June 5, 2017 — Washington, D.C.
Nicos Anastasiades, President of the Republic of Cyprus, delivered a major address to the AJC Global Forum tonight. He lauded the “unprecedented level of cooperation” between his nation and Israel, as well as the close ties with the American Jewish community.
“Any rhetoric that in any way turns against Israel, or the Jewish people, any hint alluding to ‘Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions’, and any trace of incitement, is deplorable,” Anastasiades declared. “Make no mistake. Cyprus condemns it fully and unequivocally.”
"We are deeply honored to host President Anastasiades at this year's Global Forum," said AJC CEO David Harris, who began visiting Cyprus in the 1980s. "Cyprus is a valuable, indeed essential, partner of Israel, the United States, and the Jewish people, and President Anastasiades has proved time and again his deep and abiding friendship."
The president reaffirmed that “the Jewish people have the right to live in their own homeland and enjoy good relations with their neighbors.”
He spoke of the common dangers the two countries face from “Islamic fundamentalism,” international terrorism, and Iran’s nuclear program, and made clear that Cyprus “will continue to be very vocal in condemning any destabilizing regional action.”
He also condemned rising antisemitism. “No one can underestimate the serious repercussions it has on our democracy, security, and safety – in Europe, the United States, and beyond,” he said. “Cyprus will continue to be an uncompromising shield against antisemitism.” He specifically pointed out that Cypriot mayors were well represented among the signatories of AJC’s “Mayors United Against Antisemitism” statement issued in 2016.
“We are amongst true friends of Cyprus tonight. And we are grateful,” said Anastasiades, who last September received AJC’s Light Unto the Nations Award, and in February in Nicosia hosted an AJC leadership delegation.
“AJC was one of the pioneers, one of the visionaries, who, long before others, realized the potential of Cyprus’s partnership with Israel,” he said. “AJC understood the incredible promise that our partnership with Israel holds – not only for Cyprus and Israel, but also for the United States, for transatlantic relations, and for the region.”
Anastasiades also praised AJC for its “leading role” in the creation of the Hellenic-Israeli Alliance in the U.S. Congress in 2013, which emphasizes what he called “the added value of the partnership among Cyprus, Israel, Greece, and the United States.” He noted that this quadrilateral bond expresses both shared cultural and political values and a common strategic vision in “the vital and volatile Eastern Mediterranean.”
The Cypriot President spoke of the long shared history of Cyprus and the Jewish people going back centuries, the sympathy that Cypriots showed for Jewish refugees from the Holocaust who were interned in camps in Cyprus, and the help Cypriot and Israeli firefighters recently gave each other in battling serious forest fires in the two countries.
He also expressed the hope that new discoveries of hydrocarbon reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean would be developed jointly with Israel, helping both achieve energy independence.
“These ties have evolved into an unprecedented level of cooperation between the two countries in recent years, based on a common vision for a stable and secure future in a region where peace and stability still remain an elusive commodity,” he said. “We need each other, perhaps like never before. Cyprus will stand by Israel.”
The AJC Global Forum, taking place June 4-6 in Washington, D.C., is the advocacy organization’s signature annual event, bringing together more than 2,500 participants from across the United States and 70 countries around the world.