The group met with leading members of the Bundestag, senior government officials representing the ministries of foreign affairs and interior, representatives of government agencies responsible for migration and integration and senior advisers in the chancellor’s office. U.S. Ambassador Phillip Murphy hosted the delegation at the American Embassy in Berlin. Topics of discussion included the Middle East peace process, Iran’s nuclear program, transatlantic relations and recent attempts in Germany to ban circumcision.
B'nai B'rith paid a visit to the Central Council of Jews in Germany and its director, Stephan Kramer. They also visited the Memorial for the Murdered Jews in Europe and other Jewish sites in Berlin. The delegation met with leaders of the Jewish community, as well as sites of Jewish interest in Hannover.
The delegation concluded its visit in Hannover as guests of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Germany’s ruling party, at its convention. The convention re-elected Angela Merkel as party leader, and nominated her to head the CDU list in next year’s parliamentary elections. The group met Merkel during the party gathering, two days before her meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in Berlin.
The B'nai B'rith International mission took place only days after the vote in the U.N. General Assembly on a resolution granting non-member state status to the Palestinians. Germany, which had been expected to vote against the resolution, abstained instead. B’nai B’rith, in its statement on the vote, expressed “deep disappointment” in Germany’s abstention and those of other European countries, such as the United Kingdom.
Before 1933, B’nai B’rith had more than 100 lodges throughout Germany. Re-established in the mid-1960s, there are today active lodges in several German cities.
In addition to Jacobs and Mariaschin, the delegation included: Ira Bartfield, B'nai B'rith International senior vice president; Irving Silver, Vice-Chairman of B'nai B'rith International’s Center for Human Rights and Public Policy (ICHRPP); Abraham Mitchell, member of the Board of Governors; Eduard Redensky, of the B'nai B'rith Young Professionals Network; Michael Gellman, ICHRPP board member; Ralph Hofmann, president of B’nai B’rith Europe and Eric Fusfield, ICHRPP deputy director.