<![CDATA[B'nai B'rith International - Press Releases]]>Wed, 25 Nov 2015 07:31:37 -0500EditMySite<![CDATA[B’nai B’rith Congratulates Argentine President-Elect Mauricio Macri]]>Tue, 24 Nov 2015 21:12:07 GMThttp://www.bnaibrith.org/press-releases/bnai-brith-congratulates-argentine-president-elect-mauricio-macri
B'nai B'rith International congratulates Argentine President-Elect Mauricio Macri in his run-off election victory yesterday. Macri currently serves as mayor of Buenos Aires and is slated to enter office in January 2016. He will succeed President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.   
B'nai B'rith sent a letter of congratulations to Macri, which you can read in full by clicking here.
<![CDATA[ B’nai B’rith Appalled By Swedish Foreign Minister’s Linking Of Paris Terror Attacks To Israeli-Palestinian Conflict ]]>Mon, 16 Nov 2015 23:24:36 GMThttp://www.bnaibrith.org/press-releases/-bnai-brith-appalled-by-swedish-foreign-ministers-linking-of-paris-terror-attacks-to-israeli-palestinian-conflictPictureSwedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom
B’nai B’rith International is deeply dismayed by Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom’s comments attributing the Paris terror attacks to desperation born out of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Though the Swedish government has denied Wallstrom’s intention to link Friday’s horrific events with the Middle East conflict, she clearly invoked the Palestinian situation in attempting to explain the attacks in Paris.
“To counteract the radicalization we must go back to the situation such as the one in the Middle East, in which not at the least the Palestinians see that there is no future; we must either accept a desperate situation or resort to violence,” Wallstrom said on Swedish television.
Any misguided attempts to link the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to terrorist attacks by Islamic extremists amount to a justification of terror on the basis of frustration with events in the region. Such facile and wrongheaded explanations only impede the peace process by excusing violence and failing to acknowledge the deep ideological commitment of radical extremists to defeating the world’s democratic nations.
It is vital that Sweden and other democratic governments dedicate themselves to defeating radical extremist terrorist groups that have proven themselves to be enemies of the civilized world. It is also essential that those countries remain clearheaded about the motivation of radical Islamists and avoid harmful and false rationalizations of the terrorists’ motives.

<![CDATA[B’nai B’rith International Condemns Unbridled Bloodshed in Paris Terror Attacks]]>Sat, 14 Nov 2015 14:52:52 GMThttp://www.bnaibrith.org/press-releases/bnai-brith-international-condemns-unbridled-bloodshed-in-paris-terror-attacks
B’nai B’rith International Condemns Unbridled Bloodshed in Paris Terror Attacks

B’nai B’rith International is outraged at the unbridled bloodshed unleashed by terrorists in Paris. The level of depravity needed to carry out these coordinated attacks is difficult to fathom.
The concert hall, sports arena, bars and restaurants targeted in the attack were brimming with festivities, culture and life. The guns and grenades that shattered the evening were yet another announcement that the civilized world has again been altered by evil.

We send our thoughts and prayers to the people of Paris and to all of France at this difficult time.
<![CDATA[B’nai B’rith International Concludes 2015 Policy Forum]]>Thu, 12 Nov 2015 15:43:18 GMThttp://www.bnaibrith.org/press-releases/bnai-brith-international-concludes-2015-policy-forum
B’nai B’rith members and supporters from across the United States and the world gathered in Washington, D.C., Nov. 8 to 10 to learn how B’nai B’rith is at the forefront of today’s most pressing issues; engaging with high-level speakers on topics such as U.S.-Israel relations, the rise of global anti-Semitism and the delegitimization of Israel; and making their voices heard on all things related to B’nai B’rith’s global agenda.

Those in attendance were joined by a number of high-profile speakers, including Nancy Spielberg, producer of the documentary “Above and Beyond;” Alan Gross, who was imprisoned in Cuba for five years; founding editor and publisher of The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report Stuart Rothenberg; officials from the State Department and Treasury; and several ambassadors.

Gary P. Saltzman Elected President

Gary P. Saltzman, of Centennial, Colo., was elected president of B’nai B’rith International by the Board of Governors at its annual meeting in conjunction with the Policy Forum in Washington, D.C. Saltzman immediately begins a three-year term leading the world’s oldest and most widely known Jewish humanitarian, human rights and advocacy organization.

“It is a unique privilege to add my name to the list of presidents who have served this venerable organization during its 172-year history,” Saltzman said. “Throughout my decades of service to B’nai B’rith, I have been directly involved in all aspects of our core mission at the local and global levels: From advocating for human rights, to supporting Israel and fighting anti-Semitism, to speaking out for seniors and to providing aid to the victims of disasters. I am eager to honor the roots of this organization while advancing its mission in new ways.”
In 40 years as a member of B’nai B’rith International, Saltzman has demonstrated leadership and unwavering dedication at the local and international levels of the organization through an impressive range of roles and responsibilities.

This weekend also produced another significant event for Saltzman and his family: Saltzman’s grandson Ori Barsheshet was declared a Ben Brit, a child of the Covenant of B’nai B’rith, which bestows lifetime membership on recipients. The Children of the Covenant Life Membership Program for children or grandchildren of B’nai B’rith members provides them with life membership in B’nai B’rith when they reach their eighteenth birthday. Ori is the son of Rebecca Saltzman Barsheshet and Oded Barsheshet. Rebecca is the recent chair of the B’nai B’rith Young Leadership Network and a winner of the B’nai B’rith Label A. Katz Young Leadership Award. Ori received a certificate and pewter Kiddush Cup engraved with his name and birth date, signifying him “Child of the Covenant.”

Peter Perlman of West Bloomfield, Mich., Appointed Chairman of the Executive Committee; Senior Officers Elected

Peter Perlman was appointed chairman of the executive of B’nai B’rith International by the newly elected Saltzman. This is the number two volunteer leadership position in the organization. It is Perlman’s responsibility to serve as direct liaison between staff and volunteers and carry out other internal and external responsibilities of the organization. Perlman, whose B’nai B’rith involvement dates to 1970, will represent B’nai B’rith at a variety of domestic and international venues.

In addition to Saltzman’s election as president and Perlman’s appointment to chairman of the executive, B’nai B’rith also held elections for the positions of senior vice president, treasurer and chief justice. B’nai B’rith’s newly installed senior vice presidents are: Eric Engelmayer, Luxembourg; Shel Marcus, Morton Grove, Ill.; Sheila Mostyn, Toronto, Canada; Marvin Siflinger, Framingham, Mass.; Robert B. Spitzer, Seattle, Wash.; Eduardo Weinstein Gottlieb, Santiago, Chile.

Taking over the role of treasurer is A. Michael Gellman of Potomac, Md.; and Chief Justice William Peirez of Great Neck, N.Y., was re-elected.

State of the Organization: Allan J. Jacobs, Former International President and New Honorary President

“Where did the time go?” asked Allan J. Jacobs, former B’nai B’rith International president and current-honorary president, as he delivered his final “State of the Organization” address to commence this year’s policy forum. Jacobs highlighted the organization’s dogged efforts against the Iran deal and the U.N.’s hypocrisy on the issue of human rights and the State of Israel.

Jacobs also discussed the recent B’nai B’rith mission to India, the organization’s work with the Jewish community in Cuba and the importance of Holocaust remembrance—mentioning B’nai B’rith’s work on Holocaust Remembrance Day and the program Unto Every Person There Is a Name.

Jacobs noted in his final formal address to Policy Forum attendees: “B’nai B’rith’s persistence and perseverance in our core areas has been relentless. At 172 years old, our stride is steady and with purpose.” And he also noted he was proud that B’nai B’rith “has long been a voice of truth and reason, even when sitting across from a powerful world leader.”

Making Sense of the Middle East

B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin tackled the issues in the Middle East, particularly the Iran nuclear deal, during his opening address. He highlighted the concerns with the agreement, such as the fact that Iran will have enough material to produce nuclear weapons in 10-15 years, the 24-day separation between international inspections and Iran’s history of serial human rights abuse.

“The international community should stand firm in its determination to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. We must also agree to counter Iranian support for terrorism and confront Iran violation of ballistic missile protocols and international human rights violations,” Mariaschin said. “And defenders of human rights everywhere must take more seriously Iran’s stated desire to eradicate Israel and its repeated use of anti-Semitic invective and Holocaust denial.  Iran’s repeated threats to destroy the State of Israel must be viewed with the utmost gravity, particularly in light of Iran’s ongoing pursuit of nuclear weapons and its unswerving sponsorship of terrorism. The regime’s behavior has already provided ample evidence of why a nuclear Iran presents not only a threat to Israel, but to the entire region and beyond.”

He also discussed the recent, alarming attacks on Israeli Jews by Palestinian terrorists and the biased reporting that surrounds it. Mariaschin expressed his extreme disappointment in the United Nations for criticizing Israel for defending itself against these vicious attacks.

“The message from the Palestinians has been the same for 15 years:  Don’t blame the Palestinians when terror ensues; blame only the Israelis for refusing to surrender themselves and their country,” Mariaschin said. “And much of the international media has complied, potentially swaying the tenor of discussions on Israel by leaving out crucial details. Through this entire crisis, many in the media have gone to great lengths to avoid using the word ‘terrorists’ to describe the Palestinian perpetrators in the wave of murderous attacks on Jews and describing Israel’s response in defending its citizens as ‘excessive.’”

Nancy Spielberg’s “Above and Beyond”—Film Presentation and Panel Discussion

Producer Nancy Spielberg screened her film “Above and Beyond” for attendees. The film tells the story of a group of American men willing to break the laws of their own country to help create and train pilots of the Israeli Air Force, just a few years after the horrors of the Holocaust.

After the screening, a panel discussion was held, featuring Spielberg, Lt. Col. Bruce Lichtman of the U.S. Air Force and Col. Shai Katav, air force attaché and deputy defense attaché for the Israel Defense Forces.

“I feel connected to the families. I fell in love with his dad (Licthman),” Spielberg said after the screening. “I feel like we’re relatives, like we’re cousins. But no one sent me any birthday presents!”
Lichtman added even more dimension to his father, Gideon, who was prominently featured in the film and lovingly nicknamed “Bad Grandpa.”

“One of the wonderful things Nancy did was capture these guys. That’s my dad!” Lichtman said.
Katav provided insight on the current state of the Israeli air force and the effect these men featured in the film had on Israel today. Amir Eshel, the Israeli air force chief, ordered that all members of the air force watch this film.
“No matter how many times I’ve watched this movie before, it brings many emotions.” Katav said.

Town Hall Meetings: B’nai B’rith’s Domestic and International Policy Agendas

A town hall meeting on the first day of the forum included a broad discussion of B’nai B’rith’s domestic policy agenda. Mariaschin served as the moderator, while B’nai B’rith International Director of Legislative Affairs Eric Fusfield and Director of Aging and Health Policy Rachel Goldberg, Ph.D., discussed immigration, voting rights, gun reform and aging. The panel noted that with positions on both sides of the political aisle hardening, there is less inclination to compromise than there used to be, leaving consensus too often out of reach. Panelists noted B’nai B’rith’s resolve to advocate on our core issues, despite conditions on Capitol Hill.

A second town hall session, on international issues, included Mariaschin moderating and Fusfield speaking, along with Senior Vice President Daniel Citone of Rome, Director of Latin America Affairs Eduardo Kohn, Director of B’nai B’rith World Center – Jerusalem Alan Schneider and International Center for Human Rights and Public Policy Assistant Director Sienna Girgenti. The panel discussed the singular mistreatment of Israel at global institutions and the problems of anti-Semitism masking as criticism of Israel. The group noted that a global working definition of anti-Semitism is that political events in the Middle East or elsewhere can never justify anti-Semitism. The panel also discussed B’nai B’rith’s humanitarian work in Cuba and new U.S.-Cuba relations.

Terrorist Financing and Emerging Middle East Threats

Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorist Financing Daniel Glaser discussed the Treasury Department’s role in American anti-terrorism efforts. Glaser develops and implements policies to combat terrorist financing networks for terrorist groups like ISIL, Hezbollah and al Qaeda. He explained how he works to obstruct the financing of their activities, whether it may be through donations, self-funded or state sponsored.

A Conversation with Alan Gross

In 2009, Alan Gross attempted to connect the Cuban population to the internet and was arrested by the nation’s government for using American communication equipment. During Gross’ five years in prison, Bruce Pascal, a member of the B’nai B’rith Executive Board of Directors, visited him four times. At this year’s policy forum, the two reconvened for a conversation in which they discussed the nature of his arrest, the treatment he received in prison and his thoughts on the future of Cuban-American relations.

Nicholas Dean, Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues, U.S. State Department

B’nai B’rith had the privilege of being joined by Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues Nicholas Dean from the U.S. State Department. He discussed the ways that he and his staff, with the help of groups such as B’nai B’rith, work to make sure Holocaust victims receive their proper restitution, currently focusing on central Europe. The State Department also works with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance to create educational and awareness programming to ensure the atrocities committed are never forgotten.

Tommy P. Baer, Honorary President, Reflect on Kristallnacht

Born in Berlin before the start of the Holocaust, B’nai B’rith International Honorary President Tommy P. Baer has a much deeper understanding of horrors of Kristallnacht than most. On Nov. 9-10, members of Adolf Hitler’s SA paramilitary forces destroyed countless homes, schools, synagogues and other institutions.
“Among the littered glass were the shards of shattered hope.”

Baer’s grandfather was among the 30,000 people detained. The Germans would later blame the pogrom on the Jews, who received a one million marc fine.

Baer also pointed out this was a difficult time for B’nai B’rith. B’nai B’rith Germany, which began in 1888, was under threat from Nazi Germany. Although B’nai B’rith International President Leo Baeck, who married Baer’s parents, refused to disband B’nai B’rith Germany, it seemed to be out of his control. By 1937, one third of the lodges of Europe were either voluntarily disbanded or disbanded under distress.

Shortly thereafter, a telegram was sent back to the United States informing headquarters that the lodges had been disposed, the property confiscated.

“Memory is the way we give meaning to history. Thus not to repeat or countenance,” Baer said.

EU Diplomatic Panel: Current Issues on the Trans-Atlantic Agenda

As a sign of the esteem that B’nai B’rith is held in on the global stage, the Policy Forum was joined by three European diplomats to discuss a number of pressing issues. Ambassador of Bulgaria Elena Poptodorova, Ambassador of Croatia Josip Paro and German Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission Philipp Ackermann hit on a variety of topics including rising anti-Semitism in Europe, immigration and refugees, the European Union labeling West Bank products and the relationship between Europe, the United States and Israel.
The Situation of Religious Minorities in the Middle East
The State Department’s Special Advisor for Religious Minorities in the Middle East and South/Central Asia Knox Thames was the final speaker of the 2015 Policy Forum, giving attendees a look at a newly created role inside the federal government’s diplomatic arm. Thames led the conversation off by discussing the damage ISIL has caused in the Middle East and its attempts to wipe out religious minorities and religious history in the region. Thames also warned of the dire situation being faced by Christians living in the Middle East, and ramped up destruction and sale of religious artifacts.
Young Leadership Network Report

Recent Young Leadership Network Chair Rebecca Saltzman Barsheshet provided a report on the state of the Young Leadership Network. She informed those in attendance that the network is becoming increasingly digitally focused. Just that morning, young leaders participated in a virtual round table, discussing Israel, human rights, disaster relief and many other issues important to B’nai B’rith. During the Young Leadership Network Conference, held in the days prior to the Policy Forum, JSwipe founder David Yarus was the keynote speaker. Barsheshet also announced that Label A. Katz Award winner Ed Redensky would take over as Young Leadership Network chair.

Label A. Katz Award Winners

At the Policy Forum, B’nai B’rith gave out the Label A. Katz awards, named for the youngest person to achieve the office of international president of B’nai B’rith. The award goes to individuals under 45 who have demonstrated outstanding service to the totality of B'nai B'rith and have worked to achieve the goals of the B'nai B'rith Young Leadership program. This year’s recipients were:
  • Daniel Citone, Italy
  • Rachel Taubman Glickfeld, Michigan
  • Silvia Kleiman de Pupkin and Ricardo Pupkin, Chile
  • Eduard Redensky, Illinois
  • Alberto Eduardo Seelenberger Farba, Chile
  • Rachel Silvestain, Colorado
Seth Riklin of Sugar Land, Texas, Receives Moe and Berdie Kudler Award

The Policy Forum also provided an opportunity to recognize individual achievements of both staff and volunteer leaders. Outgoing Treasurer Seth J. Riklin of Sugar Land, Texas, received the Moe and Berdie Kudler Award for outstanding volunteer service. Riklin, who served two terms as B’nai B’rith treasurer, was recognized for exemplifying the B’nai B’rith mission of “uniting the Jewish people in the work of promoting their highest interests and those of humanity.”

Staff members were also recognized at the Policy Forum for their professional excellence with the bestowal of the Sidney H. Closter Award and the Julius Bisno Award.

B’nai B’rith Conference on Senior Housing
B’nai B’rith Senior Housing managers and board members participated in the B’nai B’rith Conference on Senior Housing, which was held alongside the Policy Forum. Those in attendance participated in training sessions and seminars, which included best practices for managers and boards, as well as critical updates on Department of Housing and Urban Development activities, legislative developments and the current budget environment. 
Attendees also visited B’nai B’rith Homecrest House in Silver Spring, Md., meeting with an outstanding resident council and touring the facility. 
Finally, dozens of attendees went to the Capitol Hill to meet with key congressional offices about investing in affordable senior housing for the future. 
Young Leadership Conference

The B’nai B’rith Young Leadership Conference took place from Nov. 6-8 in Washington D.C. Participants engaged on Nov. 6 with representatives of the French embassy, Olivier Gauvin and Sean Jean Francois, to discuss the current relations between France, the United States and Israel, as well as the state of French Jewry.
On Saturday and Sunday, attendees heard from David Yarus, co-founder of the dating app JSwipe. Yarus delved into the origin story of how JSwipe was created and gave a presentation on marketing to millennials. Participants from around the country enjoyed their time in the District.
<![CDATA[B’nai B’rith Highly Disconcerted with Approval of Guidelines to Label Goods from West Bank]]>Wed, 11 Nov 2015 20:45:40 GMThttp://www.bnaibrith.org/press-releases/bnai-brith-highly-disconcerted-with-approval-of-guidelines-to-label-goods-from-west-bank
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:

B’nai B’rith International is highly disconcerted that the European Union has approved and will soon publish guidelines that European countries can use to label Israeli products produced over the pre-1967 lines. The resolution introducing the guidelines was passed by the European Parliament in September and is an affirmation of the discriminatory goals of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

This latest anti-Israel measure rewards the Palestinians for their refusal to engage in constructive dialogue with Israel and puts off the possibility of resolution on this issue. It also encourages and reinforces the Palestinian narrative at a dire time when anti-Semitic incitement is thriving and there have been more than 60 knife, gun and car attacks on Israeli Jews.

The European Union would better spend its time encouraging Palestinians to get to the negotiating table, as these guidelines only prolong the process, rather than resolve it.

Also at play with this issue are the intellectual dishonesty and highly questionable intentions behind this decision. There are many other disputed regions in the world, but there is no movement to label products—making the double standard of this move apparent.
<![CDATA[Gary P. Saltzman Of Centennial, Colo., Elected President Of B’nai B’rith International]]>Tue, 10 Nov 2015 16:04:36 GMThttp://www.bnaibrith.org/press-releases/gary-p-saltzman-of-centennial-colo-elected-president-of-bnai-brith-international
Gary P. Saltzman, of Centennial, Colo., was elected president of B’nai B’rith International by the Board of Governors at its annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

Saltzman immediately begins a three-year term leading the world’s oldest and most widely known Jewish humanitarian, human rights and advocacy organization.
In 40 years as a member of B’nai B’rith International, Saltzman has demonstrated leadership and unwavering dedication at the local and international levels of the organization through an impressive range of roles and responsibilities.

“It is a unique privilege to add my name to the list of presidents who have served this venerable organization during its 172-year history,” Saltzman said. “Throughout my decades of service to B’nai B’rith, I have been directly involved in all aspects of our core mission at the local and global levels: From advocating for human rights, to supporting Israel and fighting anti-Semitism, to speaking out for seniors and to providing aid to the victims of disasters. I am eager to honor the roots of this organization while advancing its mission in new ways.”

In his recent capacity as chairman of the Executive Board of Directors, the No. 2 volunteer leadership position in the organization, Saltzman served as the direct liaison between staff and volunteers and represented B’nai B’rith in meetings around the world. Saltzman has dedicated his time, effort and attention to ensuring the international scope of B’nai B’rith clearly represents the core values that launched the organization and that generate respect around the world. World leaders welcome B’nai B’rith to meetings and seek our counsel because of our agenda and purpose. Saltzman notes: “This access allows us the opportunity to make a difference in the world; to be global agenda setters.”

​Saltzman has discussed the singular mistreatment of Israel at the United Nations directly with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He has been involved in one-on-one encounters with a wide variety of foreign ministers and presidents. He’s traveled to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva to decry the chronic mischaracterization of Israel’s human rights record. He was actively involved in the very special interfaith audience with Pope Francis to discuss attacks in the name of religion against Christians and Jews.

“Gary is a pro-active leader who turns ideas into action. His leadership, his command of the issues, his pragmatism and his embrace of change are essential characteristics for a successful president to advance the goals and ideals of our organization,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “I look forward to working closely with Gary.”

Saltzman’s leadership skills were flagged early in his B’nai B’rith work. In 1989 he was named a Label A. Katz Young Leadership Award winner, which is given to individuals under 45 who have demonstrated outstanding service to the totality of B'nai B'rith and have worked to achieve the goals of the B'nai B'rith Young Leadership program.

Over his years of service, Saltzman held numerous leadership positions, including president of the B’nai B’rith Denver lodge, president of the Western Frontier Region and president of B’nai B’rith District 2. Additionally, he was actively involved in the leadership of BBYO on behalf of B’nai B’rith International. He has served as a member of the international Board of Governors, and as a leader on such critical committees as the Futures Committee, Strategic Planning Committee and Budget Committee. He remains a member of the Denver Lodge board.

Professionally, Saltzman is a Certified Public Accountant with the Wenner Group, LLC and a registered investment advisor with Transitions Wealth Management, LLC.

Joining Saltzman are senior vice presidents Eric Engelmayer, Luxembourg; Shel Marcus, Morton Grove, Ill.; Sheila Mostyn, Toronto, Canada; Marvin Siflinger, Framingham, Mass.; Robert B. Spitzer, Seattle, Wash.; Eduardo Weinstein Gottlieb, Santiago, Chile; Treasurer A. Michael Gellman, Potomac, Md.; and re-elected Chief Justice William Peirez, Great Neck, N.Y.
<![CDATA[B’nai B’rith Leadership Concludes Visit to India as Ties to U.S., Israel Strengthen]]>Thu, 05 Nov 2015 01:21:48 GMThttp://www.bnaibrith.org/press-releases/bnai-brith-leadership-concludes-visit-to-india-as-ties-to-us-israel-strengthen

B'nai B'rith leaders meet with MP Tarun Vijay. From left to right: Director of U.N. and Intercommunal Affairs David Michaels, Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin, MP Tarun Vijay, Honorary President Kent E. Schiner,
Executive Board of Directors Member Jorge Stainfeld.
A 20-member multinational B’nai B’rith International leadership delegation has concluded a mission to India featuring an array of meetings with senior government officials, religious leaders, foreign diplomats, civil-society figures and Jewish community representatives. Coming as India's relations with Israel and the United States continue to deepen significantly—and on the heels of a first-time visit to the Jewish state by an Indian president, in advance of one expected to follow by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi—the mission was organized to further strengthen ties with a vital and singularly diverse emerging global power and to encourage India's blossoming friendship with key fellow democracies.

B'nai B'rith is distinguished by a record of engagement with India going back to 1966, when it first established a branch there. Since then, B’nai B’rith has promoted awareness of historical intercommunal coexistence in the Indian city of Cochin, cosponsored holiday celebrations with the embassy of India in Washington, D.C., urged religious freedom for Hindus and others, dispatched humanitarian aid after natural disasters in south Asia, engaged with the Indian-American and other Diaspora communities and honored prominent Indian figures including businessman and philanthropist Ratan Tata. Last year, B’nai B’rith joined in meeting Modi on the sidelines of his first visit as prime minister to the United Nations.

While in India, the B’nai B’rith delegation met with key members of parliament as well as senior foreign ministry and other government officials; preeminent Muslim and other religious leaders; members of the royal families of Udaipur and Cochin; the ambassadors of the United States and Israel; leaders and members of Jewish communities in several cities; and prominent business and think-tank leaders. The visit of the group, which paid tribute to victims of the 2008 terrorist attacks at the Chabad House and other sites in Mumbai, has been reported by major Indian news outlets including The Times of India, The Hindu, Malayala Manorama and Mathrubhumi.

Among the issues discussed by B’nai B’rith leaders with officials in India were international terrorism, Israel's search for peace with its neighbors, the Iranian nuclear program, the United Nations’ posture on the Middle East and the need to promote interreligious tolerance globally.

Those participating in the mission were B'nai B'rith International President Allan J. Jacobs and Judith B. Jacobs, Lake Forest, Ill.; Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin and Michal Mazal Mariaschin, Washington, D.C.; Honorary President Kent E. Schiner and Barbara L. Schiner, Baltimore, Md.; Senior Vice President Charles O. Kaufman and Jennifer R. Kaufman, Austin, Texas; Center for Human Rights and Public Policy and the Office of United Nations Affairs Chairman Joseph E. Harari and Joyce Nazli Beyda de Harari, Panama City, Panama; Executive Board of Directors Member Eric T. Engelmayer, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg; B’nai B’rith Panama Members Sion George Harari and Frida Abadi de Harari, Panama City, Panama; Executive Board of Directors Member Irving Silver and Frances G. Silver, Mobile, Ala.; Midwest Region President Steven L. Horowitz and Sandra W. Horowitz,  Chicago, Ill.; Executive Board of Directors Member Jorge Elias Stainfeld Lieblein and Miriam Link, Montevideo, Uruguay; as well as staff facilitator and Director of United Nations and Intercommunal Affairs David J. Michaels, New York, N.Y.
The B'nai B'rith leadership delegation in front
of the Taj Mahal
The B'nai B'rith leadership delegation meeting with
the Indian Foreign Ministry
The B'nai B'rith leadership delegation at a
reception from the Cochin royal family
Press coverage of the delegation's visit
<![CDATA[B’nai B’rith Applauds Opening Of Compensation Program For Holocaust Survivors Deported From France]]>Tue, 03 Nov 2015 18:58:05 GMThttp://www.bnaibrith.org/press-releases/bnai-brith-applauds-opening-of-compensation-program-for-holocaust-survivors-deported-from-francePicture
​B’nai B’rith International is pleased that an agreement benefiting Holocaust victims who were deported from France to Nazi concentration camps entered into force Nov. 1.
Negotiated between the French and U.S. governments in 2014, the pact will make available $60 million in French government funds, to be distributed by the U.S. Victims or heirs of victims who were transported from France to Nazi concentration camps by SNCF—France's national railway company—are eligible to apply.
Yesterday the State Department began accepting applications online to receive compensation not previously offered those living outside of France.
SNCF transferred more than 70,000 Jews to Nazi concentration camps. Few of those victims survived the Holocaust. Those in the United States and around the world have sought redress for years.
Once again, B’nai B’rith would like to commend the U.S. negotiators, led by Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, and their French counterparts for ending the lamentably long impasse over reparations for Holocaust victims transported by SNCF.
B’nai B’rith also recognizes the French government for its acknowledgement that there are still survivors and family members who were unable to gain access to its earlier compensation efforts. It is part of the continued process of providing a small measure of justice to those who suffered through the Holocaust.
B’nai B’rith International is a founding member of the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) and continues to work with an array of governments and organizations to secure reparations for Holocaust survivors and their families.

<![CDATA[UPDATE: Senate passes Budget deal, B’nai B’rith Pleased to See Budget Deal Includes SSDI Extension]]>Wed, 28 Oct 2015 21:46:31 GMThttp://www.bnaibrith.org/press-releases/bnai-brith-pleased-to-see-budget-deal-includes-ssdi-extension-mostly-avoids-troubling-benefit-changes
Mostly Avoids Troubling Benefit Changes

B’nai B’rith International is pleased to see a bipartisan budget deal passed the through both the Senate and the House of Representatives that funds the government through 2017 and ends several weeks of uncertainty over a potential government shutdown. This major piece of legislation is expected to be signed by President Obama.  
The deal itself, though, is a mixed bag as it pertains to areas affecting seniors and low-income Americans.
First, the deal avoids a debt default, which could destabilize the world economy, and makes a government shutdown in December much less likely. Second, the deal raises the onerous caps on domestic spending for the next two years—evenly split between defense and non-defense programs. This will make it easier for Congress to appropriate funds to domestic human needs programs that provide services to the elderly and those less fortunate. 
Aside from those headlines, the biggest take away from the completion of this deal was that Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) program beneficiaries will no longer be forced to wait in fear that the program will be cut in some way to avoid the anticipated 2016 shortfall. B’nai B’rith has long called for a “clean reallocation,” which would have addressed this Social Security benefit. While this instead comes at some cost, it is a better deal than many feared.
While we support eliminating the relatively minor amounts of fraud in the program, we are still concerned that allocating substantial resources to ferret out these infrequent frauds will shortchange other parts of the program and make DI applicants face longer waits before they can receive benefits. This has already been a significant problem for many years.
B’nai B’rith is also satisfied that there is now a strategy for protecting the 30 percent of individuals who do not receive Social Security and were therefore facing large Medicare rate hikes. The budget shields these people from a confluence of somewhat incongruent states laws that would have enacted steep increases in 2016. While not a perfect solution, the plan in the budget deal is a massive improvement over what would have happened without intervention. 
“Frankly, the deal is better than many aging advocates feared, and the extension of Disability Insurance’s solvency is a great relief,” B’nai B’rith International Associate Executive Vice President Mark D. Olshan said. “We are certainly pleased that many of the long rumored cuts to Social Security and other programs were not included here. While we’d like to see that as a sign those cuts are off the table, we intend to remain outspoken and vigilant in the future to protect these critical programs for older adults.” 
<![CDATA[ B’nai B’rith Condemns British Academic Boycott Of Israel]]>Wed, 28 Oct 2015 20:02:38 GMThttp://www.bnaibrith.org/press-releases/-bnai-brith-condemns-british-academic-boycott-of-israelPicture
Divisive Move Only Serves to Impede Peace

B’nai B’rith International strongly condemns the newly announced academic boycott of Israel by a group of scholars from the United Kingdom.
In a full page ad in the Guardian newspaper called “A Commitment by UK Scholars to the Rights of Palestinians,” more than 300 professors say they are boycotting Israeli universities to call attention to “the intolerable human rights violations” it says Israel perpetrates against the Palestinians.
To be sure, with more than 194,000 academics in the United Kingdom, the 343 signers represent a tiny minority. But such public calls bring disproportionate attention to their misguided view.
It is astonishing to think how these university professors are intentionally ignoring the situation in the region and focusing instead on Israel, while disregarding such realities as the current terror campaign against Jews in Israel, who have been shot, stabbed and rammed with cars by young Palestinians.
The approach a week ago by 150 British artists announcing opposition to a cultural boycott of Israel notes engagement is how to understand others. J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, joined those opposing a boycott.
Academic freedom is a hallmark of the Israeli university system. It is astonishing that these British academics have their eyes trained only on Israel, rather than on the numerous nations which inhibit academic freedom and systematically abuse human rights of their citizens.