Copenhagen, April 20th 2018 – The European Coalition for Israel marked the 70th anniversary of the rebirth of the State of Israel at events in Copenhagen and Helsinki. In Copenhagen ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell and ECI Legal Counsel Andrew Tucker spoke at a symposium inside the national parliament where they called upon the European governments to properly recognize and celebrate the miracle of the modern State of Israel. In his speech Sandell noted that “in some parts of Europe there is apparently a greater interest in commemorating dead Jews, as in the annual Holocaust memorial events, than actually celebrating the Jews who survived the Nazi Holocaust and went on to rebuild the Jewish state in their ancestral homeland”.
In his speech Andrew Tucker explained how the rights of the Jewish people to reconstitute their own state in their ancestral homeland of Israel was first recognized under international law at the peace conference in San Remo, Italy, in 1920 by the great powers of the day, who represented the Supreme Council of the Principal Allied Powers. The resolution was incorporated in the Mandate for Palestine in 1922. If this pledge to help the Jewish people to re-create their own state had materialized sooner, in 1938 instead of 1948, millions of Jews would have been able to survive the Holocaust.
“These are facts that the international community has to keep in mind as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Jewish state. The nations should celebrate, and not criticize, the fact that today the Jewish state has a strong army which is capable of defending its people in contrast to the 1940´s when there where was no-one to protect the persecuted Jews. As the nuclear deal with Iran is being revisited in the coming weeks, the EU should be clear that it cannot support an Iranian regime which continues to threaten Israel with annihilation,” Tucker concluded.
The conference was opened with remarks by members of the Danish parliament, Rasmus Jarlov and Sören Gade, who acknowledged their deep appreciation for the Jewish community in their own country and the State of Israel. Former Israeli diplomat Shai Attias gave a personal testimony of his experience of living in Israel in stating that “although I am only 37 years old I have already fought in four wars. Celebrating Israel’s Independence Day brings back the sad memories of all my friends that I have lost in these wars”.
The symposium in Copenhagen was part of a working visit to the Danish capital which also included meetings at the Foreign Ministry as well as a public meeting in the evening. The festivities continue in Helsinki today on Friday at the official Israel Independence Day reception hosted by the Ambassador of Israel to Finland, H.E. Dov Segev-Steinberg, where ECI Chairman Tor G. Gull, Katariina Salmi and Tomas Sandell are in attendance.
Given the time window of more than three weeks between the Israeli Independence Day in the Hebrew calendar, which this year falls on the 19th April, and the 14th May, the date of Israel’s independence in the Gregorian calendar, ECI will host, co-host and attend multiple anniversary events in the coming weeks.
Sandell called upon the European government leaders to do the same.
“A culture which does not acknowledge and celebrate the Jewish contributions to our societies and the miracle of the re-birth of Israel can easily fall victim to anti-Semitism. The antidote to anti-Semitism is not simply to tolerate the Jewish communities and the Jewish state but to learn to acknowledge, appreciate and celebrate their rich contributions to the international community. Seventy years after the Jewish people in Europe were on the brink of extinction, they have risen out of the ashes of the Holocaust to reconstitute and rebuild their own state, a vibrant and open democracy.”
On Thursday EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini shared her message to the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, in a tweet where she wished the people of Israel peace, happiness and prosperity for the decades ahead.