ECI congratulates Israel on democratic elections – PM Netanyahu thanks ECI for steadfast support

Brussels - This month we want to begin by congratulating the Israeli people on their recent parliamentary elections. Free and open elections are what distinguish Israel from all its neighbours in the Middle East. After a massive international campaign against the re-election of Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli electorate defied world opinion and gave the two-term Prime Minister a record-breaking third term by making his Likud party the largest party in the new Knesset.

As a matter of policy, ECI never interferes in Israeli elections, but will support and work with any democratically elected government. We are however extremely concerned about the international campaign to topple Netanyahu.
In the coming months and years we will focus our attention on the fact that many Western governments, including the EU, are funding international NGOs which have a clear anti-Israeli agenda.

Their campaign does not stop there. After the elections we can expect more diplomatic pressure from Brussels and Washington. In Brussels, there are already new anti-Israeli measures prepared, ready to be activated at any moment. In Washington, President Obama has made it clear that he may no longer veto a Palestinian statehood bid, if and when it is presented in the UN Security Council in New York.

Add the nuclear agreement with Iran to the equation and the situation for Israel is anything but safe and secure. This is a time when Israel needs our support more than ever.

In a letter to ECI, incoming Prime Minister Netanyahu expressed his appreciation for “the steadfast friendship and support.”  He concluded by saying that he “looks forward to continuing to work together with you (ECI) and to promote our shared goal of a safe and strong Israel and an enhanced Israeli-European alliance.”

We are deeply honoured by the official recognition of the Prime Minister.  Please would you renew your commitment to Israel this month by financially enabling us to stand firmly alongside Israel, as diplomatic pressure grows stronger. You will find details on how to support us here.

UN diplomats show growing support for Israel
Passover message unites and inspires nations at ECI luncheon in New York

New York - In our efforts to present the many contributions of the Jewish people to the international community, ECI and the Forum for Cultural Diplomacy hosted a Passover luncheon in the UN headquarters in New York.

With a full house in one of the private dining rooms in the UN headquarters in New York, diplomats from 35 UN missions and other VIP guests came to listen to the story of Passover and its universal message of freedom from slavery.

As our goal is to mobilise and illustrate Gentile appreciation for Israel and the Jewish people, we were pleased to have a personal written message from the President of Albania, H.E Bujar Nishani, who in his remarks (conveyed by Permanent Representative of Albania to the UN, Ambassador Felix Hoxha) expressed his appreciation of the Jewish Passover and explained what “breaking away from slavery” meant for his own country. President Nishani is unique in that he is a president in a predominantly Muslim country but openly shows his appreciation for Israel and Jewish culture in various ways, including having organised his own Hanukkah festivities.

Another example ofinternational appreciation of the Jewish culture and the State of Israel was expressed by former Permanent Representative of Zambia to the UN, Ambassador Isaiah K. Chabala, who shared how Israel and the story of Passover had inspired many nations in Africa to seek their own independence and sovereignty.  
Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee, David Harris, reminded the audience that Moses was also the inspiration for the US civil rights leader, Martin Luther King

Israeli Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Ron Prosor, summed it up well. With a twinkle in his eye, he said: “ECI has now seen a greater miracle than Moses when he parted the Red Sea by having a full house attending an event in honour of a Jewish holiday.”

Many others expressed their surprise at having so many nations represented by their ambassadors given that the popular perception is that Israel is completely isolated at the UN. The recent luncheon illustrates how cultural diplomacy - meaning that we focus on soft issues that unite us - can help Israel break the isolation at the UN. Once nations start to look away from the current conflict and daily demonisation of Israel, they will realise that Israel is not a curse, but truly a “light to the nations.”  

The ECI delegation consisted of Tomas SandellGregory LafitteJudy Littler MannersRudolf and Elizabeth Geigy and Claudia Kiesinger.

ECI outreach and activities in Europe 

Each month ECI have meetings in Brussels and various other parts of Europe to meet with political leaders as well as our friends and supporters. Many of these meetings take place “off the record.” Other meetings are public and are reported in our monthly updates. Besides interacting with political leaders we also meet with our support base.
ECI is only as strong as its constituency, the Christian grassroots in Europe. Here is an overview of some our other activities this month:

ECI addresses European Pentecostal leaders

Amsterdam - In the first week of March, ECI was invited to speak at the annual conference of one our strategic partners, the Pentecostal European Fellowship (PEF), representing some 6 million believers in Europe. In his speech Tomas pointed out that, whereas Christians in Europe in the past have failed the Jewish people, they now have a new opportunity to stand courageously by their side as the Jews face increased anti-Semitism in Europe.

The message in Amsterdam was well-received among the Pentecostal leaders who will meet for a large conference in Jerusalem later this spring

At our last annual conference in November, ECI brought together PEF and European Jewish Congress in order to hand an open letter to the new leadership of the EU in support of persecuted Christians in the Middle East and those Jews who are facing anti-Semitism in Europe. This is just one example on how we can work together to make our voices heard in Brussels.

The ECI delegation consisted of Perrine Dufoix, Tomas Sandell and Faith Collins.

ECI on solidarity mission to Paris 

Paris - In March, ECI Director Tomas Sandell visited Paris where he and Paris-based director Perrine Dufoix met with Robert Ejnes, the new CEO of CRIF, the umbrella organisation for French Jewry, as well as representatives of the Israeli Embassy in Paris, to express our solidarity with regard to recent atrocities in Paris.

France is the host country of the largest community of Jews in Europe but also with the largest Muslim community. It is also the country in Europe which has seen a sharp rise in anti-Semitism. The embassy confirmed that a growing number of Jews are considering leaving France after the recent atrocities.

However they also recognise growing support among Christians in France. In February, a delegation of some 500 French Christians visited Israel to show support for the Jewish state. Both the Jewish community and the Israeli Embassy thanked ECI for all its work to support Jews in Europe and the State of Israel and expressed a genuine interest to work more closely together.

ECI helps train activists in London

London - Through partnerships and networking we are able to work more effectively in support of Israel. ECI believes in the sharing of resources and cooperation amongst its partner organisations, but also with others who share our objectives. (The Global Prayer Call is a good example of a joint initiative of Christians for Israel, ECI and Ebenezer Emergency Fund.) In March, ECI Legal Counsel, Andrew Tucker, spoke at the large “We believe in Israel” training conference in London.

In his speech on coalition building for Israel, he emphasised that this is nothing new: as early as 1920, nations formed a coalition for the Jewish people. The San Remo Resolution, which will mark its 95th anniversary on April 25th, is one such founding coalition of nations who, based on international law, made a covenant to give the Jewish people a national home in Palestine. The resolution was later adopted by the League of Nations.  He also mentioned the existence of anti-Israeli coalitions, which have been formed throughout history, to prevent Jews from living in their ancestral homeland.

His concluding remarks are well worth quoting as a conclusion to our Monthly Report for April 2015.

-  A paradigm shift is required: it is time to celebrate, not just tolerate, the Jewish people!
-  A coalition of nations FOR Israel is realistic and achievable
- Isaiah was not mistaken ? peace will one day go out from Jerusalem.