A European Responsibility
The history of the establishment of the State of Israel and the European Union are closely intertwined, both of which were preceded by the atrocities of World War II.
In the wake of that conflict, the founding fathers envisioned a united Europe as a necessary step in order to avoid another deadly war within the region.
At the same time, more and more evidence was emerging on the Nazi genocide of 6 million Jews.
Consequently, the world community recognized the urgent need for a homeland and safe haven for the Jewish people, which had originally been promised to them in the San Remo Resolution of 1920 and the subsequent Mandate for Palestine.
More than any other nation in the Middle East, Israel shares a common set of values and historical roots with Europe.
- Israel and Europe have a mutual social, religious, and ethical heritage. This Judaeo-Christian tradition shaped the ethical codes of Western societies and remains central to our democratic values today.
- A majority of Israeli citizens today can trace their ancestry and family roots to the dispersed Jewish communities of Europe; and therefore, they share a common history, culture, and mindset with the Europeans.
- Israel is the only state that is considered a parliamentary democracy in the Middle East. Consequently, it shares the same fundamental understanding of and respect for human rights, religious freedoms, free economic trade, and freedom of expression as European nations.
Common Challenge - A New “Old Threat”
Over recent years, a new wave of violence and hatred against the Jewish community (antisemitism) and against Israel (anti-Zionism) has alarmed many in Europe and in the Jewish community throughout Europe. Many respected Jewish personalities have rightly described it as the worst wave of antisemitism since World War II. The research carried out by the European Fundamental Rights Agency in Vienna has revealed that the wave of antisemitism is no longer just a phenomenon of a few ultranationalist extremists. The report shows that modern antisemitism and anti-Zionism have gained wide support from various extreme political groups and from many radical Arab and Islamic groups within Europe. As a nation, Israel is facing an existential threat from terrorism inspired by radical Islam (within the region). Recent events in Europe prove that the same threat is more and more present and active in the very heart of Europe.
European Historic Responsibility
More than ever:
- Because of our long history and shared fundamental core values,
- Because of the common challenge that Israel and Europe are currently facing,
- Because history reminds us that we have dramatically failed in the past,
We, as Europeans and in particular as Christians of Europe, have an obligation to:
- Stand by the European Jewry when they are threatened,
- Stand by the State of Israel when threatened in its security and historical rights.
ECI therefore takes responsibility in this present challenge, seeking to be a voice against the scourge of antisemitism and to enhance understanding of the complex realities of the Middle East, first in the heart of Europe and then to the nations beyond.