ECI Annual Policy Conference provides solid defence for united Jerusalem despite hostile EU environment

Brussels - The European Coalition for Israel provided a solid defence for a united Jerusalem at the Annual Policy Conference in the European Parliament in Brussels on Thursday March 30th. The theme of this year’s conference was “Jerusalem – is Europe supporting or undermining peace in the Holy City?”

Despite consistent EU support for a re-dividing of Jerusalem and the creation of an Islamic Palestinian state with the Old City of Jerusalem as its capital, ECI firmly rejected any such measures in its policy conference.

In an open letter which was presented to the Head of the Middle East Unit of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Raul Fuentes Milani, ECI explained why only a united Jerusalem can preserve peace in the Holy City and guarantee the freedom of worship for all religions. Keynote speaker Dr. Dore Gold from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs told the audience that “the EU will have to choose between two schools of thought: one that protects holy sites and another one that seeks to destroy them.” In his speech he gave concrete evidence from recent years of what jihadists are capable of doing and have done in the name of radical Islam. In 2001 the Taliban blew up a 2000-year old Buddha statute in Afghanistan and in 2004 Palestinian militants occupied and desecrated the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Due to an intervention by the EU, the terrorists were later given exile in Europe and in Gaza.

The political highlight of the conference was a personal message from UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova in which she clarified her personal stance on the sensitive issue of Jerusalem by saying: “to deny, conceal or erase any of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim tradition undermines the integrity of the city of Jerusalem and runs counter to the reasons that justify its inscription in the UNESCO World Heritage list."

The message from the head of UNESCO has been widely circulated in the international press and came after ECI had extended a personal invitation to her to address the policy conference. Although being unavailable to attend in person she insisted that UNESCO would be represented at the highest possible level and sent her Deputy Director Genc Seiti to deliver her statement.

In a personal message to ECI, Ms. Bokova expressed her sincere appreciation for the constructive role that ECI has played in defending the historical truths about Jerusalem while at the same time being able to differentiate between the vote of the member states in the passing of anti-Israeli resolutions and the clear stance of the Director-General in distancing herself from these same resolutions.

For a more detailed report on the policy conference please read the press release here.

ECI Open Letter receives endorsement from Mayor of Jerusalem

Jerusalem – The ECI Open Letter for a united Jerusalem which was first presented in the European Parliament at the Annual Policy Conference on March 30th has received the full endorsement from the Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat.

Two weeks prior to the conference the Mayor received ECI Founding DirectorTomas Sandell in his office in Jerusalem where he expressed his gratitude for all the ECI work in support for a united Jerusalem throughout the years. While not being able to participate in the annual conference in person, he sent an official video message which was shown during the conference.

The open letter will be circulated among political and spiritual leaders ahead of the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem and will then be officially presented to the Mayor of Jerusalem.

Already in 2011 ECI collected over 60,000 hand written signatures, among them many prominent politicians, in support for a united Jerusalem, at the time when the PLO was threatening to make a unilateral declaration of statehood at the UN.

There are several ECI initiatives planned for the coming months in support for a united Jerusalem, as anti-Israel groups are planning large demonstrations and protests against what they call “50 years of occupation”. In Dublin, Ireland, the Palestinian flag will fly at the City Hall for one whole month, starting on May 15th, as a protest against the “occupation”.


ECI Member Organization received by the President of Israel

Jerusalem – The Netherlands based “Christians for Israel International” was warmly received by the President of the State of Israel,Reuven Rivlin, during their annual conference which was held in Jerusalem in the middle of March. At the meeting, which took place in the official residence of the President, he spoke once again about how his family has lived in Jerusalem since 1809, thus refuting the claim that Jews have no history in Jerusalem. In his short remarks he said that he believes the Messiah will one day return to Jerusalem. He thanked Christians for Israel International for their work in helping Jews make aliyah to Israel and for their support for a united Jerusalem.

Their conference concluded with a reception where, among others, Deputy MinisterMichael Oren spoke on behalf of the government of Israel. In his speech Dr. Oren reminded the audience of the central role of Christians in Europe and the USA in the birthing of the Jewish state.

Christians for Israel International is one of the founding members of European Coalition for Israel. Its President, Willem Glashouwer, was the first elected chairman of ECI, and today the Executive Director of Christians for Israel International, Andrew Tucker, serves as the Legal Counsel of ECI.


ECI Founding Director speaks at Oslo Symposium ahead of Norwegian elections

Oslo – ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell was one of the keynote speakers at the Oslo Symposium, just a few months ahead of the parliamentary elections in Norway. The Oslo Symposium brings together the Christian electorate to hear leading Norwegian politicians each present their platform for the upcoming elections and has traditionally included a panel on Israel, which continues to be a central issue in the Christian vote in Norway.

Sandell had the honour to share on the panel with the Israeli Ambassador to Norway,Raphael SchutzMosab Hassan Yousef (alias: “Son of Hamas”), and Juergen Buehler, the President of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ). They all presented the case for Israel as the only stable democracy in a region of increasing chaos and a country which deserves the full support of the Norwegian government. Since the last election when a centre-right coalition took power, Norway has rejected its previous anti-Israel policy and has become a true friend of Israel. However, civil society in Norway is still considered to be one of the strongest bastions for the BDS movement, and if the government changes in September this could pose a new threat to Israel’s security. ECI wishes to congratulate the organisers, Kristenfolket, Norge i Dag and ICEJ Norway, for an interesting and well-attended conference.



The past month has seen a dramatic geo-political shift with the installation of a new US President in the White House and a radical change in the current world order. Last month also marked a serious diplomatic onslaught against Israel before the change of power in the White House - but the Jewish state survived!
As an organisation we strive to avoid any involvement in party politics and to not take sides but rather try to make the best out of every situation. Over the last 15 years we have worked with a wide range of governments in Israel, Europe and the United Nations and will remain committed to these principles also in the future.


Israel survives diplomatic onslaught in Paris

Paris – Israel has survived a final diplomatic onslaught from the outgoingObama administration after the US Government refused to use its veto power at the UN Security Council on December 23rd, one day before Christmas Eve, thus causing serious damage to Israel in the international arena.
With less than one month to go after the disastrous United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2334, the international community, led by the outgoing US Administration, France and Sweden, planned a final attempt to launch a new UNSC resolution to determine the parameters for a two state solution just days before the new US Administration was to be sworn in on January 20th. If the resolution had been passed it would have brought a unilateral declaration of an Islamic Palestinian state one step closer with East Jerusalem as its capital.

In order to mobilize international support for this plan, the government of France announced a Peace Conference in Paris on Sunday, January 15th, followed by a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday January 16th which was then to culminate in a UNSC resolution on Tuesday January 17th, three days before the change of guard in the White House.
That was the plan. But thanks to a major mobilization of friends of Israel from around the world these plans failed and Israel survived the plot. In a few brief paragraphs we want to give an account of what happened and how you, as an ECI activist, made a difference.


From defeat to victory in 30 days – this is what happened

Brussels – The passing of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 on December 23rd marked a serious blow to the State of Israel as its government struggled to stand against the growing international pressure to bow down to the demands of a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state without negotiations. For ECI the resolution meant that the Christmas holiday would be filled with work and preparations for the critical time window of less than 30 days before the swearing in of a new US Administration on January 20th which had promised to stand by Israel.

On January 3rd ECI sent out a prayer request to our prayer network which was quickly picked up by renowned international Christian prayer ministries and spread around the world. This way we could help inform the worldwide body of believers about the Paris Peace Conference and the concrete threats which Israel was facing. Through several video reports on Facebook we were able to keep all those interested fully updated on the developments.


ECI “on the prayer barricades” in Paris, Brussels and Stockholm

Paris/Brussels - The role of ECI during these critical 30 days was to inform and mobilize friends of Israel throughout the world as well as to reach out to the participants of the Paris Peace Conference. With the help of our legal counsel Andrew Tucker, ECI compiledan open letter which was sent to all 15 members of the UN Security Council and the EU ambassadors of the 28 EU member states.

As information about the conference in Paris was scarce, the information which ECI was able to provide was well received. In locations as far away as the Pacific Islands, the Baltic States, Africa and Latin America, senior pastors were calling their congregants to fast and pray based on the updates from ECI.

ECI also managed to have teams on site in Paris and Stockholm on the days of the important meetings. Led byGregory Lafitte and Ruth Isaac, many travelled to Paris to show their support for Israel on Sunday, January 15th, while both Tomas Sandell as the keynote speaker and Tor G Gull had been invited to a solidarity meeting in the national parliament in Stockholm on Tuesday, January 17th. This was the same day as the Security Council met in New York, chaired by the Swedish Government. By its presence in these key locations, ECI demonstrated that Israel is not alone.

The Paris Peace Conference failed in its objective as the British and the Australian Governments refused to sign the final declaration. One BBC reporter described the mood as “full chaos” as the participants scrambled to save the conference. One day later, the British Government again blocked a resolution by EU foreign ministers to support the conclusion of the Paris conference and this action was backed up by several countries from Central and Eastern Europe. Instead of galvanizing support for a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state, the summit conference revealed a deep divide in the international community as a new coalition of nations which supported Israel emerged. As a consequence, no UNSC resolution was passed on Tuesday, January 17th, as the instigators of the plot had to acknowledge that it was “game over” for now.

Thank you to all those who participated in this campaign and helped in one way or another. The events of last month clearly illustrate the power of prayer, education and advocacy as we keep ourselves informed and act with a united approach.

We did emphasize the need to pray until a new president is installed in the White House, but this does not mean that the battle ends here. On the contrary, the battle may even intensify in the coming years but the dynamic will change. Our prayer strategy does not imply a political endorsement of the new US President, but it is an encouragement to continue to follow the godly instruction in 1 Timothy 2:1-4  and to pray for those in authority.


Meanwhile in Brussels, New York and Riga

European Parliament appoints a friend of Israel as its new President

Brussels – The European Parliament has appointed Italian MEP, Antonio Tajani as the new President of the European Parliament. Tajani is a long standing friend of Israel and a defender of persecuted Christians in the Middle East. ECI has met with Tajani on several occasions, most recently one week before the election to express our support. Last year he gladly accepted our “wear-a-kippah” challenge to express solidarity for the Jewish communities in Europe amidst growing anti-Semitism. His term is for 2½ years.


ECI attends Holocaust memorial events at the EU and UN

Brussels/New York – ECI has attended the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day events in Brussels and New York which were hosted this year by the newly appointed EP President Antonio Tajani and the new UN Secretary-General António Guterres respectively. In Brussels Tomas Sandell and Ruth Isaac were present when Tajani spoke about the need to strengthen Judeo-Christian values in order to fight anti-Semitism. In New York Gregory Lafitte and Rudolf Geigy were in the audience when Guterres spoke about the loss to communities which exclude Jews. He mentioned his native Portugal which experienced an economic downward spiral following the expulsion of the Jews to the Netherlands in the 1500’s while the new host country prospered. In Helsinki, ECI Chairman Tor G Gull spoke at an inter-faith Holocaust memorial event in the Andreas Church together with the leader of the local Jewish community Ariel Nadbornik.


ECI co-hosted a new conference in the European Parliament in Brussels

Brussels – ECI has helped to co-organize a new conference to fight BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions).The conference, hosted by EIPA (Europe Israel Public Affairs) and MEP Lars Adaktusson, brought together Jewish activists from many European nations and, with the help of the ECI Brussels Representative Ruth Isaac, Christians activists were also mobilized. Parallel to this conference, proponents of the BDS movement organized their own seminar in the European Parliament. While the ECI seminar was promoting cooperation and co-existence, the BDS seminar was inciting the continuation of boycott activity. The ECI conference was open for speakers from both sides of the argument, but no critical voices or journalists were welcome at the BDS conference.


ECI speaks at Aglow Convention and a church service in Riga

Riga - ECI consists of individuals, churches and movements that wish to stand with Israel through prayer, education and advocacy. One such movement is the women´s ministry Aglow, which mobilizes millions of women all over the world for spiritual renewal and prayer for Israel. During the last weekend of January, Tomas Sandell was invited to speak at their annual European Convention which was held in Riga, Latvia. Vice-Chairman Bedros Nassanian with his wife Rebekah contributed as well. The Aglow leaders reaffirmed their commitment to stand with Israel and ECI.

On Sunday Tomas was invited to speak at the New Generation Church in Riga. For many weeks the church had been praying fervently for the Paris Peace Conference and was pleased to hear a first-hand report on how the plot had been thwarted. The New Generation Church is one of many churches who are keen to strengthen their partnership with ECI and the church leadership is planning to attend the next ECI Policy Conference in Brussels.


Upcoming events

30th March 2017 – ECI Annual Policy Conference in the European Parliament, followed by an ECI Briefing Seminar on 31st March.

31st March – 2nd April 2017 – ECI European Prayer Summit in Brussels.

Please click here for more information.

Please note that space is limited, so we ask you to contact us for registration as soon as possible.



Personal Note

I want to thank all of you who contributed so generously to our end-of-year fundraising campaign. We fell a little short of our goal, but we trust that as the year goes on, additional resources will be raised to cover the shortfall. Thank you for your partnership, prayers and support.

Is the upcoming “Peace” conference in Paris another Evian moment?

In various ECI conferences over the years we have spoken about the infamous Evian conference of July 1938 when the international community failed to help the Jewish refugees who wanted to leave Nazi Germany. We have noted the sad fact that the Christian community did nothing to help. As the nations showed no interest in helping the Jews, Hitler saw this as a green light to move forward with his own plans for the Jewish people. The rest is history.

Could it be that the upcoming “Peace conference” in Paris on Sunday 15th January is another Evian moment? 70 nations are expected to meet in Paris to try to reach an agreement on the parameters of a so-called two-state solution, which would include expelling Jews from their ancestral homeland in East Jerusalem (which is the Old City), Judea and Samaria. What will the Christians do this time?

ECI was founded in 2003 to give Christians a platform to speak up in support for Israel when the nations are plotting to uproot the Jews from their ancestral homeland and isolate and demonize them in the international community. Through prayer, education and advocacy we are raising a voice which can be heard and understood in all spheres of society, in the corridors of power in international capitals as well as on the streets of Europe.

Thank you for standing with us in these next weeks and throughout 2017 as the battle against Israel heats up again. With your help, through prayer, activism and financial support, we can help prevent another Evian experience, in showing that the Jewish people are no longer alone.
For more information on what you can do during these next days please read more here.

The UN gangs up against Israel – in the spirit of 1975

New York – During a tumultuous Christmas week at the UN Security Council in New York, the outgoing US President Barack Obama chose not to use the US veto against a UNSC resolution which is calling all disputed territories in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria “illegal”, thus providing a further argument to empower the international BDS movement for further boycotts and demonization of the Jewish state.

This was the first time in his 8-year presidential term that the president chose not to use the US veto against an anti-Israel resolution, and it came only one day before Christmas and Hanukkah and less than one month before president-elect Donald Trump is sworn in as the new President.

ECI has been warning about such a move for months but thought the immediate danger was over when the Egyptian government had agreed to withdraw their UNSC resolution just one day prior.

The UNSC Resolution 2334 builds the basis for the planned Peace conference in Paris on 15th January which would use the resolution as a blueprint for establishing the parameters for a two-state solution, declaring all disputed territories illegal and the Old City of Jerusalem as the capital of a new Islamic Palestinian state.

The tone and the spirit of the new resolution was reaffirmed in the last speech by US Secretary of State John Kerry where he blamed all the shortcomings in the peace process on the current Israeli government and stated that, ”Israel cannot be democratic and Jewish at the same time.” His statement clearly violates international law in that it contradicts both the Mandate for Palestine and the UN Partition Plan which both speak explicitly about a Jewish state.

It also alludes to the 1975 resolution which called Zionism, the Jewish national movement for self-determination, a form of racism. In just a few weeks the international community has taken a huge step backwards towards a diplomatic abyss, in that it has given more ammunition to the anti-Zionists of today and at the same time made peace less likely in the region.

In 1975 the Christian community remained silent when Israel was demonized at the UN. This time we need to speak up. You can read an open letter that ECI will send out to the 15 members of the UN Security Council here. ECI will also participate in a solidarity rally in Paris on the day of the Peace conference and organize prayer vigils in different parts of Europe. You can read more information here.
In the last two articles, we will share some practical examples of how we make a difference today.

ECI brings in a full house to the European Parliament in support for Israel

Brussels – While the international community is coming out aggressively against Israel at the UN, ECI has managed to drum up unprecedented support for the Jewish state in the European Parliament in Brussels.

In the first week of December, ECI co-hosted a conference on EU-Israeli cooperation, together with European Christian Political Movement, to express support for the Jewish state. In one of the largest pro-Israel conferences in the European Parliament ever, ECI activists came to show their support for Israel.

In his intervention, ECI director Tomas Sandell reminded the audience of the words of the late Elie Wiesel when in 2004 he asked why it was only Jews who defended Jews against anti-Semitism. Where are all the others?, he asked.
"12 years later we want to answer that question by saying, look around you, we are here," Sandell said.

When the Deputy Speaker of the Israeli Knesset, Hilik Bar looked around the conference hall, he said,
"They tell us that we have no friends in Europe. But when I look around I see a full conference hall of enthusiastic friends of Israel. Thank you for your support."

A big thank you to our Brussels coordinator Ruth Isaac who was the primus motor in mobilizing new friends of Israel to the conference in the European Parliament.

The next annual conference will take place on Thursday 30th March 2017 in Brussels. More information will be sent out soon.
But already on Monday 23rd January you can participate in a new conference against BDS that ECI is co-organizing. Please read more information here.

Picture: Speakers of the December conference. Among them Members of Parliament and the Deputy Speaker of the Israeli Knesset (third from the right).


African delegation apologizes for 1975 UN resolution

Brussels – In an unprecedented move, in time for the 25th anniversary of the revocation of the UNGA Resolution 3379, a government-mandated delegation from an African country travelled all the way to Brussels to meet with the leadership of ECI to express their regret for the role their country played in initiating the resolution in 1975, and to seek counsel as to how their government can repair the damage it caused. The visit illustrates that whilst the international community as a whole may be turning against Israel, there are also many individual nations that are seeking to draw closer to Israel in recognizing the legal and historical rights of the Jewish people to their own homeland.

In recent weeks, the new British Prime Minister Theresa May has rebuked US Secretary of State John Kerry for his one-sided speech (whilst still voting for the Resolution 2334 in the UNSC) and the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has affirmed that they would have voted against the resolution if they had been part of the Security Council. These are just a few examples of nations who are willing to stand on the side of Israel as long as they have strong legal arguments to justify their support.

This is also one of the goals of the work of ECI; to help empower those governments and decision makers that want to keep an open mind and wish to support the rights of the Jewish people to their ancestral homeland. Needless to say, this work has never been more important. Thank you making this work possible through your prayer, activism and financial support.


Upcoming events

15th January 2017 – Paris Peace Conference. ECI co-organized solidarity rally for Israel.

23rd January 2017 – Anti-BDS conference in the European Parliament, Brussels.

30th March 2017 – ECI Annual Policy Conference in the European Parliament.

31st March – 2nd April 2017 – ECI European Prayer Summit in Brussels.

More information on the March events coming soon.