Elkin, Sandell in JerusalemJerusalem, March 22nd, 2018 – ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell has met with Israeli Government Minister Zeev Elkin in Jerusalem to discuss closer cooperation between the Israeli government and ECI in standing against international efforts to distort the history of Jerusalem.

“There can be no doubt that Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel and that the Jewish people have a long and unbroken history, dating back more than 3000 years, in the city of Jerusalem”, Sandell said. Minister Elkin, whose government portfolio includes matters related to Jerusalem, thanked the European Coalition for Israel for its important work in defending the rights of the Jewish people.

Jerusalem has over the last few years been the target of an intensive international campaign to deny any historical, cultural or religious connections between the Jewish people and their ancient capital. The campaign, which has been supported by several UNESCO resolutions, has clearly contradicted historical and archeological facts in order to promote a political agenda aimed at delegitimizing the State of Israel and discrediting any Jewish claim to Jerusalem.

However, last year UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova sent a personal statement to ECI to clarify her position that “denying Jewish links to Jerusalem undermines the very character of the city which UNESCO has bound to preserve.”

ECI has already for many years been working internationally to raise awareness of the legal foundations of the State of Israel, which date back to the San Remo resolution of 1920 that acknowledged the historical, religious and cultural connections between the Jewish people and their ancestral homeland, the land of Israel. ( Eretz Yisrael ) Last year, ECI handed over an ‘Open Letter for a United Jerusalem’, signed by over 100 global leaders, to the Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, to show international support and solidarity for a united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty. The ceremony, which was attended by many UN ambassadors, took place in New York in connection with the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, and six months before the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.

Sandell was invited to Jerusalem to attend a high-level consultation, hosted by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, to discuss EU-Israeli relations. Many Israelis expressed their disappointment with the lack of support from Europe in the face of existential threats in the region and the ongoing diplomatic warfare against Israel in international forums. The consultation, which was attended by senior European and Israeli political leaders and opinion shapers, concluded that “much work still needs to be done in order to normalize EU-Israeli relations and build a stronger partnership.”