• Tue. Oct 4th, 2022

See what the Liberal Party answers to MIFF’s questions about Denmark and Israel

Lars Løkke Rasmussen

To our survey, we have received the following answer from the Liberal Party’s foreign policy spokesman, Michael Aastrup Jensen.

Question 1: The State of Israel

Israel was established as a national homeland for Jews, as the UN Partition Plan of November 1947 also provided for. Most Jews in Israel are refugees and descendants of refugees, not least from the Arab countries. We have a moral duty to support a Jewish homeland, said former US President Barack Obama. Does the party support the right of the Jewish people to its own nation state?

Answer: The left is a strong supporter of the state of Israel and that the Jewish people have their own state.

Question 2: “High-tech” cooperation DK-Israel

In a number of high-tech areas (IT, medicine, cybersecurity, water, renewable energy sources – just to name a few examples), Israel is among the foremost in the world. There is already cooperation between Israeli and Danish actors. Does the party support even closer economic and technological cooperation between Denmark and Israel?

Answer: Israel is a role model for technology and start-ups. There is no doubt that Denmark can learn a great deal from the entrepreneurial culture that exists in Israel and which is already established in schools, where there is a focus on e.g. coding and STEM competencies. It will therefore be of great benefit to Danish growth and employment to expand cooperation with Israel.

Question 3: The DK-Israel cooperation in the energy sector

Israel has discovered large natural gas deposits in its economic zone in the Mediterranean and entered into binding cooperation with, for example, Egypt. Does the party support increased Danish cooperation with Israel in the energy sector?

Answer: Denmark has a number of strengths in energy. It is therefore obvious to strengthen cooperation between Denmark and Israel on this point. J

Question 4: Boycott

Does the party support any kind of boycott of another country? If so, which countries and is Israel on the list?

Answer: The Left is against a boycott of Israel. Denmark does not boycott other countries, but we participate in sanctions against e.g. Iran, North Korea and Russia. This is for example in relation to the sale of material that can be used in Iran’s nuclear program.

Question 5: The BDS movement

In 2016, Angela Merkel’s party (CDU) declared all forms of Israel boycott anti-Semitic. In 2018, the security service of the Berlin police concluded that the BDS movement (Boycott-Divest-Sanction) is anti-Semitic, and the culture spokesman for the Berlin Left Party, Klaus Lederer – has assessed that BDS is “structural anti-Semitism.” The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, has in 2019 said that the BDS movement is anti-Semitic. Does the party agree with that assessment of the BDS movement?

Answer: The Left does not agree with the goals and means of the BDS movement. Instead, the Liberal Party believes that a lasting peace must be found by bringing the parties to the negotiating table rather than one-sided criticism of Israel.

Question 6: UN treatment of Israel

Former and current UN Secretaries-General, Ban Ki-moon and António Guterres, as well as Denmark’s Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen have pointed out that Israel is being treated unfairly in the UN system. Does the party agree with that assessment?

Answer: The UN Human Rights Council has a tradition of one-sided criticism of Israel by countries that are themselves undemocratic and notorious for human rights violations. The government has announced that Denmark will oppose the Israel-critical line in the council.

Question 7: PA (Palestinian Authority)

Denmark is a financial contributor to the Palestinian Authority (PA). The PA rewards and honors participation in targeted attacks on Israeli civilians, for example by rewarding prisoners, by naming schools and sports tournaments after the attackers, and by honoring them in official media. Does the party believe that Denmark should use economic pressure to get the PA to stop rewarding and paying homage to terrorists?

Answer: Denmark has strongly criticized the regime for its homage to terrorists. For the Liberal Party, it is crucial that Danish tax dollars do not go to glorifying terrorism. As Foreign Affairs Rapporteur, I have been actively involved in having these issues clarified and investigated.

Question 8: Hamas

The 1988 Hamas Charter expresses longing for a time when nature will help Muslims kill Jews. The new 2016 Hamas document, which does not replace the Charter, aims at the complete liberation of “Palestine” from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean, so that Israel disappears. Does the party support contact / dialogue with the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip?

Answer: It is difficult to have a dialogue with an organization that wants to push its counterpart into the sea.

Question 9: Criteria for supporting NGOs

Denmark provides financial support to Palestinian and Israeli NGOs to build a strong Palestinian civil society. In 2017, Denmark became aware that some of the supported NGOs did not act in accordance with Danish goals for development cooperation. The NGOs, for example, opposed a two-state solution, they supported BDS and had links to terrorists. The support criteria have therefore been clarified and fewer NGOs receive support. Does the party support the changed support criteria?

Answer: Yes, as Foreign Secretary, I helped initiate this tightening. It is important to Danish taxdo not go to rabid or extremist organizations.

Question 10: UNRWA

The descendants of Palestinian refugees from 1948 are treated through UNRWA in a completely different way than all other refugees in the world through the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Does the party support Denmark working to change that practice?

Answer: Denmark cannot change the conventions on its own, so if something needs to be changed, there must be agreement on this within at least the EU countries.

Question 11: Recognition of Palestine as a State?

Current international law specifies that there must be a peace agreement between Israel and the recognized Palestinian leader before recognition can be given to the “State of Palestine”. However, a large number of countries have already recognized Palestine as a state. And several Danish politicians have wanted Denmark (preferably but not necessarily together with the whole EU) to deviate from the condition that the peace agreement must precede recognition. Does the party support the recognition of the “State of Palestine” without a peace agreement?

Answer: The Liberals support the need for a peace agreement before a two-state solution can become a reality.

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