High Alert in Israel, the Middle East - and Europe

Brussels - As we finalise this month’s report, we can read in the media about a new wave of terror attacks in Israel as well as the continued genocide against Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq and Syria. Still, the international capitals of the world, including Brussels, remain silent.

The silence and passivity of the international community to the sufferings of Christians and Jews in the Middle East, as well as the growing threat to Europe are key topics for our upcoming Annual Policy Conference next week. Now is the time to raise our voices and take action together. If you cannot join us in person next week, there is still an opportunity for you to support the work, which enables us to raise this voice. Our action is needed now.

Raising a Red Flag in Stockholm: Nordic Ministers Reject Joint Recognition of PA State

Stockholm - The last week of October, the international campaign of lawfare against Israel reached a critical tipping point. Although the Swedish minority government announced its recognition of a PA state on Thursday the 30th of October, it did so in splendid isolation. Not only did the decision lack the support of a parliamentary majority at home in Stockholm, Nordic neighbours flatly rejected the Swedish campaign to have all Nordic countries recognise a Palestinian state in unison.  If one government came out isolated, it was the Swedish government, which remains the only EU Member State to date to have recognised a PA state; thus, breaking with an EU decision to work for a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a pledge not to engage with the terrorist organisation Hamas.

Although the British vote in the House of Commons in favour of recognising a PA state on the 13th of October was disappointing, it does not change the position of the current British government, which remains committed to its obligations under international law.

As a small organisation with limited resources, ECI decided to concentrate on the fight in our own backyard: the Nordic countries. The Swedish decision was, in contrast to the British vote, a governmental decree, hence determining the official stance of Sweden. But, Sweden is important mainly as part of a broader Nordic block, not on its own. At the UN, the Nordic countries are seen by many as humanitarian super powers and trendsetters, despite being relatively small countries. (Two of the first UN Secretary Generals were Scandinavians.) If the other Nordic countries had followed the Swedish decision, it would have been disastrous indeed.

Nordic Council ministersFor this reason, ECI chose to mobilize support in the Nordic countries and to be on site in Stockholm when the Nordic Council (The regional organisation of the Nordic countries) met for its annual session; and, the Swedish government attempted one last time to convince its Nordic colleagues to follow their example. They refused ? for now.

The same week, ECI hosted the first-ever Nordic Israel Breakfast in connection with the Nordic Council annual session; and, a new Nordic Israel friendship group was announced.  As a result, the friends of Israel in the Nordic countries have come out of the recent crisis more motivated, more empowered, and also more aware of the need to come out strongly in support of Israel.

ECI continues to monitor the situation in the other EU Member States.

UN Yom Kippur Talks Continue - in Geneva & Vienna

Geneva - At the same time as the issue of UN recognition of Yom Kippur is being debated in the Fifth Committee at the UN in New York, ECI is also raising the issue at other UN headquarters around the world. Last week, ECI UN Director Gregory Lafitte met with senior officials of the UN Offices in Geneva and Vienna to discuss how recognition of Yom Kippur could be implemented in these European capitals of the UN.

The UN Secretariat has taken a pro-active approach in working together with ECI to try to find a practical solution to add Yom Kippur as a UN holiday. By engaging constructively with the UN structure, we have been able to move things forward. A new visit to the UN headquarters in New York will take place in the first week of December.

From Brussels - To the Ends of the Earth

Brussels - The influence of ECI and its partner organisations is not limited to Europe, though Europe remains our home base and main focus at all times. In the last few weeks, ECI Chairman Harald Eckert has travelled around the world in order to raise awareness of the need for each nation to stand with Israel during this critical time. In the last two weeks of October, meetings were organized in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Fiji Island, Brazil and Mexico.

In the same way as Germany (and Europe) had a global influence for evil in the 1930´s and 40´s, today, we can choose to have a positive influence. This is the core vision of ECI; and, its activities around the world.

Harald Eckert´s message has been well-received. In the Pacific Island of Fiji, the visit was very timely, as the question of the nation´s support for Israel at the UN has been questioned for the first time in their national capital. The support of the Pacific Islands at the UN has been a source of great encouragement for Israel for many years; and, the visit by Harald Eckert encouraged the island to remain steadfast in its support and to not change course.

In a Muslim nation which Eckert visited, he was asked to come back in order to speak on national television.

This is all part of the Global Prayer Call, which encourages Christians to pray for their government to support Israel and recommit to their responsibility to stand up for the Jewish people in connection with the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

The 100 day campaign will start with a conference in Krakow, Poland from the 25th-29th of January and end with a conference in Jerusalem from the 10th -13th of May. Please read more about the campaign and the upcoming conferences.

Editor Tomas Sandell tomas.sandell@pp.inet.fi
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