As we write this Monthly Report, we can look back on a rather intensive period of work. ECI co-hosted the first ever Passover Seder at the UN headquarters in New York, hosted our Annual Policy Conference at the European Parliament in Brussels, recorded a new monthly European Report programme, and finally organised our Annual Prayer Summit, all in the same week although on two different continents!

This may very well have been one of the most work intensive weeks in our history, but also one of the most productive ones. Thank you for standing with us faithfully in prayer and for your financial giving as we continue to stand with Israel where it matters the most.


ECI co-hosts first ever United Nations Passover Seder as Israel escapes UN Security Council condemnation

New York – It is not every day that the Israeli Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Danny Danon, is seated at the place of honour at the UN headquarters in New York. But, on Monday 18th April, Ambassador Danon was in the seat of honour and surrounded by ambassadors from some 30 nations, ministers and senior UN officials, who had come specifically to honour Israel and learn from the Jewish holidays.

The day was co-hosted by ECI’s Forum for Cultural Diplomacy together with the Israeli Mission to the UN. The fact that Israel was expected to face a vicious resolution at the UN Security Council on the eve of the Passover day only added even more drama to the event.

Would the nations assembled around the Passover Seder table learn the lessons of the Passover story as they read from the biblical story of Haggadah and heard Rabbi Elie AbadieGregory Lafitte and Tomas Sandell explain the significance of what the Passover means for us as individuals and nations today? You will find the speech of Gregory Lafitte here.

Just as in the first Passover, 3500 years ago, also in this year we were reminded about the faithfulness of the God of Israel, as the resolution was finally rejected and never reached the UN Security Council. As organisers of the Passover Seder, we would like to believe that this historic event played its role in reminding the nations of the folly of coming against the Jewish people on the eve of Passover.

It also proved again how the nations, despite the negative reputation of the UN, are eager to learn from the Jewish holidays. Over the last three years, ECI has organized several events to mark the Jewish holidays and each time ambassadors and UN officials have been keen to attend.

As the UN member states are reminded about their stated goal to “beat their swords into ploughshares” (Isaiah 2:4), we are pleased to see how they are increasingly also starting to “learn from the ways of the God of Jacob” (Isaiah 2:3), as it states in the Bible.

Just like the UN recognition of Yom Kippur as an official holiday showed us last year, our work at the UN is not in vain and it bears much fruit. Please consider partnering with us financially so that we can continue this important work by marking your gift to “ECI’s UN work”.  You can find information about financial giving to ECI here.

ECI Annual Policy Conference concludes that Israeli innovations lead to peace and prosperity whilst BDS breeds anti-Semitism

Brussels – ECI returned from New York to Brussels only two days after having co-hosted the first ever Passover Seder in order to host its 13th Annual Policy Conference in the European Parliament. By engaging with EU-policy makers year after year, ECI has been able to have a positive influence in the policies of the European Union.

After having argued for months about the inconsistency of EU’s discriminatory policies towards Israeli goods and services from the disputed territories, the EU leaders have finally understood that the BDS movement is in fact breeding anti-Semitism. At the ECI Conference, European Commission Special Coordinator against Anti-Semitism, Katharina von Schnurbein, noted that BDS events at college campuses are followed by a rise in anti-Semitism. She expressed her concern over the fact that Jewish students are once again targeted on college campuses for their affiliation to the state of Israel.

Jan Sturesson, from the World Economic Forum and President of the International Christian Chamber of Commerce, pointed out that, while BDS breeds anti-Semitism, Israeli innovations promote peace and prosperity both for Israelis and Palestinians alike. In his presentation, he explained how Israeli companies are one of the leading innovators in the world today and encouraged the EU to learn from Israel’s economy.  His point was supported by Members of the European Parliament from a broad political spectrum, from Peter Niedermueller from the Socialist S&D group, to Hannu Takkula from the Liberal ALDE group, to Bas Belder from the Conservative ECR group. The broad support for Israeli innovation and for ways in which we could learn from Israel in the aftermath of the terror attacks in Paris and Brussels illustrates a unique window of opportunity to present the case for Israel in Europe.  You can read a new Times of Israel Op-Ed article by Tomas Sandell on the subject here.

The ECI Annual Conference was co-hosted by MEP Hannu Takkula and was moderated by ECI’s Founding Director Tomas Sandell.


ECI Legal Counsel Andrew Tucker defines new guidelines for EU-Israeli cooperation in a new global environment

Brussels – ECI Legal Counsel Andrew Tucker delivered a much appreciated speech at the Annual Policy Conference in the European Parliament, where he pointed out the values and principles of EU-Israeli relations, which should include consistency, transparency, respect for rule of law and integrity.

In his speech, he suggested five ways in which Europe can do more to demonstrate its capacity to show leadership and moral clarity in relation to the Israeli-Arab conflict.

1.    First, Europe needs to expose the BDS movement for what it is – an illegal assault on the fundamental right of the Jewish people to self-determination. A right acknowledged by all European nations, and in respect of which, Europe has entered binding commitments.

2.    Secondly, Europe should support Israel’s right as a sovereign state to use force to counter terrorism which threatens the security of its citizens.

3.    Thirdly, Europe should help the Palestinian refugees by winding down the UNRWA and insist that the Arab States, which caused the 1948 and 1967 wars and created the Arab refugees, should absorb those refugees today.

4.    Fourthly, Europe should put conditions on EU funding of the Palestinian Authority based on:

a.    Compliance with the Oslo Accords
b.    Compliance with human rights in its territories
c.    Cooperation between Israelis and Arabs in Areas B and C.

5.    Finally, European nations should reject Palestinian demands for recognition of Palestine as a state, and support Israel’s right to negotiate a peace agreement with its neighbours, as long as the Palestinians do not reform their own society. This means, for example, rejecting the proposed UN Security Council resolution which would entail agreement with Palestinian claims to sovereignty over East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

You can read the full transcript of Andrew Tucker’s speech here.


Upcoming ECI Conferences

International Symposium on the Middle East Peace Process in a Changing World
Promoting peace, justice and security on the basis of international law

Tuesday 7th June, 2016
10.00 to 16.00 at The Hague, Netherlands

Poster with details of The Hague Symposium

Registration and more information: info@ec4i.org



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