European Coalition marks 10th Anniversary in support of Israel

Brussels, 15th November, 2013 – In the aftermath of the 75th Anniversary of the Night of Broken Glass, a more recent anniversary was marked in the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday, when the European Coalition for Israel celebrated its 10th Anniversary in the EU capital. The conference “EU-Israel - Which way forward” reviewed EU-Israeli relations since the Yom Kippur War of 1973, in the light of the proposed EU guidelines for the disputed territories. The new guidelines forbid EU grants, prizes and loans from going not just to Israeli entities located beyond the Green Line, but also to Israeli entities that have any activities beyond the post-1967 lines.

‘Europe is losing the streets in Israel,’ warned Israeli diplomat David Saranga, who spoke at the conference. ‘There is no vacuum, so if Europe continues to make life difficult for Israel, chances are that Israel will start looking in other directions for cooperation,’ he said.

ECI Legal Counsel Andrew Tucker pointed to the Yom Kippur War in 1973 as a watershed moment for EU-Israeli relations. It was then, that for the first time, the European Community formulated a common position on the Arab-Israeli conflict. They declared the disputed territories to be illegal under international law, and recognised the rights of the Palestinians to their own state within the 1949 Armistice Lines. Tucker suggested that it was the oil embargo which followed the Yom Kippur War and the threats of terrorism which were the main explanations for the sudden European change of heart and political direction.

Historian Bat Ye’or pointed to the Venice Declaration of 1980 and the Euro-Arab dialogue as a consolidation of the new European policy. This was when, for commercial reasons, the European Community aligned itself with the narrative of the Arab League. The EU guidelines are a direct consequence of these earlier policy decisions, argued Tucker and Bat Ye’or.

MEP Sari Essayah criticised the European External Action Service (EEAS) for singling out Israel and overstepping its boundaries by issuing the controversial guidelines at a time when the European Parliament was about to leave on holiday and the political institutions of Europe were closing for the summer.

‘This goes against every principle of good governance and democracy,’ she said. ‘Why did the EEAS not have any consultations with the only democratically elected institution in the EU - the European Parliament - and why is Israel singled out again, whereas other states with disputed territories, such as Morocco, are never questioned?’ she continued. Essayah also criticised the timing of the guidelines, which were issued the very same week as the US Foreign Secretary John Kerry had managed to re-start the peace talks.

The timeline of the EU guidelines has been highly criticised by another senior MEP, Elmar Brok, the Chairman of the EP Foreign Affairs Committee. In an interview with the Jerusalem Post in July, he called the timing of the issuing of the guidelines “catastrophic” and accused the EU bureaucracy of being divorced from the rest of the world. According to Brok, the guidelines can be counterproductive for Europe, since Israel is a leading nation in research and innovation. Elmar Brok spoke at the conference, where he emphasised that the new challenge for Israel is to win the media war. In other words, Israel needs to win back the streets of Europe.

The EEAS Deputy Head of Mission, Jerome Cassiers, attended the conference in order to compile a report for the High Representative of Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, who is ultimately responsible for the guidelines. In his speech, he defended the guidelines by saying that they were not an act of legislation but had been issued on the explicit orders of the European Council (The EU Foreign Ministers) in accordance with the conclusions of their December 2012 summit. The guidelines were issued in preparation for the renewal of the next round of EU programmes, especially the 80 billion Euro flagship programme for research and innovation, Horizon 2020. Israel is the only non-EU member to be part of the programme. He defended the guidelines as being in compliance with EU policy and international law. He hoped that negotiations with the Israeli Government would lead to pragmatic solutions which will not harm EU-Israeli trade relations. But he also reiterated that the settlements are obstacles to peace.

ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell closed the conference by stating that settlements are not obstacles to peace, but in full compliance with international law, as stated in Article 15 of the Mandate for Palestine. This states that “No discrimination shall be made between the inhabitants of Palestine on the sole grounds of race, religion or language.”
He reiterated the concerns expressed by Andrew Tucker, that Jews could be expelled from the territories promised to them in the San Remo Resolution of 1920 and the Mandate for Palestine of 1922.

‘Palestinian leader, Mahmud Abbas, has stated that there can be no Jews in a future Palestinian state, and we have not heard any protests from the High Representative,’ he noted. He went on to say that incitement to hatred is the real obstacle to peace and has to be stopped in order to achieve peace. The EU urgently needs to address this issue.

In his speech, he presented the contours of a new EU policy towards the Arab-Israeli conflict, which better reflects European values. ‘There is still only one state in the whole region of the Middle East, which shares and abides by these values, and that is Israel. It is now high time that the EU also recognises this fact, and states it publicly.’

The conference ended with Andrew Tucker and Tomas Sandell handing an Open letter to Mr. Cassiers and Mr. Brok, respectively representing the High Representative and the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament. The letter urges the EU to rescind the proposed guidelines, and urgently review the EU’s policy with regard to Palestinian statehood and the disputed territories.

The open letter which is signed by over 20 prominent European political leaders, among them government ministers, will continue to circulate throughout the month of November.

The conference was hosted by MEP Hannu Takkula and also included speeches by historian Kelvin Crombie, former Deputy Director General of the European Commission,Karel Kovanda, as well as journalist Simon Barrett.



ECI celebrates 10 years and prepares for the future

Brussels - In just a little more than a week, on November 13th, ECI will host its 10th Anniversary Policy Conference in Brussels.  Ten years marks a certain level of maturity but the journey does not stop here. As the challenges facing Israel continue to grow, we at ECI will have to step up our efforts, adapt and rethink our strategies.

The last few years have been truly dynamic in that we have gained new ground and trust with our partners. We are today interacting on a professional level, not only with the European Union, but also with national governments and international organisations such as the United Nations. This would have been unthinkable ten years ago.

We are truly grateful for these first ten years. They would not have been possible without your help and prayer. As the work grows and expands, we will look for additional ways to connect with you and build community. We do realise that only a fraction of those who receive this newsletter can attend the 10th Anniversary, given that it falls on a weekday and that the European Parliament has only limited space.

We hope to be able to share some of the conference highlights in the form of a video. The next Prayer Conference, which will take place during the weekend of March 21st-23rd, 2014, will allow for more people to attend. Please mark the date, as that conference will help launch us into the next ten years.

Open Letter against EU directives gains momentum

Brussels - In less than two months, on January 1st, 2014, the EU guidelines for the disputed territories will come into effect unless they are stopped in time or revised. The guidelines would stop any EU grants, prizes and financial instruments for Israeli entities in the disputed territories, including East Jerusalem. You can read the EU guidelines HERE. During the whole month of November, ECI will collect names of political leaders who object to the proposed guidelines.

In an eight-page Open Letter, we are asking the EU “to rescind the guidelines and urgently review its policy with regard to Palestinian statehood and the disputed territories.” In the first week since its launch, the letter has already been endorsed by several members of the European Parliament, national parliaments, a former foreign minister of an EU member state and a vice-chair of a national parliament. We hope to have between twenty and thirty prominent members of parliament or government supporting our letter. Please let us know as soon as possible if you have suggestions of people in this category who could sign the letter.

At a recent conference in the European Parliament on the special relationship between Romania and Israel during the Cold War (Romania never broke off diplomatic relations with Israel even though all the other communist countries did), one of the members from a former communist country who is today an MEP asserted: “If Romania was able to disregard the dictate from the Kremlin at the time of the Communist regime and its feared Red Army, we should today be able to ignore the guidelines from the European Commission.”

The EU guidelines contradict the very values of the EU, namely transparency and good governance, since they were developed in great secrecy and launched at a time when all parliaments were to go on recess. Now it is high time for the EU member states and their governments, parliaments and citizens to take back power from non-elected bureaucrats in Brussels. The Middle East is too sensitive to be left in the hands of anonymous and unaccountable EU civil servants.

The letter will first be presented at the ECI Conference next week, but we will continue to collect names throughout the month of November. In December, the letter will be presented to the governments of the EU member states.

Unbelievable but true:
75th anniversary of Kristallnacht marked by new boycotts against Jewish businesses! 

Brussels - In just a few days, on November 9th, the 75th Anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, will be marked by events throughout Europe.

The current times in Europe are not all that different from the 1930´s when the calls to boycott Jewish businesses led to the Night of Broken Glass.

As we have pointed out in a previous article, we are still hearing calls today to boycott Jewish businesses and people are questioning the right of the Jews to live where they choose. I am referring to EU guidelines as well as other EU initiatives to start marking Israeli goods produced in the disputed territories.

As Christians, we need to be diligent in not repeating the mistakes of our forefathers. Today the threats are not limited to just one country as in the past, but are led by a global campaign of divestment and boycott, with many historical churches also playing a major role. Churches and Christians now have to decide what side of history they want to be on.

European church leaders representing millions of Christians endorse ECI

As the diplomatic war against Israel is stepping up and many Christian leaders are joining the campaign, we are happy to announce the endorsements of several Christian leaders who have decided to stand on the side of truth and justice. Among the Christian leaders who publicly support ECI, is the new Chairman of Pentecostal European Fellowship, Arto Hämäläinen. PEF represents several millions of European Christians. In their recent board meeting, the decision was taken to recognise ECI as one of its partners in supporting the Jewish people. Other influential Christian leaders who openly support ECI are Ulf Ekman

If you are a church leader, please consider partnering in prayer and financial giving with ECI in your biblical ministry to support the Jewish people. If you are not from the continent of Europe, you are just as welcome. The enemies of Israel are engaged in a global battle against the land. Friends of Israel need to work together in a new way
We are happy to announce that the 10th Anniversary will be followed by a Pastor’s Conference. In the coming years, ECI will strengthen its links with local and national churches.

With anti-Semitism on the rise: 
Time to prepare for Holocaust Remembrance Sunday

Brussels - At a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise and openly neo-Nazi parties and Holocaust deniers win seats in national parliaments in Europe, it is important to keep reminding ourselves of what happened in our continent just one generation ago. This is particularly important for the younger generations, who have no emotional connection with the horrors of the past. As one young leader explained it  -  The Holocaust is just as relevant to us as the French Revolution.

For the last 8 years, ECI has marked Holocaust Day with an event in the European Parliament and has encouraged churches worldwide to mark the day in their Sunday church services.

ECI will organise its own event in Brussels and will partner with two major events in London and Berlin. Please let us know if you wish to organise your own event. We encourage each church to mark Sunday 26th January as Holocaust Remembrance Sunday. More info will follow in next month’s report.

ECI Media work expands and reach new audiences

Brussels - Ten years ago, when ECI got started, nobody had ever heard of YouTube, Facebook or Twitter.  It was expensive and complicated to produce audiovisual material and its dissemination was even more difficult. Ten years later we live in a completely different media world where a whole generation follows news and watches videos on their smartphones.

In ECI, we are adapting to this new media landscape in a number of ways.

- We are communicating daily with an online community on Facebook.  Our ECI Group has more than 10,200 members and we share articles and discuss current issues. Please join the conversation HERE or like us on Facebook HERE. We are also active on Twitter where we have two ECI accounts, one dealing with the UN and another one with the EU. You can join our Twitter accounts HERE and HERE.

- For the last year, with British journalist Simon Barrett, we have produced a monthly talk show called European Report. In this programme, which is produced in the studio of the European Parliament in Brussels, we discuss current issues facing Israel with members of European Parliament, experts and diplomats. You can watch the monthly talk show on Revelation TV and later, with subtitles, on TV7 in Finland and Alpha and Omega in Romania. We are currently negotiating with additional TV channels in several new countries. You can also watch a 30-minute version of the programme on TV7 HERE.

In the coming years, we will focus even more on improving our communication and interaction with you by providing more content and ways to connect with us. Despite all the changes, we will keep and improve our Monthly Reports. In addition to these communication tools, we look forward to many more opportunities to also meet you in person!



ECI warns Council of Europe

- Recent resolution opposing ritual circumcision may fuel racial hatred in Europe

Helsinki, October 24th, 2013 – ECI denounces a recent resolution of the Council of Europe to call into question male circumcision on religious grounds, calling it a travesty of European values. In a letter to Council head, Thorbjorn Jagland, on Thursday, October 24th, ECI points out that the Council of Europe was set up in 1949 to promote tolerance and religious freedom and not to ignite hatred and limit religious freedom, which is the case in this recent resolution. By issuing the recommendation, the Council of Europe is in fact contradicting its own values and objectives, the letter said.
The Council of Europe resolution comes at a time when Jewish life is becoming increasingly difficult in European countries. A recent survey from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights reveals that a full 25 per cent of Jewish people said they avoid wearing clothing or symbols that would identify them as Jewish, for fear of being attacked. In some countries, such as Sweden, that number totals almost 50 per cent. Furthermore, in several European countries such as Greece, Hungary, Bulgaria and France, openly racist and anti-Semitic parties are growing in popularity. In France, one of the largest EU member states, the openly xenophobic National Front is currently the most popular party in the polls for the next EU elections in May 2014.
‘In this atmosphere of increasing intolerance and xenophobia, one would expect a different message from the Council of Europe’, ECI's director Tomas Sandell states in his letter. 

'Instead of combatting these forces of the tragic past of Europe the Council of Europe is helping to legitimize them by putting in to question the right for Jews and Muslims to live according to their religious traditions which prescribe the circumcision of male infants. The Council of Europe resolution, if ever implemented into national law, would severely limit the religious freedom of Jews and Muslims and may put an end to Jewish life in Europe.'
ECI notes that chairman Jagland has already distanced himself from the resolution which was adopted on October 1st by a vote of 78 in favour and 13 against, with 15 abstentions. According to Jagland, the Assembly is a consultative body that does not represent the position of the Council as a whole.
The Council of Europe was set up in 1949 to promote human rights, democratic development and cultural cooperation. The Council consists of 49 member states and is independent from the European Union. The Assembly of the Council of Europe consists of 642 elected members who meet four times a year in Strasbourg, France.



ECI in New York at the Opening Session of the 68th UN General Assembly

New York - The European Coalition for Israel sent a delegation to New York in tandem with the Opening Session of the 68th UN General Assembly in the last week of September. This is the third consecutive year that ECI has been present in New York during this important week, when each of the 193 UN member states sends their government leaders to the UN.

At ECI, we see this week as a golden opportunity to reach out to governments and UN diplomats in support of Israel. The logic is simple: rather than travelling to 193 nations, one can reach many of them in New York during one and the same week. Whilst the main focus of ECI remains Europe, this is one expression of ECI’s global outreach to the nations. We want to thank all our supporters for their prayer and financial help for this mission.

The ECI Delegation consisted of Perrine Dufoix, Tomas Sandell, Judy Littler Manners and Gregory Lafitte.

New ECI campaign scores first victory:
UN considers accepting Yom Kippur as UN holiday

New York - The United Nations is, for the first time, considering recognising Yom Kippur as a UN holiday, thus enabling Israeli and Jewish officials officially to celebrate Yom Kippur as a paid holiday. On Monday, September 30th, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, Zev Elkin, presented the request to UN Deputy Secretary General, Jan Eliasson, who promised to consider the question. Earlier in the year, one of the UN Under-Secretary Generals sent an internal memo to all divisions of the UN making them aware of the Jewish holidays and asking them not to organise important meetings on these dates. The memo has not had any effect on the planning of the Opening Week of the UN General Assembly which this year took place during the Jewish holiday of Succot - the Feast of Tabernacles.

The initiative asking the UN to recognise Yom Kippur as a UN holiday was part of an ECI portfolio of new initiatives which were presented to the Israeli Government in Jerusalem during the last week of August. A first draft resolution was circulated amongst some of the UN missions prior to the arrival of the ECI delegation in New York. The resolution has now been embraced by the Israeli Government as one of their UN priorities and may soon be presented as a resolution to be considered by the UN General Assembly.

In New York, the Israeli Delegation praised its partnership with ECI and asked that we spend more time in New York - the headquarters of the UN, and Geneva - the European seat of the UN, to counter the activities of the anti-Israel lobby groups.

ECI is also discussing new ways to promote the San Remo Declaration with the Israeli Government. It was in April 2010, that ECI commemorated the 90th Anniversary of the signing of the long-forgotten San Remo Declaration which paved the way for the creation of the Jewish state. In recent years, the Israeli Government has begun to pay more attention to this argument, and next year may be the first occasion for us to celebrate the anniversary together.

As ECI steps up its efforts to present the legal foundations of the Jewish state and claim its rights in the EU and the UN, some other Christian organisations are planning to mark the 100th Anniversary of the Balfour Declaration in 2017 by demanding that the British Government revokes the Declaration!

The diplomatic and spiritual battle for the historical and legal narrative on Israel is growing in intensity. Thank you for standing with us in prayer and financial giving, to ensure that there is a strong united Christian voice in support of Israel at the UN and in the EU.

20 years after the Oslo Peace Accords, 
Norwegian Foreign Minister threatens to stop funding of PA if “Israel does not make peace”

New York - The outgoing Norwegian Foreign Minister, Espen Barth Eide (picture), threatened to stop the funding of the Palestinian Authority ”if Israel does not make peace with the Palestinians”. The threat was expressed in meetings with ECI in New York two weeks ago as Eide made his last visit to the UN as Foreign Minister. Norway is one of the leading donors to the PA and is currently chairing the influential Donors' Conference.

‘If Israel does not make peace, we may have to leave the Israeli Government to deal with their occupied territories by themselves’, he said. His statement reflected a one-sided criticism of Israel, while refusing to hold the PA responsible for its actions. The Palestinian Authority openly broke its commitments stated in the Oslo Accords when it brought its statehood bid to the UN General Assembly in November last year.  Norway voted in favour of PA unilateral statehood, although it clearly breached the Oslo Accords.

Despite his threats, Eide was optimistic about the outlook for peace.

‘Hamas is weakened and the West Bank is today one of the most stable areas in the region’, he said. ‘The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians can be solved’, he said, but complained that the Israelis appeared to be content with the status quo.

On the question as to why the Gulf States are not contributing financially to the Palestinians, he had no answer, but reiterated that there is currently a general donor fatigue. ‘If there is no progress in the peace talks in the next nine months, the international community may leave the conflict to the two parties to resolve’, he warned.

The Norwegian Labour Government, which has had an active role in the peace process, was ousted in the parliamentary elections last month and Mr Eide will have to step down as Foreign Minister. The outgoing Norwegian Government came under intense pressure earlier this year for having tried to cover up the fact that Norwegian funds had been used to support convicted Palestinian terrorists in Israeli jails.

It is still unclear what role the new Norwegian Government will take in the Middle East peace process. The new right-wing government is considered by many to be pro-Israel. Some critics have accused the outgoing Labour Government of being one of the most anti-Israeli parties in Europe, with a strong lobby to boycott Israel into accepting a peace deal. ECI is planning to meet with the new Norwegian Government as soon as it is installed.

ECI campaign starting to show results?
Several EU member states opposed to EU guidelines on the disputed territories

Brussels - A growing number of EU member states are starting to express criticism of the EU guidelines concerning the disputed territories in Judea and Samaria. The guidelines were introduced by the European Commission in July while parliaments were in recess. The Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte (picture), is the first formally to come out against the guidelines, stating that the Netherlands will not change its policies on the disputed areas. In his statement, he contradicted previous announcements made by his own Foreign Minister - that the Netherlands would start removing the Made in Israel label from goods from the disputed territories. The discussion continues in the Netherlands.

In ECI meetings in recent weeks in Brussels and New York, it has become clear that, in addition to the Netherlands, also Germany, Poland and Czech are expressing opposition to the EU guidelines, although they say it may be difficult to stop them completely. In a meeting with the Deputy Foreign Minister of Poland, Henryka Moscika-Dendy in New York, she reiterated the Polish opposition to the guidelines calling them “unhelpful”, but conceded that the best they could hope for was a compromise. According to Moscicka-Dendy, this is the price that member states will have to pay for the growing power of the European Commission.

ECI has been in active contact with the Dutch Government in the last few months through our Legal Counsel, Andrew Tucker, who is also the Executive Director of Christians for Israel International. Tucker has presented the Dutch Government with the ECI Open letter, which states why the EU guidelines are flawed and should be changed. In the letter we note that the guidelines would make life more difficult for Palestinians who are currently employed by Israeli companies in the disputed territories. These workers would in fact lose their jobs if the guidelines were to be implemented whereas the Israeli companies could relocate their production to areas inside the 1967 lines.

In the next two months, ECI plans to present the same arguments to the other governments in the EU member states. Thank you for your help in prayer and financial support to make this ambitious project possible!

ECI strengthens its office with new co-worker in Paris 

Paris - ECI is happy to announce the arrival of Perrine Dufoix (picture) to the ECI Leadership Team. After many years of close cooperation and support, Perrine Dufoix will now officially become part of the ECI staff by taking on a part-time leadership role. Ms. Dufoix has a background in law and has also worked in media. She is the former Secretary General of Fondation France-Israel and was part of the cabinet of the last French government. In addition to Perrine Dufoix, the ECI Executive Committee currently consists of Harald Eckert, Andrew Tucker, Katariina Salmi and Tomas Sandell.

Do you want to pray for ECI and Israel?

In ECI we take prayer seriously. Each week we send out a prayer request with concrete prayer topics. This is not another weekly report, but simply items for prayer. Please let us know if you wish to receive these prayer requests. Because of the confidential nature of some of the prayer items, we will ask for references for those who wish to be added to the list. Remember that the First Friday of the month is a day to pray and fast for ECI. Some are called to educate, others to advocate but we are all called to pray!

Still a few places left at the ECI 10th Anniversary Policy Conference 13th November

Next month, on November 13th, ECI will host the 10th Anniversary Policy Conference in the European Parliament, followed by a gala dinner. There are still a few places available for those who are interested in attending the conference. On November 14th ECI is hosting a Pastors' Conference as well as a Young Leaders' Consultation. For more information please contact the office at info@ec4i.org


ECI concludes one week mission to the UN

- Israel should not be left alone to face Iranian threat

New York, September 30th, 2013 – On Saturday, the European Coalition for Israel concluded a one week mission to the UN in New York in conjunction with the opening week of the 68th UN General Assembly. As government leaders from 193 member states gathered at the UN headquarters, ECI had private meetings with government delegations and UN diplomats where they reminded these leaders of the centrality of Jewish thought in achieving the overall objectives of this world organisation - that is, world peace.
’The words outside the UN headquarters, where verses from Isaiah 2 are engraved on the wall, illustrate the centrality of Jerusalem and the Jewish people in achieving world peace. The modern state of Israel should therefore be celebrated and not marginalised by the UN body’, ECI director Tomas Sandell said in a statement on Saturday.
One first step in normalising relations with the Jewish state and the UN is immediately to recognise and respect the Jewish High Holidays and abstain from organising important meetings on these days. This year the Prime Minister of Israel was unable to attend the opening week of the UN General Assembly because of the Jewish holiday of Succot. When the Palestinian delegation spoke in the UN, the whole Israeli delgation was absent - not in protest, but because they were observing Succot, the Feast of Tabernacles.
’No Christian leader would tolerate a UN meeting on Christmas Day, nor would Muslims accept taking part in meetings on Eid al-Fitr, the breaking of the fast on the last day of Ramadan. Leaders who follow Jewish traditions should not be treated any differently’, Sandell said.
More importantly, Israel is the only state which is threatened with annihilation by another UN member state, namely Iran. Although the new Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani struck a more moderate tone in his speech at the UNGA earlier in the week, the international community should demand concrete actions to ensure that he is willing to adhere to the demands of the international community and dismantle his nuclear program.
Although Rouhani is speaking the language of the Western elite, he remains an Iranian insider and a Shiite cleric, committed to the destruction of Israel.
History teaches us that nice words are not enough to achieve ”peace in our time.” President Rouhani continued to offer no concrete proposal as to how he would comply with the demands of the international community but seemed more interested in buying time and delaying the diplomatic process.
As Iran is about to cross the red line set out by the Prime Minister of Israel in his speech last year at the UNGA, the international community now seems less determined to stop the process and more inclined to wait and see.
Israel cannot be left alone to face this existential threat but needs the support and determination of the United Nations.  As September 29th marked the 75th Anniversary of the signing of the Munich Agreement the international community should remember the lessons of the past.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be addressing the UNGA on Tuesday morning, local time.
This was the third consecutive year that the European Coalition for Israel has sent a delegation to New York to the Opening Session of the United Nations General Assembly.


Monthly Report - September 2013

The Jewish people are once again facing challenges on many fronts. It is interesting to note that God´s covenant with Abraham consists of two principal elements - circumcision of male infants and the promise of land. Today both covenants are challenged by the world community. In court cases in several European countries, the circumcision of male infants is being challenged on human rights grounds (the right of the child) and so is the promise of the land of Israel, despite the fact that it was confirmed and codified under international law back in 1920 in San Remo, Italy.

This is not the first time in history that the Jewish people have been challenged in these ways. During the Greek and Roman occupation of Israel (332 BC - 635 AD), all traces of the connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel were erased and circumcision was banned. The Jews survived then and they will survive again - with your help -  by means of prayer, education and advocacy, but mainly because the Lord said so. However, we need to play our part.

ECI open letter to Ashton: 
“EU policy concerning Israeli settlements is flawed and must urgently be reviewed"

Brussels ? “EU policy concerning Israeli settlements is flawed and must urgently be reviewed”, writes ECI Legal Counsel, Andrew Tucker, in an open letter to the EU High Representative for Security Policy and Foreign Affairs, Baroness Ashton. In July, it was revealed that the European Commission plans to implement new guidelines for prohibiting funding of entities in the disputed territories. This Autumn, EU officials are working on additional plans to label goods produced in the disputed territories.

In the letter, ECI states that “EU policy grossly misrepresents historical and legal facts and that EU policy underestimates the geo-political conditions in the Middle East, and takes inadequate account of Israel´s security dilemma.” Tucker concludes by saying that EU policy in fact promotes apartheid in Arab Palestinian territories, since the effect of the EU policy is that Jews will be prohibited from living there. This is surely an unacceptable outcome of any EU policy!

The letter will be circulated to European governments in all EU capitals within the next four months, as the guidelines will be discussed on a national level. The CDU - Christian Democrats of Germany - have already indicated that they may oppose them in the EU. This will be one of the most ambitious projects undertaken by ECI. Please pray for a good execution as we reach out to our nations.

Speaker of the Knesset receives ECI in Jerusalem: 
- Your friendship and support is appreciated

Jerusalem - ECI ended the old Jewish year by travelling to Jerusalem for private meetings with the Government and the Knesset. ECI was invited to meet with the new Speaker of the Knesset, Yuli Edelstein, who expressed his gratitude for our visit which took place on the same day as the Knesset reconvened to discuss the military threat from Syria.
‘It is at times like these that we need your friendship and solidarity’, he said, and thanked ECI for all its efforts on behalf of the Jewish state.

Despite short notice, the ECI delegation was also able to meet with several government representatives to discuss our growing cooperation, especially as it relates to the UN. Ministers, as well as senior officials, agreed with ECI’s assessment of what could be done at the UN.  ECI has worked systematically for the last two years to help Israel make new friends by providing a platform to inform UN diplomats of the Jewish people´s legal rights. 
‘There are certain things that we can do, solely because we are not Israelis or Jewish’, Tomas Sandell said, and the Israeli leaders agreed. Our goal is simply to be helpful friends to Israel and from time to time we need to sit down and compare notes.

As well as meeting the Speaker of the Knesset, ECI also met with the Minister for Strategic Affairs and Intelligence, Yuval Steinitz, Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis, as well as the Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Foreign affairs and the Director General of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs.

ECI and the crisis in Syria

In the meetings with the Israeli Government, ECI also expressed its concerns over the ramifications of a US-led airstrike against Syria because of its potential repercussions for Israel. As much as the world community needs to prevent Assad from using chemical weapons, one must not forget the threat that the rebel forces pose to Israel and the Christian communities in Syria.

During the meetings it was stressed that the main areas of influence for ECI are prayer, education and advocacy. Whereas many may feel a sense of helplessness regarding the possibility of a military confrontation in Syria, we should never underestimate the power of prayer. ECI urges everyone to pray for a peaceful solution to the crisis - for the chemical weapons to be dismantled and protection for the most vulnerable in the region, including the State of Israel.

Why is ECI involved at the UN?

Our growing activities at the UN may leave some of our friends wondering why a European organisation needs to be active outside of the EU. The question is relevant, but so are the answers.

-  Historically Europe has always had an influence beyond its borders ? for better or for worse. This was of course also true of the Nazis. ECI feels that we, as Europeans, have unique but tragic experience which obliges us to warn the nations of the ramifications of growing anti-Semitism. Earlier, as in the 1930´s, anti-Semitism was geographically contained, whereas today it is being released on a global scale.

- We live today in an interdependent and global world. The enemies of Israel, be they BDS movements or others, are cooperating on a global level and so should the friends of Israel.

- In addition to this, we feel we have a calling into these new nations. This has been confirmed by the enthusiastic reception by the Israeli Government to our new involvement, as well as the many invitations to nations which seek closer cooperation with ECI.

We will not neglect Europe, but plan to strengthen our work on a European level to make it even more relevant at the global level. In the last few weeks, we have strengthened our organisation in several ways to make it more effective.

ECI invited to speak at African Government Leadership Summit in Jerusalem

African Summit JLMJerusalem ? ECI was invited to speak at the African Government Leadership Summit in Jerusalem during the last week of August. The Summit brought together leaders from government, business and church, to inspire them to become more vocal in their support for Israel.  In his speech, Tomas Sandell called for closer cooperation.  He said that Europe needed Africa and Africa needed Europe, and that Israel needed Europe and Africa working together in support of Israel.

There are currently several initiatives on the African continent to start an African Coalition for Israel and ECI is in close contact with a number of leaders.  Africa is one of the largest blocks in the UN with 53 nations, all of them, except South-Sudan, members of the Non-Aligned Movement. Together, Europe and Africa control a majority of the votes in the UN.

It has been said that the most recent wave of anti-Zionism was birthed in Durban, South Africa, in September 2001 at the NGO Forum at the UN Conference against Racism. Interestingly, the vision of a European Coalition for Israel came about at exactly the same time. It is important that Africa does not give in to the enemies of Israel, but together with friends from other continents, works to combat anti-Semitism in Africa and on a global level.

ECI partner launches website for upcoming German elections

German initiative2Berlin - The upcoming elections in Germany are of vital importance for Israel. Germany has historically been one of the closest friends of the State of Israel. However, in recent years, there have been some dissenting views expressed in Berlin which have caused some level of nervousness in Jerusalem.

Will Germany remain strong on Israel or will it follow the lead of other nations? In order to inform the German constituency of where the parties stand on issues vital to Israeli security, “Initiative January 27th” has set up a website to provide the answers.  Please watch and pray as the Germans go to the polls on September 22nd. The initiative is led by ECI Chairman, Harald Eckert, and Jorg Gehrke in Berlin. http://www.initiative27januar.org/


ECI mission to Jerusalem on the verge of US-led airstrike

The international community must act now to prevent Syria from using its chemical weapons

Jerusalem, September 2nd, 2013 - It is high time for the international community to become more vocal in its support of Israel. As violence escalates in Syria, according to western intelligence reports, there is clear and compelling evidence that the Assad regime has gassed to death 1,400 of its own people, including women and children. The international community must now take action to prevent further use of chemical and biological weapons, as the conflict risks escalating into Israel and other neighbouring nations. 

At the same time, friends of Israel such as ECI, must step up their efforts to help Israel win the diplomatic war.

This is ECI’s core message after a one week fact- finding mission to Jerusalem which is on the verge of a US-led airstrike against Syria in the coming days or weeks. The US would consider a military attack to be a punitive measure to deter future use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime.

In high level meetings with Israeli Government officials and Members of the Knesset, ECI discussed the current situation in Syria, as well as the ongoing diplomatic war against Israel at the EU and the UN.

Despite a specially-convened emergency session on the crisis in Syria in the Knesset, Speaker Yuli Edelstein took the time to meet with the ECI delegation which consisted of Perrine Dufoix, Gregory Lafitte and Tomas Sandell.

ECI presented its strategy to help Israel make new friends internationally, as well as empowering its existing friends with new support structures. The plans were also discussed in private meetings with the Minister of International Relations, Yuval Steinitz, Deputy Minister, Ofir Akunis, as well as senior officials at the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Strategic Affairs.

Earlier in the week, Tomas Sandell spoke at the African Leadership Summit in Jerusalem which brought together leaders from government, business and church in Africa.  In a powerful speech at the Summit, renowned anti-apartheid activist, South African MP Kenneth Meshoe, debunked the popular myth of Israel as an apartheid state.

‘For someone like myself who personally suffered under apartheid, it is a great injustice and insult to call the only democracy in the Middle East an apartheid state’, he said, promising to help international leaders understand the truth about Israel.

In meetings with African leaders, as well as with Israeli Government leaders, ECI committed to helping spearhead efforts to help Israel make new friends and win the diplomatic war.

‘One should never underestimate the power of prayer, education and advocacy’, Sandell said, making reference to the famous quote by Joseph Stalin on how many legions the Pope had. 
‘Whereas Stalin had military power, the Christians at that time understood the power of prayer and standing for truth and justice. These were the weapons that finally brought down the Iron Curtain.’ 

‘There are no more powerful weapons than prayer and proclaiming the truth about Israel and the Middle East. These same weapons are still freely available today and as Christians we need to start making better use of them again’, said Sandell, concluding his statement in Jerusalem.


Monthly Report - June 2013

Two years after the release:
”Give Peace a Chance” becomes the new buzzword

Brussels - Over the last three years ECI has been on an amazing journey to raise awareness of the true legal foundations of the state of Israel. Most of this you have already been able to read about in our monthly reports, although a lot also goes unnoticed as things happen - on and off the record - every month.
This month we want to pause for a while to reflect over the journey which started in San Remo on 25th April 2010 when we commemorated the 90th anniversary of the San Remo resolution which paved the way for the creation of the Jewish state. Little did we then know that the journey would not stop there but would literally take us to the ends of the earth.
Over the last three years we have been able to share this truth in parliaments, governments and international organisations around the world. In this process we have been truly blessed by the important contributions of people like Jacques Gauthier, Howard Grief and Cynthia Wallace, without whom we could not have achieved our goals.
The most powerful communication tool to convey this message turned out to be the 15-minute video, Give Peace a Chance, produced and directed by Leenard Fieret together with the ECI team. (Credit also goes to Hugh Kitson who helped with the script.) The film, which features Jacques Gauthier, Howard Grief and Dore Gold, has been viewed all over the world, in national parliaments, in churches, on the internet and on television but also in many confidential briefings that we seldom hear about. In April we were informed by a close ECI associate that the US Foreign Secretary John Kerry has also watched the movie! Only a few weeks later we heard him unexpectedly quote the title in a speech in the US congress.
You can watch the video here and the quote comes 1.17 minutes in to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3euuaUvzFE
This week Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu made an exception to the rule of not speaking any other language than Hebrew in the Knesset when he suddenly changed to English and said, ”I will turn to him [Mahmoud Abbas] in a language we both understand. I say: Give peace a chance!"
It is probably no coincidence that the new buzz word in the Middle East is now ”Give Peace a Chance.” This has consistently been our message since 2010 and we continue - with your help - to bring this message to the leaders of this world, now with the help of Foreign Secretary John Kerry and Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu. :)
You can watch the movie and/or get a copy of the book at the website http://www.givepeaceachance.info/ 
But it does not stop there.

Help ECI reach the nations at the UN

Brussels - The receptiveness of our message about the true legal foundations of the modern state of Israel and the importance of keeping Jerusalem united as an open city for people of all faiths has clearly exceeded all our expectations. Or, as Victor Hugo would put it - There is nothing as powerful as an idea whose time has come!
ECI is now embarking on its most ambitious project ever by aiming to take this message to the 68th UN General Assembly in New York in the last week of September. Plans are currently being made about how we could create a platform for those nations that wish to draw closer to Israel while being sensitive to the overall political situation. We have already been in contact with a number of countries which have expressed their interest.
This comes at a time when the pressure against Israel is mounting from all directions. After having visited a number of European governments this year we have heard the same message over and over again, ”Israel will soon be faced with a very hostile international community.” The new US nominee for the post of UN Ambassador is on the record of having in the past suggested a US intervention in Israel to impose the views of the international community!
This is clearly the time to give the nations another choice. Our project takes the greatest level of faith, prayer and financial resources to come about. But as in any other initiative we have taken on so far we do this simply out of obedience, fully aware of our own limitations but also confident in the unlimited resources of the Lord.
When we reached out to you in 2010 with the idea of making a small movie we did so in faith. Many of you gave sacrificially in order for the message to come out.
The success of the movie in having helped reshape the narrative of the Middle East conflict, albeit indirectly, was not in our mind at all. Still, looking back, we know that the movie has been, and continues to be, a powerful communication tool in helping leaders understand the conflict from a new perspective.
This time we invite you to be part of a new exciting part of this same journey. Let us help the nations to draw closer to Israel by providing them with the right platform at the UN.
Please consider supporting this project which has the potential of mobilizing more nations in support of Israel.

"Neutral countries" are among the most anti-Semitic in Europe:  ECI steps up its activities in Sweden and Switzerland

Brussels - The word "neutral" sounds nice and peaceful. The fact of the matter, however, is that some of the countries who present themselves as neutral are currently facing the most serious problems with anti-Semitism.
Last month Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet published a cartoon which compares Jews with blood suckers, an old anti-Semitic stereotype which was often used by the Nazis. This is but one example of the level of anti-Semitism in Norway where the current government has been in the forefront of the campaign to delegitimize Israel.
In the European Union there is finally an overwhelming majority in the Council for blacklisting Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation. However, unanimity is required for any decision in the Council and the proposal is currently blocked by three neutral countries, Sweden, Finland and Ireland. So much for neutrality.
In order to step up our efforts in these neutral countries ECI has recently become involved in Sweden and Switzerland, two countries which have been actively working against Israel in recent years but where we also have capable people on the ground. We believe the best way to have an impact is to combine our efforts on an EU and UN level with national activities in member states. Whilst in Sweden last week, a well-known journalist stated it so clearly
- ”Your work at the UN and EU gives the rest of us courage and inspiration in our own countries as we understand that our message is being received and taken seriously at the highest political level.”
 It is true.
Together with you we can make a difference.

Harald Eckert helps strengthen and motivate Christians in Romania, a key Israeli ally in Europe

Brussels - If we are to find nations which have the best understanding of Israel’s difficult situation we have to look east.  Having lived under totalitarian rule most of the new EU member states from Central and Eastern Europe are natural friends and allies of Israel, but they need our support in order to stand firmly on the side of Israel at the EU and the UN.
Romania is one such country, with a large evangelical community and a government which has traditionally been supportive of Israel. Last month our Chairman Harald Eckert visited Timisoara in Romania to speak at a conference organized by our longstanding friends and partners Tudor and Mirela Petan who are leading the TV station Alpha and Omega.  Harald spoke at four sessions on his core message of ”Israel and the nations.” The sessions have been recorded and will be aired on television in due time. His book ”Times of Restoration” has now been translated in to Romanian.
In another development, in Brussels Tomas Sandell met with a former high ranking Romanian diplomat who has been close to ECI for many years to discuss how we could reach out to Romanian members of the European Parliament as well as to the government in Bucharest. ECI is currently looking at ways of strengthening the pro-Israel constituency in the other Central and Eastern European countries including Bulgaria where we have a long and fruitful cooperation with Pastor Andrey Avramov in Sofia.

In memoriam - Howard Grief

On June 3 we were reached by the sad news of the passing of our friend Howard Grief. Grief is credited with having discovered the importance of the San Remo Resolution of 1920. He was the first to advance the thesis that de jure sovereignty over all of Palestine was devolved upon the Jewish people at the 1920 San Remo conference. 

In 2010 we were able to interview him for our film Give Peace a Chance where he shared how he came to discover the hidden minutes of the San Remo Conference in the British war archives, and about his life mission to make them known to the rest of the world.  He has now completed his part of the race but his legacy lives on through his research, articles and book ”The Legal Foundation and Borders of Israel under International Law”, and also through the work of ECI. At ECI we salute this great hero of Israel. May he rest in peace.