Washington D.C., March 8th, 2018 – European Coalition for Israel has marked its 15th anniversary with a working visit to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference in Washington D.C. from 4-6 March, where founding director Tomas Sandell was invited to speak about global Christian support for the State of Israel.
In the panel discussion, he explained how the Coalition was founded 15 years ago on the Jewish holiday of Purim to help defend the Jewish state from both rising antisemitism in Europe and new existential threats from Iran and its proxies in the Middle East.
“The uniqueness of ECI is that we do not represent the State of Israel, we are not a Jewish organisation and do not have our base in the US, but we are simply a grass-roots European organisation motivated by our faith and moral convictions. As Europeans, we have a moral responsibility to prevent history from repeating itself, and this is why we have to stand firm against the rise of antisemitism in all its different forms. This includes anti-Zionism, which denies the Jewish people their right to self-determination by calling for boycotts, divestments and sanctions.”
In his intervention, he explained how the mandate to advocate for Israel has grown over the years to also include the United Nations in New York, thus becoming a significant global voice for Israel, but with its roots and base deeply embedded in Europe. He thanked the organisers, AIPAC, for the invitation by saying that there could be no better place to celebrate this anniversary than at the largest pro-Israel conference in the world. An official ECI celebration will take place in Brussels later in the year.
Co-panelist Reverend Mojmir Kallus from the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) explained that while pro-Israel advocacy was mainly a first-world phenomenon in 1980 when their organisation was founded, it is today growing in strength in the third world. Sandell added that this trend can also be seen at the UN General Assembly, where Israel has a growing support outside of the Western world.
The AIPAC policy conference brought together more than 18,000 participants from the United States and around the world, as well as many prominent speakers, ranging from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Opposition leader Avi Gabbay, and a large number of other Israeli cabinet ministers, members of Knesset, and diplomats, to US Vice-President Mike Pence and US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley (picture), who assured the audience that the time of Israel-bashing at the UN is over.
During the three-day visit to Washington, Tomas Sandell and ECI US representative Faith Collins Childress also met with US, European, and Israeli lawmakers to discuss closer cooperation. In a separate meeting with US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, an invitation was extended to Sandell to attend the opening ceremony of the US Embassy in Jerusalem which will take place on May 14th in connection with the 70th anniversary of the State of Israel.