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The Czech Republic breeds an uncommon moral vision in its politicians. Perhaps being an early victim of Nazi occupation followed by decades of Soviet domination created fertile soil for the likes of Václav Havel and now Miloš Zeman.
President Zeman recently gave a speech celebrating Israel’s Independence Day, a bold move considering the growing antisemitism in modern Europe. Speaking just two days after the jihad-inspired murders at the Brussels Jewish Museum, Zeman clearly identified Israel’s precarious position:
The only holiday of independence which I can never leave out is the celebration of the independence of the Jewish State of Israel.
There are other nations with whom we share the same values, whether it’s free elections or a free market economy, but no one is threatening to delete those states from the map. No one shoots at their border towns and no one wants to see the citizens of those nations driven out of their country.
There is a term called political correctness and I consider it to be a euphemism for political cowardice. So I refuse to be cowardly.
Zeman also warned listeners of Islamism’s continuing threat:
It is necessary to name the enemy of human civilization and this enemy is international terrorism associated with religious fundamentalism and religious intolerance. This fanatical creed does not only attack a single nation, as we saw after September 11. Muslim fanatics in Nigeria recently captured 200 young Christian girls. And in the flower at the heart of Europe, an abominable killing took place at the Jewish Museum in Brussels.
I am not reassured by the claims that this is the work of only a small fringe group. Quite the contrary. I believe that xenophobia, racism and anti-Semitism stems from the essential ideology that these fanatical groups are based on.
Yes we have friends in the world to whom we express our solidarity, but this solidarity costs us nothing because these folks are never threatened.
A true sense of solidarity is solidarity with a friend who is in distress and in danger, and so here I am.
Děkuji, President Zeman.