June 4th, 2009

Statement by the Secretary General of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Stephan J. Kramer, on the keynote speech to the Muslim world delivered by the US President Barack Obama in Cairo

I welcome the efforts by the US President Barack Obama to establish better relations between the United States and the Muslim world. His success would promote world peace, stabilise relations between Islamic and western countries, and be in the interest of Europe, Germany, and Jewish communities around the world. We Jews share the vision of a world where people enjoy democracy and freedom of religion.

I also welcome President Obama's determination to combat fundamentalist terrorism. It is necessary to fight against enemies of peace and hate-mongers in order to promote understanding between different cultures in the world.

I greatly appreciate the fact that President Obama has condemned anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, re-affirmed his commitment to Israel as the home of the Jewish people and stressed the unbreakable friendship between the US and Israel. It is especially important that these words were spoken publicly in a speech directed to the Muslim world.

I welcome the US President's efforts to forge peace in the Middle East. However, I would like to warn against any attempts to one-sidedly blame Israel or the current Israeli government for the absence of peace in the region.

One should remember that the previous Israeli government was prepared to accept the creation of a Palestinian state on the basis of the two-state solution and to dismantle most Israeli settlements. However, the claims raised by the Palestinian side were aimed at transforming Israel into a bi-national state. No Israeli government could accept such a solution. Under these circumstances, all actors on the global political stage, including, of course, the US government making efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East, should take a balanced position in the Middle East conflict. Otherwise there would be the danger of a further escalation of the conflict.

Stephan J. Kramer

Berlin, Germany

June 4, 2009