by Sally Capone
Matthew Bennett, 14, of Hunter Drive, an eighth grader at the Madison Junior School, will honor the diverse heritage of his parents when he travels to Cuba next month to complete his Bar Mitzvah charity project.
Matt, whose mother Inez Bennett hails from Cuba and whose father Andrew Bennett is Jewish, decided to collect donations for over-the-counter medical supplies, which he will take with him to Cuba accompanied by his family and volunteers from Hillel, the Foundation for Campus Life chapter at Drew University in Madison. In addition to the medical supplies, Matt has collected $1,200 in cash to buy more supplies such as pain relievers, toothpaste, multi-vitamins, bandages and antihistamines.
Matt will deliver the supplies to El Patronato at Beth Shalom Synagogue in Havana, which operates a pharmacy where the B’nai B’rith Cuban Jewish Relief Project keeps the shelves well stocked with medical supplies...more
By Jennifer Rubin
Chuck Hagel and his White House handlers have apparently decided that the best tactic for their bloodied nominee is to stonewall the Senate. We’ve seen that his approval rating is going down over time. Every speech that turns up adds fuel to the fire of his opponents and reveals a man with animosity toward our most reliable ally in the Middle East.
That means that he refuses to supply information on a long list of investments, will not make accessible his speeches in the last five years (e.g. a 2011 speech at Cameron University) and is denying information about the groups and foreign countries supporting him and/or his organizations (e.g. Atlantic Council). As of this writing he hasn’t even responded to Sen. Lindsey Graham’s inquiry as to whether he accused Israel of approaching “apartheid” and called Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu a “radical.”
An aide to a GOP senator tells me, “Hagel told Senator Levin during his nomination hearing that ‘Everything that is out there that we can find we’ll make every effort to get it and provide it.’” That didn’t happen, however. “Hagel’s flip-flop from his pledge to Senator Levin and stonewalling by his White House handlers reflects a not so thinly veiled contempt for the Senate’s advice and consent responsibilities,” the aide says.
Today, for the first time in the Hagel proceedings, the liberal B’nai Brith put out a statement, nearly encouraging the Senate to delay the vote...more
by Daniel S. Mariaschin, executive vice president of B'nai B'rith International
Como representante de una de las organizaciones judías mas grandes del mundo, admiré por años la tenacidad con la que el gobierno del ex presidente Néstor Kichner –y posteriormente el de Cristina Fernández de Kirchner– exigía año tras año ante Naciones Unidas, que Irán entregue a la justicia argentina a los acusados por el atentado a la AMIA.
Hoy, sin embargo, observo con enorme sorpresa y desazón el pacto que el gobierno argentino clandestinamente negoció y firmó con el régimen Iraní.
Por 19 años Irán se negó a cooperar con la justicia argentina y es claro que no va a empezar ahora. Esto es así porque los principales acusados en la causa formaron o aun forman parte del gobierno Iraní. Por lo tanto, es más que ingenuo pensar que Irán finalmente va a entregar a sus propios funcionarios, en virtud de este acuerdo.
El atentado a la AMIA, el acto terrorista mas sangriento que jamás haya sufrido un país Latinoamericano –causando 85 muertos y 300 heridos– fue solo uno de los muchos actos de terror que Irán ordena regularmente, porque para el régimen Iraní el terrorismo es una política de Estado.
La verdadera función del Memorándum de Entendimiento que el gobierno argentino acaba de firmar es desautorizar a la justicia argentina y permitir que Irán se lave la cara internacionalmente. La poca claridad del acuerdo, así como las disposiciones de la ley de Irán –en cuyo suelo será implementado– asegurarán este resultado.
Pero los crímenes del Estado Iraní no pueden ser ocultados. En julio de 2012, el día mismo del aniversario del atentado a la AMIA, operativos de Hezbollah atacaron a turistas israelíes en Burgas, Bulgaria. Luego de seis meses de investigación, el gobierno búlgaro acuso formalmente al grupo terrorista de haber cometido este atentado, el que provoco la muerte de seis turistas –cinco israelíes y uno búlgaro– e hirió a 30 personas. El claro informe del gobierno búlgaro prueba ante el mundo que Irán y Hezbollah aun están conectados en la empresa del terror.
Por años, el régimen Iraní trato de estrechar lazos con Latinoamérica, entre otras razones, para aliviar su aislamiento internacional y exportar su fanatismo anti-Occidental. En la Argentina, la causa AMIA era un claro obstáculo. Lamentablemente –y gracias a este pacto– hoy ya no lo es.
Mediante este perverso pacto, la Argentina ha dañado seriamente su credibilidad y ha abierto una peligrosa puerta a expensas de las víctimas de este terrible crimen. > Read the English translation of the story.
A B’nai B ‘B’rith Argentina manifesta sua posição frente ao memorando que solapa a Justiça Argentina. Diante do memorando de entendimento assinado pelos ministros das Relações Exteriores da Argentina e da República Islâmica do Irã, em relação ao ataque terrorista de 18 de julho de 1994, contra o edifício da AMIA, E considerando...more
In a State of the Union speech focused mostly on domestic issues, President Barack Obama pledged to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb and to “stand steadfast” with Israel.
“The leaders of Iran must recognize that now is the time for a diplomatic solution, because a coalition stands united in demanding that they meet their obligations, and we will do what is necessary to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon,” Obama said Feb. 12 in Washington.
Obama also said he would continue to back democratization throughout the Middle East.
The D.C.-based Jewish Council for Public Affairs called the speech “a call to action and ambition” and, along with B’nai B’rith International, singled out the president’s attention to gun control, immigration reform, energy independence and rebuilding the economy...more
by Michael Wilner
At a UN Security Council discussion on the protection of civilians in armed conflict on Tuesday, Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor renewed his call for Hezbollah to be designated as a terrorist organization by the European Union, as it has been categorized by the United States.
“Make no mistake: Hezbollah’s sole purpose is to commit terrorist acts both inside and outside the Middle East,” Prosor said. “Calling Hezbollah a charity is like calling al- Qaida an urban-planning organization because of its desire to level tall buildings.”
The charge came just days after Bulgarian authorities identified Hezbollah as the perpetrator of a terrorist attack in Burgas last July, which killed seven people, including the suicide bomber, and wounded 32.
“Too often members of the EU conveniently ignore the violence of Hezbollah and insist it is merely a political organization,” B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said. “Hopefully this report will strip Hezbollah of any claim of legitimacy and finally allow people to see it for what it is – a violent and dangerous terrorist organization.” ...more
by Phil Jacobs
Pope Benedict XVI's resignation announcement on Monday brought reaction from many different parts of the Jewish world.
Well it should have.
Jews have every reason to be watchful and concerned by actions from the Vatican that could impact Jewish-Catholic and Israel-Vatican relations.
Benedict, 85, will step down at month's end, citing his "advanced age" and failing health. He is the first pope to resign since Gregory XII in 1415.
"We wish Pope Benedict only good health as he steps down from his position," B'nai B'rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said. "He consistently expressed his commitment to Catholic-Jewish relations, and his accessibility to Jewish leaders was significant. We are very grateful for the opportunities we had to meet with him to further the Catholic-Jewish friendship."
B'nai B'rith leaders met with Pope Benedict, as with a line of his predecessors, on multiple occasions. In 2011, Jacobs and Daniel S. Mariaschin, B'nai B'rith International executive vice president, led a B'nai B'rith delegation to the Vatican to meet with Benedict. Jacobs and Mariaschin spoke with him about the Middle East and the challenges facing Jews and Christians in the region.
Representing the American Jewish community, David Michaels, B'nai B'rith director of United Nations and intercommunal affairs, presented a gift to Benedict from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum during the pope's 2008 visit to Washington. Michaels and Alan Schneider, B'nai B'rith World Center director, greeted the pope at the Western Wall in Jerusalem in 2009.
"Pope Benedict deserves appreciation for his contributions to the great cause of Catholic-Jewish engagement," said Mariaschin. "We hope that Benedict's successor will continue to build upon decades of historic progression in Catholic-Jewish relations."
by Suzanne Pollak
When Jews came to this country in larger numbers between 1880 and 1920, they often found factory jobs. Less-than-ideal working conditions sent the new Americans to the forefront of a movement that led to the creation of labor unions. That activism continued throughout the civil rights movement as Jews marched arm in arm with African Americans in their fight for equality.
A tradition of being in the forefront of the day's social issues continues as strong as ever, even though Jews are estimated to be a mere 2 percent of America's population.
Gun control, immigration, the farm bill, Occupy America, the homeless, a woman's right to choose, clean sources of energy, affordable housing for all. Pick an issue and there's an excellent chance Jews are on the board of directors, part of a faith-based initiative or high up on the donor's list.
...besides the organizations mentioned above, there are so many more Jewish groups involved in repairing the world. Some of them include Jews United for Justice, Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger, Hazon, Anti-Defamation League, Green Zionist Alliance, HIAS, B'nai B'rith International, American Jewish Committee, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, National Council of Jewish Women and the Jewish Justice Roundtable...more
by Benjamin Weinthal
Bulgaria’s investigatory report placed the blame squarely on Hezbollah for the murders of five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver last July.
Since the disclosure on Tuesday by the Bulgarian interior minister, the country’s media has been saturated with coverage of the findings.
In a series of interviews with The Jerusalem Post over the past few days with media experts, journalists and a top Jewish leader, a diverse picture of reactions has emerged.
Solomon Bali, president of the B’nai B’rith Carmel lodge in Sofia, said, “I was not surprised by Hezbollah” being identified as the agent behind the terrorist attack, but about the timing of the announcement.
Bali had expected the Bulgarian authorities to attribute the blame to Hezbollah at a later stage. “The truth has to be spoken,” he said.
When asked about the effects on the local Jewish community, Bali said, “Yes, that brings some tensions against the Jews.
It is not nice for us to see some of the comments [on the Internet], but we will survive.”
“I am amazed by the reaction in the social media against the decision of the government,” he added. Some of the Internet comments said the Bulgarians blamed Hezbollah “because of the Jews and Americans,” and this “brings terrorism into the country,” Bali said...more
Due to the opposition of countries such as France and Italy, the 27-member European Union is unlikely to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization despite the Bulgarian investigation that implicated the group in last summer’s bombing of a tour bus carrying Israelis, AFP reported.
Daniel S. Mariaschin, executive vice president of B’nai B’rith International, wrote in a column for EUobserver that the EU in its refusal to blacklist Hezbollah “has refused to declare the obvious, often defending its intransigence by claiming Hezbollah has two distinct faces: a ‘political’ wing and a ‘military’ faction.”
“But using Hezbollah’s seats in Lebanon’s government is a false excuse to grant these terrorists any semblance of legitimacy,” Mariaschin wrote. “Does anybody believe that the ‘military’ and ‘political’ branches of Hezbollah are located on different planets?”
“Sadly, it seems even the attack in Bulgaria may not be enough for the EU to do the right thing,” he added...more