Celebrate Israel New ZealandBrussels, August 31st, 2021 – Samoa and Venezuela were among the first nations to send in their video contributions to the Global Celebrate Israel Marathon, an event which will be broadcast from Jerusalem on Sunday, September 5th, just one day ahead of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year 5782.

The online event is scheduled to kick off with the contribution from Samoa in Polynesia at 12.00 noon CET (Brussels) and will conclude some six hours later with Guatemala in Central America, thus binding together friends of Israel from around the world into a tapestry of presentations from diverse locations and cultures which are all united in their appreciation and support for Israel and the Jewish people.

Neither corona restrictions nor political upheavals could prevent Samoa and Venezuela from sending in their pre-recorded contributions to the broadcast well ahead of time, thus illustrating their determination to not miss out in having their nations represented in this worldwide celebration.

The objective of this online celebration which is being hosted by the International Coalition for Israel (ICI)* is to demonstrate worldwide support for Israel at a time when the United Nations is making its own plans to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the failed Durban World Conference against Racism with an event in New York which has already been boycotted by twelve nations. Instead of eliminating racism, as stated in its objectives, the UN conference in Durban in 2001 released a wave of vicious antisemitism, encouraging new movements and organisations with the sole aim to discredit and demonize the Jewish State of Israel. Holocaust survivor and former US Congressman Tom Lantos has rightly called it “his worst experience of antisemitism after Nazi-Germany.”

But the disastrous week in Durban twenty years ago also marked the birth of another new movement, one which would step up to support Israel and stand on the side of the Jewish people in international arenas such as the European Union in Brussels and later also at the United Nations in New York. The Global Celebrate Israel Marathon will mark the 20th anniversary of the European Coalition for Israel, thus adding to the celebratory nature of the event.

“We want to light a candle, rather than curse the darkness”, explains ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell. “This is our candle of hope in a world full of so much hatred, especially Jew hatred. We want to spell it out, loud and clear, in speeches, through music, poems and dances, that we celebrate Israel and cherish the presence of the Jewish communities among us!”

All continents will be represented in the online marathon, which will also feature greetings from Durban, South Africa, the seat of the UN World Conference against Racism twenty years ago, and a live rally outside the UN Headquarters in Geneva.

The initiative has been well received by the Jewish communities, and the list of speakers on September 5th includes the President of the Conference of European Rabbis, the Chief Rabbi of Moscow, Pinchas Goldschmidt, and the Israeli Ambassador to the UN in New York, Gilad Erdan.

“This is not merely a Christian initiative to support Israel but a celebration together with the Jewish communities around the world”, concludes Sandell and adds that “this is our way of saying that Israel is not alone and that together is best! “

The event will begin on Sunday, September 5th, at 12.00 noon CET, Brussels time (6.00 am New York) and will be transmitted on multiple platforms including the ECI website https://www.ec4i.org/

 

* ICI is the umbrella organisation of ECI and was founded in Geneva in January 2020.

Picture of the video excerpt above:
A Māori tribe (Ngāpuhi) from Aotearoa New Zealand welcomes and honours the Israeli Ambassador.