ECI statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day: Our concern for the safety of the Jewish communities must include those in Israel

WeRemember Edelstein-SandellBrussels, January 27th, 2018 – As International Holocaust Remembrance Day is commemorated today, on 27h January, with solemn events around the world, European Coalition for Israel has made a statement calling on the European governments to support the safety and security of the remaining Jewish communities in Europe and to protect those Jews who today are living in the State of Israel.
“If this Jewish state had existed in 1938, and not only in 1948, those Jews fleeing Europe at that time would have had a safe haven. Instead most of them perished in the Nazi death camps. To make sure this will never happen again we have to support a strong and secure State of Israel,” ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell said in a statement.

“We can never differentiate between Jews living in the diaspora and those who have made Israel their home. If our remembrance for the 6 million Jews who lost their lives in Europe during the Holocaust is to be meaningful today it has to be extended to those 6 million Jews who are alive today and live in the State of Israel, including those living peacefully in ancient Jewish communities in the disputed territories. When these Jews today are simply referred to as ‘settlers’, dehumanised as ‘obstacles to peace’ and their businesses are labelled on the European market we are quickly entering a slippery slope towards state sponsored antisemitism,” he warned. “In order for the European strategy against antisemitism to be coherent and holistic we need to call out the enemies of Israel who continuously call on her destruction. These enemies include the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as its proxies, among them Hezbollah and Hamas. When Europe condemns antisemitism in one sentence and empowers these deadly enemies of the Jewish people in the next sentence we lack a coherent strategy,” he said.

In his speech in the European Parliament at the International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Wednesday, the Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein made the same observation when he accused European officials of sending contradictory messages in expressing solidarity with Jews while treating Hamas as legitimate peace partner for Israel.
“The efforts to combat antisemitism and protect the Jews of Europe are sincerely appreciated,” said Edelstein, “but what is the message when elected officials march with the Jewish community one day, and against Israel the next? When leaders embrace the local rabbi in solidarity after a hate crime and then treat Hamas as a legitimate voice? When an attack is anti-Semitic, and then Israel is denounced for fabricated war crimes?” he told the European Parliament.
In private talks with Sandell earlier in the week Edelstein expressed his support for the work of European Coalition for Israel as a non-Jewish solidarity group for Israel and the Jewish people.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Day was commemorated in Brussels throughout the week, apart from the Holocaust Memorial on Wednesday, also with several educational events, screening of films and discussions with Holocaust survivors. In a statement on Friday European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said, “This day should remind us to be vigilant in the face of hatred, discrimination and dehumanisation. It is a day to confront those who spread lies about our history and who question the Holocaust or negate its fundamental meaning for today’s Europe. As Simone Veil reminded us, it is necessary to recall the names and stories of those we have lost, to spare them from disappearing for a second time.”

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