<![CDATA[B'nai B'rith International - Press Releases]]>Mon, 08 Feb 2016 18:35:03 -0500EditMySite<![CDATA[B’nai B’rith Outraged Over Arson at Israeli Synagogue]]>Mon, 08 Feb 2016 20:39:20 GMThttp://www.bnaibrith.org/press-releases/bnai-brith-outraged-over-arson-at-israeli-synagoguePicture
image via wikipedia
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
 
The arson attack at a temporary synagogue in the West Bank is an outrageous act of hatred, intolerance and anti-Semitism. Investigators say it appears the perpetrators piled up torah scrolls and prayer books and set them on fire.
 
The site of the temporary synagogue is particularly significant as it overlooks the location where, in 2014, the bodies of three Israeli teens abducted and killed by Hamas terrorists were found.
 
Violent attacks against Jews in Israel, such as a wave of serial assaults on Jews by terrorists wielding guns, knives and even using cars to ram victims, have been on the rise.
  
We support Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments calling for global condemnation of the attack: “I expect all those who justifiably condemn every desecration of a mosque or graffiti or fire in mosques – I expect them to condemn with the same outrage and same condemnation this criminal act,” Netanyahu said.

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<![CDATA[Strategic Challenges In The Eastern Mediterranean—An International Conference]]>Fri, 05 Feb 2016 16:25:39 GMThttp://www.bnaibrith.org/press-releases/strategic-challenges-in-the-eastern-mediterranean-an-international-conferenceParticipants from United States, Israel, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Turkey and NATO

B'nai B'rith International and the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies will jointly convene a major international conference focusing on “Strategic Challenges in the Eastern Mediterranean” at Bar-Ilan University in Israel on Feb. 17 and Feb. 18.
 
“The eastern Mediterranean is the border between civilizations,” said B’nai B’rith International President Gary P. Saltzman. “It is a zone where many critical problems are coming to the fore, including the advance of radical Islam, refugee issues, superpower competition and Iranian expansionism.”
 
Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin noted: “We are pleased to be partnering with the experts of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies to take a critical look at regional threats, and opportunities for regional cooperation, including economic ties, among key eastern Mediterranean countries and actors.”
 
Among the key participants will be the Greek minister of defense, former Greek minister of internal security, former Italian foreign minister, EU and NATO representatives and top officials and experts from France, England, Turkey and the United States.
 
Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad, director of Policy and Political-Military Affairs at the Israel Ministry of Defense, will address the conference closing. Leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations will participate in the conference closing session as well.
 
Saltzman and Mariaschin will chair conference sessions.  
 
From the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, key participants include Maj. Gen (res.) Yaakov Amidror, Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman, Ambassador Arye Mekel and Professor Efraim Inbar.
 
The conference will be held in the Nano-Technology Auditorium (Building 206) on the Bar-Ilan University campus in Israel from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 17 and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18. The proceedings will be in English, with a simultaneous Hebrew translation, and broadcast live at: www.besacenter.org
 
Click here to see the program.
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<![CDATA[B’nai B’rith Welcomes Historic Western Wall Compromise ]]>Tue, 02 Feb 2016 21:25:44 GMThttp://www.bnaibrith.org/press-releases/bnai-brith-welcomes-historic-western-wall-compromise1Picture
image via flickr
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
 
B’nai B’rith International welcomes the significant compromise Israel has struck regarding Jewish prayer at the Western Wall, or Kotel. Earlier this week religious leaders and government officials reached an agreement to expand the non-Orthodox Jewish section at the Wall. The historic deal will double the size of the non-Orthodox Jewish prayer area to almost 10,000 square feet.
 
This is a positive result for women and men who wish to pray in an egalitarian setting, one that should lessen the tension between the different Jewish denominations. It will also preserve the right of Orthodox Jews to pray at the Kotel according to traditional Jewish practices.
 
A new single entrance will now direct visitors to both areas and the non-Orthodox section will be supervised by a council of government officials and non-Orthodox leaders.
                                                 
B’nai B’rith hopes that Israeli society will benefit from the cooperation between Orthodox and non-Orthodox communities that this compromise represents. We further hope that relations between Israel and the Diaspora will profit from the inclusiveness of the new prayer arrangement at Judaism’s holiest site, which progressive Jewish movements have long sought.

          

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<![CDATA[French Potential Recognition Of “Palestinian State” Likely To Set Back Peace Talks]]>Sun, 31 Jan 2016 18:34:57 GMThttp://www.bnaibrith.org/press-releases/french-potential-recognition-of-palestinian-state-likely-to-set-back-peace-talksPicture
image via flickr
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:

France’s announcement that it will recognize a “Palestinian State” if there is no progress soon in peace talks for a two-state solution prejudges the issue and will more than likely inhibit the pace of talks, rather than facilitate peace negotiations. This will serve as a disincentive to negotiations.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has dragged its feet for years on returning to the negotiating table. Learning that France will recognize a state if talks don’t move forward is hardly incentive for PA leaders to sit down with Israel to engage in direct talks. Why would the PA talk, when it knows already that it has French recognition? It suggests a baffling example of "backwards diplomacy."

Such a unilateral recognition ignores Israel’s vital, rightful and what should be mandatory role in peace negotiations aimed at a two-state solution. B’nai B’rith has long advocated bilateral peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

France’s suggestion that it will recognize a “State of Palestine” is more than unhelpful. Instead France should urge the PA to return to the table without preconditions.

The Palestinians have repeatedly rejected talks. The PA has instead chosen to circumvent Israel, going to the United Nations and various world leaders rather than make hard decisions in bi-lateral talks. Such internationalization of the conflict with the Jewish Sate allows the PA to avoid talks aimed at compromise.

​As a staunch advocate for Israel, B’nai B’rith will work to ensure that Israel’s security is fairly considered.

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<![CDATA[B’nai B’rith Observed International Holocaust Remembrance Day Throughout Latin America]]>Thu, 28 Jan 2016 23:09:52 GMThttp://www.bnaibrith.org/press-releases/bnai-brith-observed-international-holocaust-remembrance-day-throughout-latin-america
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Acting president of Chile, Jorge Burgos, gives a speech in Santiago at an event that was attended by more than 300 people.
PictureDistinguished guests listen to speeches that were held at a Holocaust remembrance event in Santiago.
International Holocaust Remembrance Day is observed every year on Jan. 27, the date in 1945 the allies liberated the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. In addition to U.S. observances, B’nai B’rith International commemorated this significant day across Latin America.
 
In Argentina Human Rights Office Director Claudio Avruj, who is also a former B’nai B’rith executive vice president of District 23, held a memorial service in the Square of the Shoah in Buenos Aires. A memorial statue for the Righteous Among Nations was inaugurated in the square. Keynote speakers included Avruj and Minister of Culture Pablo Avelluto. Other government officials and leaders of the Jewish community attended the event as well. Argentine President Mauricio Macri hosted a delegation of Holocaust survivors in the presidential house, Casa Rosada, in Buenos Aires the day before.
 
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Santiago held an event that was attended by more than 300 people. Acting president of Chile, Jorge Burgos and Leon Cohen, president of B’nai B’rith Latin America and the Jewish community in Chile, spoke at the commemoration ceremony. Writer Maria Angelica Puga gave a touching tribute to her great grandmother, Maria Edwards. Edwards, who rescued Jewish children throughout the Holocaust from the Rothschild Hospital in Paris, is the only Chilean recognized by the Righteous Among Nations. Puga accepted the Light and Memory Award in Edwards’ honor. 
 
Uruguay’s congress held a special session commemorating the day, and acting Foreign Minister Jose Luis Cancela, Israeli Ambassador Nina Ben Ami and hundreds of others attended the event. President Tabare Vazquez gave a speech that was broadcast across the country on the radio and several television channels. In his speech Vazquez stated, “Our remembrance of Holocaust victims is also a commitment to fight for a real never more, and a commitment to fight for a better future, which was also dreamed by those who perished in this tragedy.”
 
Brazil held several events across the country in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia. The commemoration ceremony in Brasilia took place in Colegio de Abogados (Lawyer’s Hall), and was attended by congressmen, ambassadors, B’nai B’rith Brazil President Abraham Goldstein and other Jewish community leaders. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who was abroad at the time, had a message read aloud to attendees at the ceremony by Chief of Staff Jaques Wagner. In her message Rousseff stated, “This day brings to our memory the most horrifying moment in history. We want to join our hearts with those who lost their families in the Shoah. We will always keep fighting in order to avoid that the horror of the Shoah never happens again.”
 
In Ecuador, the University of the Americas hosted an event by the U.N. office, the Israeli Embassy, Albert Einstein College and the local Jewish community. Venezuela, Mexico and Colombia held special congressional sessions observing the day, and several members and leaders of the Jewish community attended these commemoration ceremonies. A minute of silence was observed across Panama, and all radio stations fell silent, and throughout the day, national television channels showed documentaries about the Holocaust.
 
Paraguay also held a special session in congress and Israeli Ambassador Peleg Lewi and several other ambassadors came to the event. President of the Permanent Commission of the Congress, Senator Adolfo Wiens, gave a speech on the Holocaust and human dignity. “This remembrance is a warning against hate, discrimination and racism,” Wiens said.

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Leon Cohen, president of B’nai B’rith Latin America and the Jewish community in Chile, gives a speech in Santiago commemorating the Holocaust.
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<![CDATA[ International Holocaust Remembrance Day Is Observed At U.N. Headquarters]]>Thu, 28 Jan 2016 16:30:20 GMThttp://www.bnaibrith.org/press-releases/-international-holocaust-remembrance-day-is-observed-at-un-headquartersPicture
image via wikipedia
​To commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the United Nations held a memorial ceremony in New York City at General Assembly Hall. Opening remarks were given by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and other speakers included: Ambassador Danny Danon, permanent representative of Israel to the United Nations, Ambassador Samantha Power, permanent representative of the United States, Nazi-Hunter Beate Klarsfeld and personal testimony given by Holocaust survivor Haim Roet.
 
Roet was born in 1932 in Amsterdam and grew up in an Orthodox Jewish family. He described his life in Nazi-occupied Holland as difficult, particularly as a child, “I was forbidden from playing in playgrounds, visiting parks, riding a bicycle, using public transportation and even going to a public school.” In 1942, Roet’s family was taken to a ghetto in Amsterdam, and he lived with his parents and three brothers in a small apartment. His two sisters and grandfather lived in another, and were eventually deported in 1943. They were never seen again. Before they left, Roet’s sisters were able to warn their parents that the SS was coming. When the SS guards knocked on their door, Roet’s parents didn’t open it. Two SS guards arrived again the next day for the rest of the Roet family. Roet’s mother knew German and argued with the men until they gave up and left, “My mother’s courage is the one of reasons that I can stand here today.” There were 144,000 Jews in Holland before the Shoah; only 35,000 survived.
 
Roet continued to speak about how his Holocaust experience led him to think about different ways for people to remember and learn about the Shoah. In 1989, Roet and Yad Vashem, Israel’s official Holocaust museum and research center, created the memorial program “Unto Every Person There is a Name.” This program is commemorated every year around the world on Yom Hashoah and B’nai B’rith is the North American sponsor. “Unto Every Person There is a Name” honors victims of the Holocaust by reading their names out loud, stating when and where they were born and when they died. Roet also serves as the chairman of the Committee for the Recognition of Jews who Rescued Jews During the Holocaust. This committee works with B’nai B’rith World Center every year to hold a unique Shoah commemoration ceremony that recognizes courageous Jews who saved their fellow brethren.
 
Ambassador David Roet (Haim Roet’s son), deputy permanent representative of Israel to the United Nations, helped convene the first meeting on combatting anti-Semitism at the U.N. General Assembly last year.
 
Sadly, the growth of anti-Semitism today is steadily increasing throughout the world, but especially in the Middle East. B’nai B’rith International commends United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director General Irina Bokova for condemning a Holocaust cartoon contest Iran plans to hold for the third time in June. Past entries deny that the Holocaust even occurred. Bokova sent a letter to officials in Tehran expressing her concerns about the contest. Bokova was set to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani yesterday in Paris. These near-daily occurrences of hate, as seen by the horrific terrorist attacks committed against Israel and against Jews all over the world, must be stopped. B'nai B'rith calls on governments to speak out forcefully against anti-Semitism, and to educate young people about the Shoah and its consequences.
 
B’nai B’rith commemorates International Holocaust Remembrance Day by urging everyone around the globe to listen to the stories of survivors, and read and learn about the Holocaust, so we can remember the victims and survivors, and say never again.

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<![CDATA[ B’nai B’rith Condemns U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Recent Remarks Blaming “Human Nature” For Latest Upsurges Of Palestinian Violence  ]]>Wed, 27 Jan 2016 00:14:11 GMThttp://www.bnaibrith.org/press-releases/-bnai-brith-condemns-un-secretary-general-ban-ki-moons-recent-remarks-blaming-human-nature-for-latest-upsurges-of-palestinian-violencePicture
link via wikipedia
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
 
B’nai B’rith International condemns the recent remarks of U.N Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. During a session earlier today Ban spoke to the U.N. Security Council stating, “It is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism.”
 
This speech is an unacceptable rationalization of terrorism, and Palestinian violence is not a “natural reaction” to Israeli policies. It is, sadly, an easily foreseeable consequence of continuous Palestinian incitement to hatred against Israel, Israelis and Jews in general by Palestinian leaders, in school curricula and through television and other media. When some leaders in the international community seek to excuse this violent behavior, it only gets reinforced, leading to the possibility of more terrorist attacks.
 
Terrorism against civilians would never be considered acceptable in any other conflict situation. Only when the murdered are Israelis do we hear within the halls of the United Nations blaming of the victims. Neither Ban nor anyone else of authority in the international community would ever justify an act of brutal terrorism, if the perpetrator were Israeli, on the grounds that such deliberate violence against innocents is a natural/understandable response to frustration or grievances. Today’s speech is part of a worrying pattern from the secretary general’s office in response to the latest wave of Palestinian violence. B’nai B’rith has spoken out about this troubling pattern and has written to Ban previously to express our concerns.
 
If Palestinians are indeed frustrated by their political situation, then they must look to their corrupt leadership, which has consistently refused to make necessary compromises in negotiations toward a two-state solution. The oft-repeated U.N. rhetoric that the murderers of Israeli civilians are frustrated by the political situation is a fundamental misreading of reality. They murder because of hatred of Jews, not of any specific Israeli policy. They are not looking to bring about a two-state solution—they want to destroy Israel.
 
The United Nations cannot be taken seriously as a partner for dialogue on issues relating to the conflict as long as top officials are seen to be giving justifications for Palestinian terrorism against Israeli civilians. Simply, the international community must condemn the murder of Israelis without any equivocation. Not doing so only allows terrorism to fester, and to lead those who carry out terrorist acts to believe they have license to do so.

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<![CDATA[ b’nai b’rith strongly condemns the newest bDS episode from 71 british doctors   ]]>Mon, 25 Jan 2016 23:09:20 GMThttp://www.bnaibrith.org/press-releases/-bnai-brith-strongly-condemns-the-newest-bds-episode-from-71-british-doctorsPicture
image via pixabay
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
 
B’nai B’rith International condemns a letter signed by 71 British doctors requesting the expulsion of Israel from the World Medical Association, claiming that Israel has been “torturing” its Palestinian patients.

This unfounded and outrageous allegation of “medical torture” further demonstrates the intentions of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. BDS’ purpose is to isolate and delegitimize Israel by boycotting its companies, universities, entertainers, athletes and others—and now its doctors.
 
Actual human rights violations all over the globe are continuously overlooked. These vicious BDS attacks on Israel are not only unfair, they must also be called out and opposed by diplomatic leaders and other public figures everywhere. 

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<![CDATA[B’nai B’rith International Disappointed in Trump’s Re-tweet of Neo-Nazi Account]]>Sun, 24 Jan 2016 14:41:03 GMThttp://www.bnaibrith.org/press-releases/bnai-brith-international-disappointed-in-trumps-re-tweet-of-neo-nazi-accountB’nai B’rith International is deeply disappointed that presidential candidate Donald Trump re-tweeted a post from a person with the twitter account user name “White Genocide.”

The tweet Trump re-posted was mocking one of his rivals for president. But an unfortunate consequence is leading his own followers to an account that promotes hate.

The “White Genocide” account is full of racial slurs and links to anti-Semitic and outright pro-Hitler propaganda. It is inappropriate for a presidential candidate to promote such hateful and dangerous views.

B’nai B’rith International is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and as such does not endorse or oppose any candidate for elected office.
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<![CDATA[B’nai B’rith Hosts Ambassador Henne Schuwer For Diplomatic Encounter Series]]>Fri, 22 Jan 2016 00:34:30 GMThttp://www.bnaibrith.org/press-releases/bnai-brith-hosts-ambassador-henne-schuwer-for-diplomatic-encounter-series
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Ambassador Henne Schuwer speaks at B'nai B'rith's Diplomatic Encounter Series about the Dutch presidency of the European Union, the current refugee crisis and anti-Semitism.
As part of its Diplomatic Encounter Series, B’nai B’rith International hosted His Excellency Henne Schuwer, ambassador of the Netherlands to the United States, on Jan. 20. Schuwer spoke on the Dutch presidency of the European Union, the current refugee crisis and anti-Semitism.
 
Schuwer took his post as Dutch ambassador in September 2015. He has extensive knowledge of U.S.-Dutch relations, having previously served in Los Angeles and as deputy chief of mission at the embassy in Washington. After first joining the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1979, Schuwer also held positions in Vietnam, India and Belgium.
 
In his opening remarks, B’nai B’rith Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin cited the Netherlands as a place of refuge for persecuted Jews, including Anne Frank and her family, before the German occupation led to their deportation during the Holocaust. As of today, only 30,000 Jews remain in the Netherlands.

In 1947, the Dutch government extended an official commendation to B'nai B'rith for its "innumerable tangible evidences of brotherly love" in providing post war relief during "the time of their greatest need."
 
“The history of Jewish life in the Netherlands began, and nearly ended, in tragedy: The first Jews came after being expelled from Spain, and the huge community was decimated 350 years later by the Holocaust,” Mariaschin said.
 
Thousands of Syrian refugees have fled their homes, and are stuck at borders without basic necessities such as food, water and shelter. Schuwer emphasized that a refugee should not be identified by his or her skin color or gender.  “A refugee is a refugee,” he said.
 
The ambassador also addressed the rise in global anti-Semitism and how to combat it. 
 
“We [need to] educate in our school systems and in social [settings] that not everybody is of same of faith or the same color. I think that is the main thing we can do,” Schuwer said.
 
The B’nai B’rith Diplomatic Encounter Series brings together diplomats, think tank experts, Washington, D.C. professionals and B’nai B’rith members and supporters for intimate discussions with ambassadors in the nation’s capital on current trans-Atlantic issues. 
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B’nai B’rith Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin helps field questions for Ambassador Henne Schuwer.
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