Η Aμερικανική Εβραϊκή Επιτροπή (AJC) γιά Γιώργο Παπανδρέου: "Δεν υπάρχει καλύτερος φίλος στην Ελλάδα, της Εβραϊκής Κοινότητας, του Ισραήλ και των ΗΠΑ, από εσένα, κ. Παπανδρέου" (David Harris, εκτελεστικός διευθυντής, στην τιμητική εκδήλωση -3 Mαίου 2000- γιά τον τότε υπουργό Εξωτερικών της Ελλάδας, στην Ουάσιγκτον).www.kalami.us
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AJC Honors Greek Foreign Minister Papendreou Η ΣΥΝΕΧΕΙΑ ΕΔΩ
May 3, 2000
AJC Honors Greek Foreign Minister Papendreou
May 3, 2000 - WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The American Jewish Committee today honored Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou for his extraordinary contributions to Greek-Jewish and Greek-Israeli relations.
“It is especially gratifying for me to see the revolution in Greek-Israeli relations that has taken place over the past two decades,” said AJC Executive Director David A. Harris, who made the presentation to Minister Papandreou.“There is no better friend in Greece of the Jewish community, of Israel, and of the United States than you, Mr. Papandreou.”
Mr. Harris spoke after the Foreign Minister addressed AJC’s Annual Meeting. Mr. Papandreou praised the American Jewish Committee for furthering Greek-Jewish relations, and also spoke warmly of Ambassador Alfred H. Moses, the former AJC president who is the Clinton Administration’s point man on the negotiations to resolve the Cyprus conflict.
“I am proud to be here today among friends and colleagues who have worked enthusiastically and diligently so that these collaborative ties have survived the test of time,” said Mr. Papandreou. “Today those ties have blossomed through the tireless efforts of people like David Harris.”
Praising AJC as an organization, the foreign minister said: “The American Jewish Committee has demonstrated a longstanding interest in advancing Greek-Jewish relations and interreligious dialogue through frequent visits to Greece and by maintaining warm relations with the Greek American community.”
Among the luncheon guests were top leaders of the Greek Jewish community, who are participating in the AJC Annual Meeting, as well as leaders of the Greek American community.
Addressing AJC the day after Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, Mr. Papandreou said, “education of future generations on the Holocaust is essential” to prevent the rise of racism and discrimination.
“When I was Minister of Education a few years ago, I formed a committee whose task was to search all Greek school textbooks and remove any references that might be considered anti-Semitic,” said Mr. Papandreou. “I am glad to say that this task was completed under my aegis.”
He pointed out that under the initiative of one of the luncheon guests, Mrs. Fotini Konstantopoulu, Greece transferred to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum the archives of Greek Jewish communities.
Mr. Papandreou recalled that under the postwar government led by his grandfather, “Greece became the first country in Europe to return Jewish properties that had been confiscated during the Nazi occupation and reinstated citizenship and employment in the public sector for the Jewish population.”
Reviewing recent developments in Greek-Israel relations, Mr. Papandreou proclaimed: “I am delighted that our relations have never been better.”
He noted that in ten days he would be accompanying the President of Greece, Costis Stephanopoulos, to Israel.
“This will be the first official visit to Israel of a Greek head of state, signaling a new era in our relations,” said Mr. Papandreou.
Israel is Greece’s biggest trading partner in the Middle East and joint business ventures are multiplying in tourism, energy and high technology, said the foreign minister.
He also expressed “Greece’s active support for Israel’s admission to the West European and Others Group (WEOG), which would enable Israel to serve on the UN Security Council and other deliberative bodies.” The American Jewish Committee has spearheaded a diplomatic advocacy effort, meeting regularly with European government officials to press for Israel’s temporary admission to WEOG.
On the peace process, Mr. Papandreou said, “Greece has continuously been a staunch supporter of this process.”
“I am proud to say that Greece has played a constructive role in this process, by hosting a series of meetings between Israelis and Palestinians known as the Athens Dialogue,” he said. “Our goal is to create a forum where all sides can exchange views and explore new avenues for cooperation, in a spirit of mutual tolerance and understanding.”
He continued: “I believe we achieved our goal, as participants on both sides have asked us to continue.”