity to remain firmly attached to its origins and its history, even if painful, while at the same time it has created an open and dynamic society, fully projected into the future.”
Please see the video recording of the live broadcast including more quotes from world leaders. Additional greetings and articles will be published later, in time for a planned conference in Sanremo this fall.