In two weeks from now, on 22-25 May, we have European Parliament elections. In this Monthly Report we inform you about the upcoming elections so that you can make best use of your precious vote. Remember to vote. This election is also about the future EU policy towards Israel. Make your vote count. Please check our questionnaire at the end of the report and make sure that your candidate is a supporter of Israel!

New San Remo convocation affirms right to Jewish self-determination

San Remo – Four years after ECI commemorated the 90th anniversary of the San Remo resolution, an international group of delegates returned to San Remo, Italy on April 26th to reaffirm the right of the Jewish people to self-determination. The event was also the launch of the Forum for Cultural Diplomacy, a new ECI initiative to reach out to the UN member states in New York in support of Israel.

The convocation took place at the same hotel where the British delegation stayed during the Peace Conference in April 1920 and where the formal dinners for the Supreme Council of the Principal Allied Powers took place. The British would later become the mandatory power for Palestine. At the conference, the Marquess of Reading, a descendant on both sides of cabinet ministers from that time, acknowledged the failure of the British to carry out the objectives of the Mandate for Palestine. They blocked entrance to Palestine at a critical time when no other nation would receive the Jewish refugees who were fleeing Hitler.

The meeting had the support of the President of the Czech Republic, Milos Zeman, who sent his personal greetings to the conference through his Foreign Policy Advisor, Ambassador Hynek Kmoníček. In his statement, he explained that ”support for Israel is best expressed by the voting record at the UN and not through official speeches at state dinners.” Czech was one of only eight member states to reject the unilateral Palestinian statehood bid at the UN General Assembly in November 2012. Another UN member state that voted against the UN bid was Canada. The Canadian Foreign Minister also sent his personal greetings to the meeting, stating that ”Canadian support for Israel is explained through shared values and shared interests.” Canada has been a consistent supporter of Israel since its independence in 1948.

In a panel, Director General Yossi Kuperwasser from the Ministry for International Relations and Strategic Affairs and Tomas Sandell discussed how the message of San Remo can be better communicated to Israel and the world. The San Remo Resolution was relatively unknown in the public debate until only a few years ago, but it was agreed that it now deserves much more attention.

Sandell stressed that these historical facts need to be taught in Israeli schools. ’Israeli children should be able to learn, not only about the Basel Conference of 1897 or the tragedy of the Shoah, but also about the San Remo Resolution of 1920 which affirmed the right of the Jewish people to reconstitute their ancestral homeland in what was then called Palestine.

The Deputy Mayor of San Remo, Claudia Lolli (picture), agreed that San Remo should do more to make the city a tourist attraction for those who want to discover the historical and legal foundations of the Jewish state. The strategy will go down well in San Remo, as another city on the Italian riviera, La Spezia, will soon mark the commemoration of the first sailing of Jewish refugees to Israel after the Second World War.

In a panel of international experts, the many contributions of the Jewish people to mankind were discussed. ’The Jewish people did not only give us technical inventions and Nobel laureates but a completely new way of looking at life’, said Georgina Dufoix. These Jewish values later became Judeo-Christian values and today they are known as universal values, as enshrined in the UN charter. Bruno Roche explained how the Jewish people were entrusted with the financial realities of the Year of the Jubilee. ’The Jewish people understood from their scriptures the meaning of rest for the financial system’, he said.

In a concluding remark Gregory Lafitte (picture) spoke about the role of Israel at the United Nations. He noted that Israel has many friends at the UN who would like to engage with the Jewish state in order to benefit from Israeli know how and innovations in order to solve every day problems. ’The Jewish people understood from their scriptures the meaning of rest for the financial system’, he said.

The meeting issued a San Remo Resolution which affirmed the Jewish right to self-determination as enshrined in international conventions starting on April 26th, 1920 in San Remo, and later confirmed by the Council of the League of Nations in 1922 and then finally by the UN in 1947.

The statement will be presented at a diplomatic luncheon at the UN on May 12th on the occasion of the 65th Anniversary of Israeli membership of the UN.

The meetings were covered by two media groups, CBN and i24News. Please watch their reports.

Christian voters may determine how Israel-friendly the new European Parliament will be

Brussels – There are now only a few weeks left before the European elections (May 22nd-25th) when you will have the chance to elect your own representative to the European Parliament. It is important to vote. There have never been more openly Fascist parties in Europe after the war than there are today. With the rise of anti-Semitism and political extremism, the new European Parliament could become a very hostile place for Israel and the Jewish people unless we do something about it. We would ask you to do two things; pray and vote.

Thanks to the active participation of Christian voters in the last election, Israel has had many friends in the European Parliament during the last five years. Recently one of the key representatives of the Jewish community explained to me who are the best friends of Israel in Brussels: ’It is the Christians. Without Christian support, the Jewish state could not persevere’, he said.

If he is right, it means that Christians have a major responsibility to safeguard a European Parliament which has many friends of Israel. If we fail to go to the polls, we will have failed the Jewish people and opened up an opportunity for the new anti-Semites. Not voting is letting others decide the future of Europe. That is not acceptable.

- Please make sure that you vote on May 22nd-25th. Encourage your friends, family members and church friends to vote as well.

- Make sure that your candidate is a supporter of Israel. You can ask the candidate directly, using the questionnaire we presented in the last report. (You will find the same questions at the end of this report.)

- Be active during the campaign by raising these questions through e-mails, social media and in personal campaign meetings. By raising the issues, you help put them on the agenda.

- Pray for the elections. Our campaign is called Pray and vote. The elections need prayer, but prayer alone will not solve the situation. We need to pray AND vote.

How can you choose a candidate?

Brussels - In a democracy, it is our right to choose a candidate of our own liking. While you may not always find a candidate that agrees with you on every single issue, it is important that you trust the candidate. While it is ultimately the candidate that will determine how he/she votes, the party groups that they belong to remain very important. It is through the party groups that an individual MEP can have influence in the daily work of the Parliament.

These are the party groups:

European People's Party (Christian Democrats) 
35.77 % of the vote in the last election

This is a centre-right group consisting of German Christian Democrats and other conservative parties in Europe. It has a track record of being relatively friendly to Israel. This does not mean that all members automatically share this view but generally speaking, this is the case.

S&D Group of Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (Social Democrats) 
25.46 % http://pes.eu/

The Social Democrats have, generally speaking, been critical of the policies of the current Israeli Government. This is not to imply that they are anti-Semitic, which is the case for the new extremist parties, but the group as a whole is clearly critical of the Israeli Government. The exceptions are made up from the post-Communist countries (new EU member states) where support for Israel seems to be irrespective of political affiliation.

ALDE Alliance of Liberals and Democrats 
10.96 % http://www.aldeparty.eu/en

The Liberal group is a mixed group where you will find some of the strongest supporters of Israel as well as many of their fiercest critics. Check with your candidate beforehand where he/she stands on issues important to Israel.

Greens EFA Group The Greens / European Free Alliance
7.57 % http://campaign.europeangreens.eu/

The Green group has been one of the most vocal critics of Israel.

ECR European Conservatives and Reformists
5.57 % http://www.aecr.eu/

This group, consisting of among others, the British Tories, is perhaps one of the most Israel-friendly groups in the Parliament. It is a group which is critical of more EU integration.

GUE/NGL European United Left/Nordic Green Left 
4.57 % http://european-left.org/

The extreme left has been one of the fiercest critics of Israel. Although the left has, generally speaking, been very anti-Israel, it should not be equated with the open anti-Semitism that you will find in some of the new populist parties.

EFD European Freedom and Democracy group 
4.05 % http://www.efdgroup.eu/

This group is a mixed group which is united by its opposition to more EU integration and support for national sovereignty. Though some of the parties are critical of immigration, most of them are friends of Israel. The leader of the European Parliament delegation to the Knesset, Bas Belder from Netherlands, belongs to this group.

Non-attached members
4.18 %

On the extreme right, you will find most of the so called non-attached members, some are open neo-fascist parties like the British National Party in the UK, Golden Dawn in Greece and Jobbik in Hungary. Many are also concerned about the rise of the National Front in France. It is still unclear how these parties will organise themselves in the new European Parliament.

You can read more about these other groups on http://www.elections2014.eu/en


ECI is not a political organisation. We are not linked to any particular political party or movement, but we want to work together with all those who support Israel. This does not mean that we agree with all their other policies. In presenting the political groupings in the European Parliament, we have focussed solely on their attitude towards Israel and the Jewish people.

Appendix: Questionnaire to candidates for the European Parliament

1. Should male circumcision and kosher slaughter be allowed or banned in Europe?

2. Is the EU doing enough to ensure that Iran does not get a nuclear bomb?

3. What is your position on the recent EU guidelines (December 2013) which prohibit EU funding of Israeli entities active in the disputed territories?

4. Should Jerusalem be divided under a final peace agreement or remain the united capital of Israel?

5. Should EU aid to the PA be made conditional on economic performance and human rights record or should it continue as in the past?

Editor Tomas