In 2004 Spain´s on the aftermath of the bloody March 11th Madrid train bombings that left over 200 dead and 1000 injured, President Zapatero and his administration came up with the concept of the Alliance of Civilizations between Islamic civilization and Western Civilization. The idea, not a bad one in my view, is that rather than fight each other moderates on both sides should get closer to each other. Along those lines, Club de Madrid (the organization of the former presidents) and Safe Democracy, my foundation, organized the largest conference ever hosted centered on the issue of global terrorism. And last year in January this was followed by the first conference of the Alliance of Civilizations. Unfortunately it was not particularly well attended to the point that the opposition leader Mariano Rajoy made a mockery of the meeting mainly due to the insufficient international relevance of those who attended. Personally I always thought this was a great idea in the sense that if I have to choose between clash and alliance I go for alliance. And the movement went on with the leadership of the United Nations to organize a second meeting set to take place in Istanbul. Now the surprise of the day is that Obama has just said that he will attend the Istanbul meeting and this gives a whole new relevance to the concept of Alliance of Civilizations. For Zapatero this will be the first big win of his troubled foreign policy. Now being Jewish myself I just wonder on which side of the alliance “we” are in. I hope that there is a little room left for Jewish civilization in the whole project and the future of the State of Israel in this project alongside with the creation of the Palestinian State along the lines of the Oslo Treaty.
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