(European Coalition for Israel, Brussels) – As the news of the passing of Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wieselreached the world late on Saturday night, condolences and tributes to his life and legacy were expressed around the world, from US President Barack Obama who called him “the conscience of the world” and “one of the great moral voices of our time” to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who called him “an example for humanity. ”
A less known fact is that Elie Wiesel also played a part in the creation of the European Coalition for Israel (ECI) as an organisation. In a statement on Monday, ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell explained how a speech given by Elie Wiesel at the EU Crisis Summit on the rise of anti-Semitism, in February 2004 in Brussels, inspired the creation of ECI.
In that speech, Elie Wiesel expressed his disappointment over the fact that only one generation after the Holocaust nobody, except those from the Jewish community, seemed to react to the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe. “Where are all the others?" he had asked.
Two months later, in April 2004, Sandell met Wiesel at an OSCE conference in Berlin, where he had the opportunity to announce the launch of the European Coalition for Israel as “a coalition of all the others.”
“These two meetings are part of our history as an organisation and we are forever grateful for his inspiration and moral leadership. Today he is no longer with us but his life will continue to inspire us to stand up for the truth and against all forms of anti-Semitism in Europe and around the world," Sandell said.
Elie Wiesel was laid to rest in New York on Sunday after a private funeral in the Fifth Avenue synagogue.