On the 8th of December, ECPM organised a conference on “Terrorism and Security: what the EU can learn from Israel” at the European Parliament. Terrorism remains number one concern across the EU member states according to the latest Eurobarometer Survey on Europeans’ attitudes towards security. The need for international cooperation and effective legislation and implementation was addressed by the speakers and presentations at our conference.
The event was organised in collaboration with the NGO European Coalition for Israel. ECPM MEP Bastiaan Belder (SGP, The Netherlands), who hosted the event, spoke of Israel's past being “a history of a permanent fight against terror” and the (probably uneasy!) lessons which EU can learn from their achievements to counter terrorism. With the memory of the Holocaust in its mind, Israel absolutely prioritizes the security of its citizens in the fight against all forms of terrorism. Tomas Sandell, Founding Director of the European Coalition for Israel, spoke of the need for a “a coherent security policy which builds on universal values”, both inside and outside of the European Union, including our responsibility to prevent terror financing and EU funding being used to further radicalisation.
ECPM MEPs Marek Jurek (PR, Poland), Arne Gericke (Familien-Partei Deutschlands, Germany) and co-host of the event Branislav Skripek (OL'aNO, Slovakia) were also present. Arne Gericke: "For Christians, their relationship with Israel is part of their identity and the history of their faith. The central point of our Christian Jewish dialogue in times of terrorism must be hope, not fear! Another important goal of Jewish-Christian dialogue consists in jointly combatting all manifestations of racial discrimination against Jews and all forms of anti-Semitism, which have certainly not yet been eradicated and re-emerge in different ways in various contexts. We have to fight for religious freedom together."
MK Yehiel Hilik Bar, Deputy Speaker of The Knesset in Israel, stated that "at a time when terrorism and matters of security have become critical concerns internationally”, it is of the utmost importance that Israeli and European leaders work together to maintain safety and security. MK Yehiel Hilik Bar was also representing the Christian Allies Caucus, an interparliamentary group with 18 Members of the Knesset of 7 different political parties, focused on developing relations with Christian politicians worldwide. Keynote speaker Shuli Davidovich, Representative of the Israeli Mission to the EU on Security and relations with NATO, expanded on the opportunities for cooperation between EU and Israel. “Israel and Europe are a part of the same family”, she stated, "It is only natural, therefore, that we also face together the same threats and challenges of incitement and radicalism. Israel stands with Europe in the joint fight against the plague of terrorism”.
Rabbi Avi Tawil, Executive Director of the European Jewish Community Center, stressed that the solution to violence and discrimination for the Jewish communities in Europe, which are particularly affected by terrorism, is to have “more presence in the public conversations as proud members of the European family”. Rabbi Tawil also stressed that at the same time, “we cannot afford to lower security standards in Jewish institutions in Europe” even after a relatively calm period since the summer terror attacks.
Leo van Doesburg, ECPM's Director for European Affairs, spoke a concluding word on behalf of ECPM. The conference was attended by a number of Members of the European Parliament and a wide range of representatives of different communities and NGOs.