Sanremo, Italy: April 24, 2010
Sanremo is a small resort town on the northern coast of Italy, near the French border.
At the end of World War One, the Ottoman Empire lost all its territories in the Middle East. Together with the German and Austro-Hungarian empires, the Ottoman Empire ceased to exist and the status of its former possessions was determined at the San Remo Conference on April 24-25, 1920.
The momentous decisions made at that Conference are crucial to understanding the present situation in the Middle East, hence the importance of reflecting on this event.
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Why is the San Remo Conference so important?
In August, 2011, the European Coalition for Israel produced a short 15 minute video which summarizes the importance of the San Remo Conference with regard to the present situation in the Middle East.
The San Remo Conference of 1920 was built upon a series of events which occurred before, during and immediately after World War One, and which are summarized below:
This sequence of events led to the San Remo Conference (April, 1920) where the map of the Middle East was redrawn, and a major Resolution was adopted by the Supreme Council of the Principal Allied Powers (Britain, France, Italy, Japan), with the United States acting as an observer:
(see the Minutes of Meeting of the San Remo Conference in the "Articles" section)
Commemorating the 90th anniversary of the San Remo Conference
(click on the picture below to enlarge)
Names, front row, from left to right:
During a presentation organized by CILR on December 1, 2009, it was suggested that on April 24-25, 2010, we should commemorate the 90th anniversary of the San Remo Conference, given the importance this event had in enshrining the legal rights of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel under international law.
Independently, Dr. Jacques Gauthier – an international lawyer based in Toronto, and the author of a thesis on the rights of the Jewish people to Jerusalem – intended to participate in an event initiated by the European Coalition for Israel (ECI) – a pro-Israel Christian group based in Brussels – in Sanremo, Italy, at the Villa Devachan, the site where the Conference took place in 1920. In March, 2010, CILR and ECI agreed to collaborate in the organization of this event.
The event was held under the auspices of the Mayor of Sanremo, Mr. Maurizio Zoccarato. Attendees (about 70) were mainly from Europe (U.K., Italy, Germany, France, Finland, Belgium), with a significant contingent of North American Jews assembled by CILR, and the noted presence of the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, MK Danny Danon and his wife Talia. Dr. Jacques Gauthier, unfortunately, was unable to attend for cause of force majeure.
On April 24, 2010, an information seminar took place at the auditorium of the Hotel Nazionale. The welcome address was delivered by Tomas Sandell, Director of ECI, followed by a statement from Claudia Lolli, Deputy Mayor, and an introduction of CILR by its Chair, Goldi Steiner.
Presentations were delivered by Salomon Benzimra, founding member of CILR (on the San Remo Resolution, as described above), by Eli Hertz, of MythsAndFacts.org (on the Mandate for Palestine) and by Attorney Howard Grief, through a video clip (on the legal aspects of the San Remo Conference under international law).
MK Danny Danon, in a 25 minute speech, stated the four foundational pillars on which Israel rests: the Biblical narrative which is at the very core of the State of Israel; the historical connection of the Jews to the Land and the resulting legal rights entrenched in international law since the San Remo Conference of 1920; the security requirements of the State which are vital to the survival of Israel; and the common sense issue, which more and more Israelis are getting aware of, whereby the many concessions and withdrawals from territories that Israel had carried out in the past several years are now seen as empirical proofs of the failure of such decisions.
On April 25, 2010, a ceremony was held at Villa Devachan, the castello where the 1920 Conference took place. Several statements of support from various personalities were read: MP Jason Kenny, Canadian Minister of Immigration and Citizenship; Amir Gissin, Israeli Consul in Toronto; and Robert Lloyd George, the grandson of David Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister who, in 1920, was the driving force at the San Remo Conference.
A congratulatory speech was delivered by Donna Bank, a member of the Canadian delegation, who graciously handed gifts to selected participants of this event.
The meeting was adjourned after a solemn singing a capella of the Hatikvah by Rebekah Nassanian, whose enchanting voice and emotional rendition stirred everyone in the audience. A lavish reception followed.
The whole commemoration event was recorded by a team of CBN News, flown in from Jerusalem, including Chris Mitchell, Middle East Bureau Chief, and Yoel Shoshani, Production Manager.
Chris Mitchell interviewed Tomas Sandell, Director of European Coalition for Israel, Eli Hertz, of MythsAndFacts.org, and Salomon Benzimra, of CILR.
These interviews can be accessed by clicking on the links below:
Tomas Sandell (14 minutes)
Eli Hertz (6 minutes)
Salomon Benzimra (8 minutes)