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!