B’nai B’rith International urges the United Nations to cancel its plans to screen “Miral,” a film strongly biased in favor of Palestinians in describing the situation in the Middle East. If the U.N., which feigns objectivity, wants to contribute to the peace process, it will refrain from opening its house to biased programs which assume support for the Palestinians over Israel.
B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick and Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin have sent a letter to the General Assembly’s president, Joseph Deiss. The following text is an excerpt from the letter:
“Contrary to your spokesman’s explanation that such an event will be ‘conducive to a discussion on children in armed conflict,’ we believe that your unprecedented decision to host the opening screening of a one-sided and politicized movie in the General Assembly Hall will only serve to further erode trust that the United Nations could be capable of holding a fair discussion on the conflict. As Israelis mourn the five victims of the brutal terrorist attack over the weekend, the fact that the General Assembly has chosen to continue to host a festive event this evening featuring a blatantly anti-Israel movie will only help to cement the feeling that the United Nation is not willing to seriously consider the issues at the heart of the conflict for Israelis—the need for security and safety for civilians living under the constant threat of terrorism.”
“Over the years, we have seen the General Assembly pass dozens of biased resolutions against Israel, and we have witnessed some of your predecessors make truly appalling statements. We ask that you reconsider your decision to host the event this evening. Going forward with the screening of such a movie, especially in light of recent events, will only further tarnish the reputation of the General Assembly as a place where Israel will not be treated in a fair manner.”
B’nai B’rith International has sent its annual leadership delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, to address key sticking points facing the world body, including ending the anti-Israel permanent agenda item and the special rapporteur on Israel and pushing for the oft-delayed, full inclusion of the Jewish state in the Western European and Others Group (WEOG).
The council is now in the process of forwarding to the U.N. General Assembly long-awaited, but apparently highly inadequate, recommendations following "review" of its own performance.
“As the only international Jewish organization with a full-time, accredited office dedicated to U.N.-related issues, it is imperative that we continue to work to ensure Israel is removed as a permanent fixation of the council,” said B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick who led the delegation at the 16th session of the council.
The delegation met with senior officials in the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights as well as with ambassadors from more than 25 countries, many of whom attended B’nai B’rith's diplomatic reception at the Palais des Nations, the city headquarters of the world body, where the director-general of the U.N. Office at Geneva, Sergei Ordzhonikidze, spoke along with United States Ambassador Betty King and Israeli Ambassador Aharon Leshno-Yaar.
B’nai B’rith is hopeful that the council’s unusually forthright actions against Libya point to a positive new trend and endorsed U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent call for a special rapporteur on Iran. However, B’nai B’rith once again repudiated the Durban racism conference 10th anniversary commemoration planned for September and expressed dismay that Syria plans to be a candidate for council membership.
“It is necessary now, more than ever, that we help member states recognize the need for the council to end hypocrisy and politicization in its work,” Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “We can no longer allow the council to spend unparalleled time playing on open biases against the Jewish state and dubbing it the world’s worst human rights violator.”
At the council, B'nai B'rith also renewed its opposition, particularly in light of recent attacks against Christians in the Middle East, to Muslim states' efforts to stigmatize free expression as "defamation of religion,” which protects communities of believers instead of individuals. The United Nations has defined these efforts as human rights violations.
The delegation included: Glick, Mariaschin, Azaria Acher, B’nai B’rith Geneva representative; Armand Azoulai, B’nai B’rith Geneva representative; Helene Briskman, director of B'nai B'rith United Kingdom's London Bureau of International Affairs; David Hachuel, B’nai B’rith Geneva representative; Jacques Jacubert, former president of B’nai B’rith France; Yves-Victor Kamami, senior vice president; Baruch Lascar, B’nai B’rith Geneva representative; David Matas, honorary counsel of B'nai Brith Canada; David Michaels, director of United Nations and Intercommunal Affairs; Klaus Netter, B’nai B’rith Geneva representative; Joelle Perelberg, member of the Board of Governors; Ada Sadoun of B’nai B’rith France; Irving Silver, vice chair of B'nai B'rith's Center for Human Rights and Public Policy; Reinold Simon, honorary life president of B'nai B'rith Europe; and Stephane Teicher, a B’nai B’rith representative to UNESCO.
B’nai B’rith International has opened its disaster relief fund to help the victims of the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on the afternoon of March 11. The 8.9 magnitude earthquake, which hit 80 miles off the coast of Japan, is the world’s fifth-largest since 1900, causing waves as high as 33 feet to hit Japan’s shores, resulting in devastating destruction and flooding. At this time there are 137 confirmed dead, with 539 injured and 351 missing.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out the people of Japan,” B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick said. “We hope the humanitarian aid we offer will assist in meeting vital needs as the rescue and recovery effort continues. The pictures coming out of Japan so far display a frightening demonstration of nature’s fury.”
B’nai B’rith has been engaged in international disaster relief since 1865. The B’nai B’rith International Disaster Relief Fund has provided aid to populations affected by natural and man-made catastrophes around the world, including the Haitian and Chilean earthquakes of 2010.
“Humanitarian aid and disaster relief are a vital part of our global mission,” B’nai B’rith Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “We must do everything possible to assist the victims of this catastrophe.”
To help, donate online at our secure website: http://bbi.convio.net/site/Donation2?df_id=1520&1520.donation=form1
Donations may also be made by mail to: B’nai B’rith International Disaster Relief Fund, Attn: Japan Earthquake, 2020 K Street, NW, 7th Floor, Washington, D.C., 20006
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith praises the agreement reached by the State of Israel and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on March 7 to create a center to encourage and promote Holocaust education and battle its denial worldwide.
This agreement, signed by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and Israeli Ambassador to UNESCO Nimrod Barkan, will provide the important framework needed for UNESCO to implement the teaching of Holocaust awareness and remembrance while strengthening the relationship between Israel and UNESCO through a cooperative partnership.
Increased attention to Holocaust education is essential to combating anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiments, as well as the Holocaust denial and glorification recently experiencing an alarming resurgence worldwide.
A B’nai B’rith delegation to UNESCO, led by President Dennis W. Glick and Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin, met with Bokova and also met with Barkan and with United States Ambassador to UNESCO David Killion on March 4 in Paris to discuss the interests of the Jewish community, including the importance of improving tolerance and understanding through educational programs. B’nai B’rith is an accredited non-governmental organization at UNESCO.
Sends Letters to Lawmakers Urging Support
B’nai B’rith International sent letters to lawmakers on March 3 urging final approval to the United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, more commonly known as the Colombia Free Trade Agreement.
This bilateral agreement, signed between the United States and Colombia on Nov. 22, 2006 would eliminate tariffs on goods and services, allowing free and open trade between the two nations. Colombia’s Congress and courts approved the deal, but the U.S. Congress still needs to sign off.
B’nai B’rith also called for an extension of the preferential trade status that Colombia currently enjoys, but which expired last month.
In their letters to Congress, B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick and Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin explained that these initiatives would bolster another market for U.S. goods, while at the same time helping to combat poverty in Colombia by providing jobs and other economic opportunities. The economic boost could also play a role in providing stability to Colombian society.
Glick and Mariaschin note: “B’nai B’rith, which boasts an extensive and active membership in Latin America dating back to the early 20th century, views trade with Colombia as vital to building a relationship with an important strategic ally of the United States in a region where anti-American sentiment has increased in recent years. We also feel strongly that these measures, by shoring up Colombia’s market economy and democratic institutions, would further efforts to combat poverty and promote human rights in that country.”
The letter concludes: “We hope that Congress will support the crucial objectives at stake in Colombia by approving this free trade pact. In doing so, it will send a powerful signal to the rest of the hemisphere that democracy and free markets are the keys to prosperity in the region, and that the cynicism and anti-U.S. vitriol offered by South America’s dictatorships are doomed alternatives.”
A B’nai B’rith International delegation met with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Irina Bokova in Paris.
At the March 4 meeting, the delegation, led by B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick and Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin, shared its goals for the agency, as well as concerns about the politicization of the work of UNESCO. Bokova also discussed her own agenda for UNESCO.
“UNESCO’s mission is important to bridging cultural misunderstandings around the world, and we had a highly productive meeting with the director-general,” Glick said. “But efforts have increasingly been made to divert from UNESCO's core mandate of heritage preservation to more divisive, partisan areas. We appreciate Director-General Bokova's recent affirmation that UNESCO must operate according to consensus, and we look forward to continue working with UNESCO on such shared interests as tolerance training and intergroup exchange.”
“We were pleased to have the opportunity to discuss with Director-General Bokova such compelling issues as the anti-Israel resolutions passed at the sessions of the UNESCO Executive Board as well as the current situation in the Middle East,” Mariaschin said. “As a long-accredited non-governmental organization at UNESCO, we hope this important part of the United Nations can work to fulfill its mission without impediment.”
The B’nai B’rith delegation also met in Paris with Ambassador Jean-David Levitte, senior foreign policy advisor to French President Nicolas Sarkozy; Ambassador Francois Zimeray, responsible for human rights and efforts against anti-Semitism at the French Foreign Ministry; United States Ambassador to UNESCO David Killion; Israel's Ambassador to France Yossi Gal; and Israeli Ambassador to UNESCO Nimrod Barkan, as well as the leadership of the French Jewish community.
The delegation included: Glick, Mariaschin, Director of U.N. and Intercommunal Affairs David Michaels; B’nai B’rith Senior Vice President Yves-Victor Kamami; President of B’nai B’rith France André Nadjar; B’nai B’rith’s primary representative at UNESCO, Witold Zyss; B’nai B’rith UNESCO representative, Stephane Teicher; and former B’nai B’rith France President Jacques Jacubert. Also in the delegation: Norman Anav and Irene Ores, deputy permanent representatives of B’nai B’rith at UNESCO.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the delegation presented Bokova with a set of books from the B’nai B’rith Diverse Minds Youth Writing Challenge, for which teens write and illustrate books for elementary students about tolerance and diversity. The winning book is published and includes a UNESCO quote: “Tolerance is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human.”
Forthcoming publication a step forward for Catholic-Jewish Relations
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International commends Pope Benedict XVI for his new book, “Jesus of Nazareth—Part II,” which exonerates Jews from all blame in Jesus’ death, noting that there is no scriptural basis for collectively blaming Jews for the death of Jesus.
The Catholic-Jewish relationship has long been strained over this issue, and we look forward to a reinvigoration of relations in light of the new research brought forth in this publication.
B’nai B’rith has long been committed to forwarding interfaith peace and understanding, and has participated in the International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee (ILC) meeting in Paris this week.
B’nai B’rith International commends fashion design house Christian Dior for firing designer John Galliano after a video recording surfaced on Feb. 28 featured Galliano saying “I love Hitler,” and using racist and anti-Semitic slurs.
Galliano was suspended from Dior following his alleged assault and harassment of a couple in a Paris bar on Feb. 24, where he reportedly said “dirty Jewish face, you should be dead” among other vicious anti-Semitic and racist comments.
There is no place for such abhorrent speech. His pattern of ignorant and vitriolic verbal attacks clearly illustrates a profound lack of tolerance. B’nai B’rith commends the House of Dior for making the right decision and acting quickly to dismiss Galliano and decry his hate speech.