B’nai B’rith International commends the United States for voting against the six resolutions targeting Israel passed by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on March 24 and 25. The one-sided resolutions included follow-up resolutions on the biased Turkish flotilla and Goldstone reports; the “Syrian” Golan Heights; supposed Israeli human rights violations, and Palestinian self-determination. The United States was the only member to vote against all six anti-Israeli resolutions.
The repeated efforts by the Human Rights Council to single out Israel for censure are appalling. The resolutions on Palestinian self-determination and Israeli settlements passed with the United States as the lone dissenting vote while the rest of the council voted in favor. The Goldstone follow-up resolution was the only one of the six resolutions in which any other country joined the United States in opposition. B’nai B’rith is deeply disappointed at the passage of a resolution on the review of the council that did not remove Item 7, the permanent anti-Israel agenda item. B’nai B’rith will continue to advocate against Item 7 as the review moves to the General Assembly for consideration.
“The friendship of the U.S. in the Human Rights Council vital in our mission to defeat these heavily biased resolutions.” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “The council needs to discontinue its preoccupation with vilifying Israel, and finally honor its promise of ‘strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe.’”
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
Dennis W. Glick has submitted his resignation as international president of B’nai B’rith. Glick resigned for personal reasons.
Glick, who was elected president in December 2009, has been involved with B’nai B’rith for more than 40 years.
During that time, he held a variety of posts within B’nai B’rith, including treasurer and chairman of the B’nai B’rith Youth Commission. B’nai B’rith thanks Glick for his many years of service and devotion to the organization.
Allan J. Jacobs, of Lake Forest, Ill., the current chairman of the executive committee, will serve as interim president until the B’nai B’rith International Board of Governors elects a new president in May during an already-scheduled board meeting.
In more than 45 years with the organization, Jacobs has held many roles including senior vice president and treasurer.
The uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa call to mind other times of upheaval in the region. The story of the area’s Jews—most of whom had to flee their native lands in times of trouble—is rarely told.
As Uriel Heilman reports in the latest edition of B’nai B’rith Magazine, while nearly 1 million Jews once lived in the Middle East and North Africa, today only some 50,000 remain. He writes: “In countries where autocratic regimes are the rule and Islamic anti-Semitism an omnipresent threat, the Jews’ well-being depends on good relations with those in power.”
In the article, “Reluctant Exiles: Jews from North Africa and the Middle East,” Heilman explains how the independence movements that swept the region as the State of Israel was being born “went hand-in-hand with a surge in Arab nationalism and anti-Zionism that replaced the tolerant attitude Muslims had held toward local Jews for generations.” Tolerant, maybe, but still frighteningly uncertain.
Of the hundreds of thousands of Jews who were forced to leave their homes in Middle Eastern and North African countries due to expulsion and pogroms, most went to Israel, though many French-speaking Jews from North Africa relocated to France. Many Jews from later migrations, like the Syrian Jewish exodus and the Jews who left Iran at the time of the 1979 revolution came to the United States. It has taken decades to provide restitution to these Jewish families who in many cases left with nothing more than a suitcase.
As B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin notes in the story, “Generally speaking, in terms of the media, diplomacy, general public opinion, this story has not been told. It’s important now that this story be known.” He added: “While restitution is certainly important, so is recognition. These communities have finally gotten the recognition due them.”
Elsewhere in the spring edition of B’nai B’rith Magazine, we share the story of the NBA’s first Israeli player, Sacramento Kings forward Omri Casspi, and his passionate cohort of Israeli flag-sporting fans. Another feature examines the fascinating and nuanced history of Jewish music’s influence on the Great American Songbook.
And just in time for the upcoming Passover holiday, you can also read about how Jews in small-town America gather to celebrate the spring festival.
To read the magazine visit: www.bnaibrith.org/magazines
B’nai B’rith leaders from throughout Latin America gathered for the 4th B’nai B’rith International Leadership Seminar for leaders of Jewish communities of Latin America in Lima, Peru, March 22 and 23. Representatives from Colombia, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Ecuador, Venezuela, Costa Rica and Argentina as well as the United States attended the meetings and events.
The seminar analyzed the political situation across Latin America and examined the growing influence of Iran in the region. Particular attention was focused on the recognition of Palestinian statehood by nine Latin American countries. Discussion panels and meetings included talks on the future of Latin America and the Jewish community, effects of the Middle East conflict on Latin America, and the increase in global anti-Semitism that permeates academia, media and politics, especially within Latin America.
“Through this seminar, we identified and analyzed the unique challenges of Jewish life in Latin America,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said from Lima. “The recognition of a Palestinian state by Latin American countries and increase in anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiment among a population influenced more and more by Iranian and Palestinian interests is a troubling challenge facing all Latin American Jewish communities.”
Keynote speakers included Julian Schvindlerman, a professor, writer and analyst from Argentina ; Steve Levitzky, a Harvard professor and analyst and Julio Cotler, professor and sociologist. Levitzky gave a presentation on the political context in Latin America over the last 40 years, and Cotler spoke about the implications of the recent political evolution in the Middle East.
Mariaschin also led a discussion about focusing on what challenges are most important for Jewish communities today.
B’nai B’rith leaders attending the seminar included Mariaschin; B’nai B’rith Latin America Chair Pablo Grinstein; B’nai B’rith District 23 Vice President Marcelo Burman; B’nai B’rith Director of Latin America Affairs Eduardo Kohn; Ram Tapia Adler, B’nai B’rith International consultant for Latin America; President District 27 (Chile, Peru and Bolivia) Sergio Bitran; Executive Vice President District 27 Mario Sadovnik; President and Mentor of B’nai B’rith Peru Benami Grobman; Dani Schydlowsky, former president of B’nai B’rith Peru and President of the Jewish Community of Paraguay and B’nai B’rith Mentor Jack Fleischman.
B’nai B’rith International Latin American Affairs Director Eduardo Kohn, Ph.D., is a featured panelist at the Shared Heritage, Values and Visions conference in San Antonio on Sunday, March 27. The conference, co-sponsored by B’nai B’rith, is designed to promote Latino-Jewish dialogue on issues of mutual concern such as immigration, the situation in the Middle East, and foreign policy. B’nai B’rith International Senior Vice President Bruce Pascal is a moderator of a panel focused on community organizing and foreign policy.
Kohn will explain Latin America’s new role regarding Israel-Palestinian relations and how it has evolved, including the recent recognition by nine South American nations of a Palestinian state. He will also examine Iranian infiltration of the region through partners such as Venezuela, and how that has created a new context for anti-Semitism. Kohn will press for Jewish communities to understand these challenges and dangers and work together in unity with the ongoing goal of indispensable continuity for Israel and the Jewish people.
B’nai B’rith International condemns the upcoming votes on anti-Israel resolutions by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), expected to take place March 24-25. The subjects of these one-sided resolutions include the attempt by a Turkish flotilla to break through an Israeli blockade designed to prevent access to Hamas-controlled Gaza; the Goldstone report—the biased accounting of the events during Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s defensive operation in the Gaza Strip; the “Syrian” Golan Heights; and supposed Israeli human rights violations.
The draft resolutions demonstrate the misuse of the council to promote historical revisionism and Arab political leverage by referring to the Tomb of Rachel, a historically recognized Jewish holy site, as Bilal bin Rabah Mosque. “Tomb of Rachel” appears only in quotation marks and parentheses within the resolution, thus mocking Israel’s connection to a biblical matriarch and to the Holy Land. The resolution does not even bother to identify the “Al-Haram Al-Ibrahimi in Hebron” as the revered Tomb of the Patriarchs.
“The sheer number of resolutions against Israel relative to other countries continues to undermine any hope of legitimacy for the United Nations Human Rights Council,” B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick said. “The deck is decidedly stacked against Israel. Violations by other member nations are ignored and Israel is demonized at every session of the council.”
On March 21, B’nai B’rith delivered a formal statement to the council detailing its objections to the council’s preoccupation with vilifying Israel, and condemning remarks made by Richard Falk, the notorious U.N. special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories.
Falk, in remarks made to the UNHRC on March 21, used the terms “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing” to describe Israeli policies he disdains. Previously, the U.N. secretary-general and American diplomats had deplored Falk for reiterated conspiracy theories surrounding the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States.
“Falk has positioned himself closer to the terrorists than to those struggling against terror,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “Falk’s delusional view of the Middle East makes him unfit to promote human rights. It is time for the Human Rights Council, and any special rapporteur on the Middle East conflict, to begin upholding Israelis’ fundamental human rights—beginning with the right to live.”
If anyone, it is Palestinian terrorists who promote “ethnic cleansing” through acts such as the March 11 murder of an Israeli family as they slept, the bombing of a bus in downtown Jerusalem on March 23 and rocket attacks on Beersheba and Ashdod that have indiscriminately victimized Israeli citizens.
B’nai B’rith’s statement to the council emphasized “the need to eliminate item 7 [the only country-specific permanent item] from the Council’s selective agenda as part of the forthcoming Review” of the body’s work, and “the dismissal of the Special Rapporteur, whose irresponsible statements caused so much damage to the prestige and credibility of this Council.”
B’nai B’rith International commends the United Nations Human Rights Council for voting on March 24 to appoint an investigator, called a special rapporteur, to look into Iran’s human rights violations. The 22 to 7 vote, with 14 abstentions and four not taking part, indicates the council is taking serious notice of Iran’s long-standing human rights violations.
B’nai B’rith also applauds the U.S. mission in Geneva for its hard work in support of the resolution. U.S. Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe told the council that the United States and other nations were “gravely concerned at the situation in Iran, where respect for human rights has deteriorated dramatically in recent years."
In high-level meetings in Geneva earlier this month, a B’nai B’rith International delegation urged council members to support the resolution implementing a special rapporteur.
“Iran’s human rights record is deplorable,” B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick said. “The Human Rights Council did the right thing in voting to formally investigate a government that does not allow dissenting voices, that jails opposition figures in brutal conditions, and that uses the death penalty as a growing form of punishment, even on minors.”
This is the first country-specific special rapporteur to have been instituted since the creation of the council in 2006.
During the 16th session of the council, much of the four-week long gathering has been focused on Israel.
“It is encouraging to see the council can in fact see beyond Israel,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “It is significant that the Human Rights Council members, some voting outside their traditional lines of support, are taking Iran’s escalating human rights abuses seriously.”
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International condemns in the strongest terms possible the bombing outside Jerusalem’s central bus station on March 23.
Israel’s minister of public security says a two-pound bomb left hidden in a bag on a sidewalk exploded injuring at least 25, some critically. The attack took place near the International Convention Center.
Unfortunately this attack cannot be viewed as a surprise. The constant incitement against the Jewish state from Israel’s enemies creates an atmosphere where a vicious attack can be launched on the people of Israel.
B’nai B’rith stands in solidarity with the people of Israel. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.
A B’nai B’rith International delegation met with Peruvian Foreign Affairs Minister Jose Antonio Garcia Belaunde on March 21 in Lima.
The delegation, led by B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin, commended Peru for suspending diplomatic relations with Libya after Moammar Gaddafi began attacking his own people as they protested his rule. The B’nai B’rith leaders also expressed disappointment and concern that Peru recognized a Palestinian state, absent a negotiated peace treaty with Israel. Nine of 10 Latin American countries have recognized a Palestinian state in the last few months. The group stressed that only direct bilateral talks will lead to a safe, secure and enforceable two-state solution.
“We had a productive exchange with the foreign minister,” Mariaschin said. “Peru and Israel historically have close ties and we want to encourage that.”
Benami Grobman, president of B’nai B’rith Peru, Dani Schydlowsky, former president and director of Latin American Affairs Eduardo Kohn also took part in the high-level meeting.
The group also met with Israeli Ambassador to Peru Yoav Baron and local Jewish community leaders, and discussed Peruvian-Israeli bilateral relations and the spread of Iranian influence in the hemisphere.
B’nai B’rith International condemns the brutal and horrific murders of Udi and Ruth Fogel and their children Yoav, 11; Elad, 4 and Hadas, 3 months, in their home in the West Bank settlement of Itamar on March 11, on the eve of Shabbat.
“An attack of this nature defies comprehension,” B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick said.
The attack was claimed by Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades of Imad Mughniyeh, a terrorist group with ties to Hezbollah.
“The murder of this family was the act of inhuman and depraved individuals,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “The constant stream of anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli sentiment and hate speech throughout Palestinian society breeds the kind of despicable violence that ended the lives of this family.”
B’nai B’rith International stands in solidarity with the friends and family of the Fogels, and with the Israeli people as they struggle to cope with the aftermath of the attack.