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/