In an historic address to the Bundestag, Knesset Speaker Edelstein derided the Europeans for their duplicity and warned of the danger that looms when nations comply with the forces of evil.

Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein addressed the German Bundestag in Berlin on Wednesday, during which he lashed out at the Europeans for their recent decision to label products in Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights, thus singling out these areas for boycotts.

Setting an historic president by addressing the German parliament in Hebrew, Edelstein spoke to hundreds of lawmakers during a special of the German parliament`s Foreign Affairs Committee and Defense Committee. The speech was the pinnacle of the Knesset delegation`s official visit to Germany to mark 50 years since the establishment of relations between Israel and the European country.

”Unfortunately, Europe has become fertile ground for BDS [anti-Israel Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement] organizations that employ improper methods such as economic and academic boycotts against Israel,” Edelstein charged. ”These organizations disparage Israel, supposedly in the name of humanitarian principles, but they are actually working according to a double standard and out of blind hatred.”

Edelstein thanked the German lawmakers who voiced opposition to the European Union’s (EU) “outrageous measure” to label Israeli products. “’Where they burn books, they will also ultimately burn people,` Heine wrote, and I fear that where goods are labeled according to the place in which they were manufactured, people will be labeled according to their ethnicity,” he warned.

He also argued that Israeli factories, which employ thousands of Israelis and Palestinians in industrial zones in Judea and Samaria, strengthen the connection between the two nations. ”Ironically, the boycott will hurt the Palestinians and may lead them towards a path of poverty and despair,” he said.

The World Must Respond to Islamic Terrorism

Addressing the ”global cultural and religious war” with Islamic terrorism, Edelstein told the German lawmakers that ”the ground is shaking beneath our feet, time is not on our side, and we no longer have the privilege of remaining indifferent.”

This ”comprehensive, uncompromising and borderless” war, he said, ”will determine, to a large extent, the fate of human society for the next generations. The series of murderous terror attacks in Europe carried out by the Islamic State (ISIS) have awoken, I hope, even the skeptics.”

He dismissed any notion that the cause of Muslim terrorists was Israel. ”It is easy to claim that the conflict in the Middle East is local and that perhaps we, the Israelis, are to blame for it, but the reality is completely different. The time has come to recognize the fact that we are facing a global struggle between the west and democracy, and murderous radical Islam.”

Merkel Netanyahu

PM Netanyahu with German chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

In his speech, Speaker Edelstein also addressed the incitement against Israel that comes out of the Palestinian Authority (PA). ”[Palestinian] religious and political leaders, some of whom operate inside Israel as well, have often compared Nazi Germany and the horrors of the Holocaust to Israel`s treatment of the Palestinians,” Edelstein noted. ”I wish to express my deep disgust with any such baseless comparisons, which are part of the insolent industry of lies radical Islamic elements are conducting against Israel everywhere: in mosques, in the education system, the media and social networks… The Israeli-Arab conflict is unlike any other conflict, mainly because it is one-sided. Judaism has nothing against Islam, but unfortunately, [it cannot be said that Islam has nothing against Judaism]. We wish to create hope while others take pride in sowing fear. We have no interest in sanctifying the bloody struggle; rather, [we seek] to lead the region and human society to a better place.”

Edelstein, whose parents were Holocaust survivors, said that his visit to Germany were a complex experience for him. “For me, this visit is unlike any other visit, and this speech is unlike any other speech,” Edelstein said. ”I was convinced that I would never visit Germany in light of the heavy significance of its history to me and my people in the new era…It should not be taken for granted that I, a former Prisoner of Zion in the Soviet Union and a refusenik, a Jew who has for years fought for individual freedom and freedom of expression, would find myself less than three decades later speaking in the Bundestag in Berlin.”

He concluded by thanking Germany for its special relationship with the State of Israel and the friendship between the countries over the past half-century: ”Today, Germany is a close ally of Israel. The fact that you are standing by us is remarkable, particularly because you remain firm in your position even when it is the position of the minority, such as on the issue of the boycott against Israel. I am certain that Israel and Germany will continue to join hands in light of the major challenges they face, for the sake of tikkun (repairing) of the world and the prosperity of all of human society.”

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel