Washington D.C. February 1st, 2017 – The European Coalition for Israel has called on the new US Administration to remain fully committed to the international efforts to combat anti-Semitism and Islamic extremism and to help persecuted religious minorities in Europe and the Middle East.
In a seminar on Capitol Hill on Monday afternoon, ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell spoke about the challenges facing Jewish communities in Europe 72 years after the liberation of Auschwitz. After explaining the threats from neo-fascism, left wing extremism and radical Islam, he then added what he called “sophisticated anti-Semitism”.
“This is a form of anti-Semitism which hides behind the cover of consideration for human rights”, he said. “Its conclusions are that traditional Jewish life is incompatible with human rights conventions, as the circumcision of male infants violates the rights of children and the slaughter practices for kosher food violate animal rights.”
“If these opinions are made into law, it would mean the end of Jewish life in Europe”, he warned.
“These challenges need to be countered by sound legislation, better education and new security measures”, he said, emphasizing the role of working, but non-binding, definitions on anti-Semitism which are drafted in international forums such as the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
“In order to protect the rights of the Jewish communities in Europe, and persecuted Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East, Europe needs a strong partnership with the new US Administration”, he said.
The message of Sandell was echoed in the second speech from the panel by MEP Lars Adaktusson who spoke about his parliamentary work to protect vulnerable Christian and other religious minorities in the Middle East in convincing the European Parliament to name the atrocities committed against these minorities as “genocide” in a parliamentary resolution.
“Only by calling things by their proper name we can expect the international community, including the UN Security Council, to take action”, he said.
The work of Adaktusson in the European Parliament has been closely monitored by the US Congress which, only a few months after the passing of the resolution in the European Parliament in February 2016, adopted a similar resolution. In his speech Adaktusson praised the cooperation with US lawmakers and State Department officials in building a united front against those responsible for the genocide against Christians in the Middle East.
Conference host, Sarah Stern from EMET (Endowment for Middle East Truth) thanked the two speakers for raising these vital issues as they need a coherent approach from both Europe and the United States.
This was the first time that ECI has taken part in a seminar in the US Congress following the founding of its new sister organization “American Friends of ECI” last year. The objective of the US based organisation is to build and strengthen a transatlantic partnership in support of Israel and the Jewish communities worldwide – as well as for persecuted Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East.
On Thursday, a delegation from ECI consisting of Gregory Lafitte, Tomas Sandell and Faith Collins Childress will attend the National Prayer Breakfast where newly elected US President Donald Trump will be the keynote speaker. Later in the day ECI will host another seminar on the issue of anti-Semitism in Europe.