B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International congratulates Elena Kagan on her Senate confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court. Throughout her distinguished career as solicitor general, dean of Harvard Law School, and as a legal scholar, Kagan has exceeded in learning, teaching, and implementing the rule of law.
The grandchild of immigrants, Kagan will bring a unique yet familiar history to the nation’s highest court.
B’nai B’rith has sent Kagan a letter wishing her much success in her new role as a Supreme Court justice.
In the latest example of Iran’s abominable record on human rights, and as further proof of its being out of step with the community of nations, Tehran has refused Brazil’s offer of asylum for a woman sentenced to death for alleged adultery.Iran, one of the worst human rights violators in the world, had a chance to mitigate the situation with an asylum offer from Brazil. But Tehran rejected the offer from Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, saying 43-year-old Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is guilty of an extramarital relationship and as a result must be put to death under Iranian law.
“Lula’s recent outreach to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad regarding Iran’s nuclear weapons program clearly demonstrates Brazil’s close relationship with Iran,” B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick said. “And yet, Iran rejected this asylum offer from a nation that it cannot accuse of being hostile to it. This proves Iran’s pariah status in the community of nations and makes the case that Tehran should be ostracized.”
Ashtiani, who speaks Turkish, not Farsi, was convicted in 2006 and received 99 lashes for her alleged crime. But the case was reopened later that year with “new” evidence, and she was then sentenced to death by stoning. Her lawyer said she was forced to confess to the adultery charge and has since retracted the confession. Last month, the method of execution was changed to death by hanging for the mother of two. Her fate is currently unknown.
“B’nai B’rith International vehemently denounces this egregious violation of human rights,” Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “Of course Iran is one of the world’s most notorious human rights abusers, and our expectations of any compassion by the Tehran regime are nil. Unfortunately, Ashtiani is not the only prisoner in Iran facing an inhumane sentence. But by putting a face to Iran’s human rights atrocities, we can hope international pressure will lead to change.”
A group of 500 Jewish fraternity students from around the world will gather August 5 to volunteer in New Orleans’ most prominent park.Student volunteers representing Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi), the international Jewish fraternity, will participate in a service project at New Orleans City Park in conjunction with AEPi’s 97th Anniversary Convention. B’nai B’rith International will sponsor the project.
The three-hour painting and landscaping project will take place in and around the park’s Tad Gormley Football Stadium, just in time for football season.
“Tikkun Olam means repairing the world,” AEPi Executive Director Andy Borans said. “As AEPi is the International Jewish Fraternity, it is our responsibility to give back to the community. We are very happy to go to New Orleans with over 500 AEPi brothers from across the world and to team up with one of our partner organizations, B'nai B'rith International. During our convention we are taking time out of our fraternal business to not only fulfill the duty of our fraternity but of our faith as well.”
Since Hurricane Katrina severely damaged the park, volunteer projects, including AEPi’s effort, are helping to bring it back to life. As the most prominent recreation destination in the city, this project will have a lasting impact on the entire New Orleans metropolitan community.
“Partnering with 500 Jewish young men to help rebuild New Orleans’ main park is truly special,” B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick said. “B’nai B’rith has been deeply involved in helping New Orleans for five years. This project will have an immediate impact on the community, and will also teach valuable lessons to the AEPi brothers about giving back.”
B’nai B’rith’s active history of sponsoring disaster relief programs in New Orleans began shortly after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city—raising more than $1 million for the Gulf region. B’nai B’rith also demonstrated its support of the Gulf Coast by holding its annual policy conference in New Orleans in 2006.
The New Orleans City Park project marks the end of a five-year effort to assist in rebuilding homes, houses of worship, and other projects in states devastated by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
“This project is the culmination of a long-term commitment to helping the Gulf Coast rebuild,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “We hope the citizens of New Orleans enjoy the park’s upgrades and that it becomes a great symbol of the rebuilding efforts in the region.”