ECI hosted a 70th Anniversary Concert in Krakow

- A Europe where Jews are afraid is no longer Europe

Krakow, January 27th, 2015 - As the official commemoration events marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz came to a close on Tuesday evening, the European Coalition for Israel, together with the Jewish Community of Krakow, hosted a unique concert of commemoration in the Tempel Synagogue of Krakow, only an hour from Auschwitz.

The significance of seventy years and the current threats to Jews in Europe were the central themes of the introductory speeches.

In his welcoming word, ECI Chairman Harald Eckert turned to the host of the evening, Holocaust survivor and President of the Jewish community of Krakow - Tadeusz Jacubowicz, and publicly apologized for 1,800 years of Christian anti-Semitism in Europe, which culminated in the mass murder of 6 million Jews. “As a German and as a Christian, I want to ask for forgiveness,” he said.

The concert was part of an international conference that brought together Christian leaders from the whole world to learn from the lessons of the Holocaust and to recommit themselves to standing with the Jewish people and the State of Israel at this critical time.

In his keynote speech, Executive Director David Harris of the American Jewish Committee shared his personal story of close family members who had to flee Europe simply because they were Jews. He asked, “What made the Jews so despicable that they had to be killed by the Nazis?”

Harris, who was part of the official American delegation at the Auschwitz commemoration, warned about being more concerned with dead Jews than the ones that are feeling threatened today after the deadly attacks in Toulouse, Brussels, and Paris. He also criticized those who refuse to see any connection between the Jewish people and the State of Israel.
He asked, “How many Jews could have been saved, if there had been a Jewish state in the 1930s?”  When Hitler wanted to kick the Jews out of Germany, there was not nation willing to receive them.  When the mass extermination of the Jews started a few years later, they still had no place to go.

The evening’s guest of honor - Minister of Multiculturalism for the Canadian government - Tim Uppal, reiterated the commitments of his government to stand with Israel and the Jewish people as they encounter new threats. He openly expressed his concern over the rise of new anti-Semitism. He called the campaigns to boycott Israel in the name of human rights a bigotry which is trying to make anti-Semitism acceptable to a new generation.

ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell quoted the new EU Foreign Policy Chief Frederica Mogherini, who recently said, “A Europe where Jewish parents are afraid to send their children to school is no longer Europe." He went on to say that Europe would not be Europe if not for the Jewish contributions to our civilization over the last 3,000 years; Jews are not to be simply “tolerated” but celebrated, respected, and appreciated for who they are.

The main attraction of the evening was the KolorBach ensemble from Paris. The name of the group refers to the unique alliance between the Jewish tradition of Klezmer music and Bach. The concert, which was played for a full house of international guests and dignitaries, concluded with the Polish national anthem and the Israeli national anthem, Hatikvah.

European Coalition for Israel
P.O. Box 189
 FI-00181 Helsinki, Finland
Tel.: + 358 9 6948056



Thank you!

As we start a new year we would like to thank all of our supporters and friends for your prayer and financial support in 2014. Thanks to your generous and sacrificial giving we were able to close the year with a small plus!

Grand synagogue in Paris closed for the first time since World War II

Paris - In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris last week, the Grand Synagogue of Paris was closed for Shabbat prayer for the first time since World War II. ECI continues to follow the critical developments in France through our European director Perrine Dufoix who is based in Paris. Please read our press release about the terrorist attacks.

Dramatic close to 2014 indicates challenging year ahead of us

New York - ECI staff and activists were not given much holiday rest as some of us continued throughout the Christmas season to monitor the escalating diplomatic war against Israel, which culminated in a vote in the UN Security Council on December 29th.

The vote for Palestinian statehood was one last desperate attempt in 2014 to have the UN Security Council accept a completely one-sided Jordanian resolution which called for full withdrawal of Israel from the disputed territories within two years and the creation of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as (a shared) capital. In a surprising chain of events, one country - Nigeria - changed its mind at the last minute and as a result the resolution was rejected ? for now.

Whereas France and Luxembourg voted for the resolution (together with China, Russia, Jordan, Chad, Argentina and Chile), USA and Australia voted against and UK, Rwanda, Lithuania, South Korea and Nigeria abstained, leaving the resolution one vote short of adoption.

In the days leading up to the vote, ECI sent each member of the UN Security Council our position paper which clearly argued against adopting the resolution. We have also been in personal contact with a number of key members of the Security Council, arguing for a negotiated solution to the conflict instead of a unilateral resolution.

In a separate email message before Christmas, we also commented on the European Parliament vote which called for the creation of a Palestinian state but with no time-frame and with clear conditions for accepting statehood.

Inasmuch as the last weeks of 2014 have been demanding on us, it has also been a most rewarding time, realising that our efforts have not been in vain.

This strategic work has been made possible thanks to your generous support.

For more information on how you can support the work of ECI in 2015, please visit the ECI website.

ECI director received as "international guest of honour" at presidential Hanukkah reception in Albania

Tirana - ECI director for UN Affairs, Gregory Lafitte, was received by the President of Albania, Bujar Nishani, as a "guest of honour" at his annual Hanukkah reception in the presidential palace in Tirana on December 20th.  Lafitte also had a private meeting with the president where they discussed the importance of cultural diplomacy.  Whereas today Albania is a predominantly Muslim country and with a long atheistic past, its leadership has been supportive of Israel at the UN.

ECI first met with President Nishani during the 69th session of the UN General Assembly in New York in September, when he expressed his interest and support for the work of ECI and the Forum for Cultural Diplomacy.  A couple of months later, ECI received an official invitation to attend the Hanukkah reception in the presidential palace.

In his speech, the president emphasised the symbolic meaning of Hanukkah as the quest for freedom of religion and culture. The message has a universal appeal and resonates particularly well in Tirana as the Albanians had not been free for decades - either to speak in their own language or enjoy their own culture.

Albania is one of several countries which in recent years has chosen to highlight Hanukkah as an expression of support and friendship with Israel and the Jewish people.

First UN step towards recognition of Yom Kippur

New York - The Jewish holidays have deep and significant meanings for mankind.  For this reason, ECI - through its UN initiative Forum for Cultural Diplomacy - has been campaigning for UN recognition of Yom Kippur, because of its universal message of forgiveness and reconciliation.  Although this initiative has the support of some 60 nations (including the EU) it is opposed by the Arab Group - G77 - the Organisation of Islamic States and the Non-Aligned Movement.

In the last meeting of the year, the Fifth Committee of the UN General Assembly finally came to an agreement to recognise the significance of Yom Kippur and to avoid holding meetings on that day.

This is the first step in the direction of full recognition as a UN official holiday. The Forum for Cultural Diplomacy will continue to work for full recognition of Yom Kippur as a UN holiday in 2015.

Krakow conference to mark 70th Anniversary of liberation of Auschwitz

Krakow - For over ten years, European Coalition for Israel has marked  January 27th as a day to remember the victims of the Holocaust and learn from some of the darkest chapters of European history - the systematic killings of 6 million Jews.

At no other time has this commemoration been more important than this year, the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and the alarming rise of anti-Semitism in Europe.

ECI is involved, as one of three organisations, in a global campaign to raise awareness among Christians about our responsibility to stand beside the Jewish people and the State of Israel at this critical time. On January 27th ECI will host a special Concert of Commemoration in the synagogue of Krakow together with the local Jewish community. The conference will mark the beginning of a period of 100 days of prayer and fasting, concluding with a conference in Jerusalem on May 10th, which will mark the 70th Anniversary of the end of World War II. Please email info@ec4i.org for more information.

Commemorate Holocaust Sunday on January 25th with moving testimonies of Holocaust survivors

Brussels - Once again this year, ECI is teaming up with New Zealand artist and photographer Perry Trotter and his online exhibition "Shadows of the Shoah" to make available short video testimonies of Holocaust survivors. If you are a pastor, please consider showing one of these videos in your Sunday service on January 25th.

Some churches have used this opportunity to make an annual donation to ECI to help us educate people about the Holocaust, but more importantly to make sure it never happens again.

Thank you for your partnership and support!


March of Life in Poland on January 17th-18th, from Gliwice to Oswieicim. More information: http://www.marchoflife.org/v2/footer/polen/

ECI Educational Tour in Israel: May 10th- 17th, 2015
A unique opportunity to better understand the geo-political issues facing Israel today. The tour includes participation at the Global Prayer Call, a strategic and prophetic prayer conference in Jerusalem, focusing on the issue of the nations and Israel (May 10th?12th).
More information and a detailed programme will be communicated in the coming days and will be available on the ECI website.


ECI attends solidarity rally in Paris "Time for Europe and Israel to stand united against terrorism"

Paris, January 11th, 2015 - On Sunday an estimated 4 million people marched in various cities across France in support of the victims of last week´s terror attacks and in defense of freedom of speech and expression. More than 1,8 millions gathered in Paris where ECI European Director Perrine Dufoix took part in the solidarity rally.

After the march, ECI issued a statement calling for Europe and Israel to stand united against the threats of radical Islam. At the rally, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could be seen marching in the front row with senior European political leaders, among them, European Union leaders Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk,  as well as French President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

In a unique interview, published on Sunday in Atlantic Monthly, the French Prime Minister warned that ”France is no longer France if Jews have to leave the country in fear of their lives.” Last year over 7,000 Jews left the country due to security concerns following a spike in violent attacks against Jewish targets.

’It is unacceptable that Jews still have to live in fear in Europe in 2015’, ECI Director Tomas Sandell said in a statement. ’If Jews are no longer secure to make France their home, it is not only the French Republic which has failed, but the European project as a whole’, he said. ’There is no Europe without vibrant and thriving Jewish communities. The Jewish community is a vital part of European society”

In November, ECI issued a joint statement with the European Jewish Congress in solidarity with Christians and other religious minorities currently being slaughtered in Syria and Iraq by the same terrorist groups behind the Paris attacks -  ISIS and Al Qaeda. On Friday, it was ECI’s turn to express solidarity with the Jewish community in France after four Jews were killed in a terrorist attack in a kosher supermarket Paris, just  2 days after the horrific massacre at the French weekly satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

’What offence did the customers in the kosher shop pose to the perpetrators other than being Jews?’, Sandell asked. ’One generation ago, this same ideology led to the killing of six million Jews in Europe.’

In less than two weeks, the 70th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz will be commemorated around the world.

’It is high time to ensure that Europe is safe for Jewish communities. Europe and Israel face the same enemies of open and pluralistic societies. Terrorism needs to be condemned and fought with equal determination, regardless of whether the attacks take place in Paris or Jerusalem, in Africa or in the Middle East. Europe and Israel should stand united in the fight against radical Islam, as well as other forms of political extremism that threaten our democratic societies.’