The Hebrew Watchman (Memphis, Tenn.) wrote an article for its print edition on B'nai B'rith International's opening of the Disaster Relief Fund. In the story, Disaster Relief Fund Chairman Harold Steinberg is quoted.
The fund was opened in response to the flash flooding that swept through southern Louisiana in mid-August. The catastrophic flood has destroyed about 40,000 homes, displacing thousands of Louisianans, killing at least 13.
Click below if to donate to the fund and scroll down to read the story.
The Australian Jewish News reported on the Anti-Defamation Commission's 2016 Gandel Oration given by B'nai B'rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin.
Speaking in front of 900 people at the St Kilda Town Hall in Melbourne, Australia, Mariaschin discussed how Iran's lust for Israel's destruction, rampant anti-Semitism in majority Muslim countries and the pervasiveness of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has created an environment where anti-Semitism is at a post-World War II high.
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IN Dan Mariaschin’s lifetime in America, anti-Semitism, “one of the world’s oldest and most destructive social pathologies”, has morphed from social bigotry among mid-20th century blue bloods telling Jewish applicants their hotels and schools were off limits, to terrorism in the Muslim world.
Introduced by B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission chair Dvir Abramovich and philanthropist John Gandel, Mariaschin, B’nai B’rith International’s executive -vice-president, delivered this year’s Anti-Defamation Commission Gandel Oration, regaling his 900-strong audience at St Kilda Town Hall with a sobering ledger of anti-Semitism, noting anti-Jewish hatred is now at a post-World War II high.
For Iran, “Israel’s destruction is non-negotiable”, while its Holocaust cartoon competition this year drew 150 entries from 50 countries.
Arab-language media ensure -anti-Semitism pervades the Arab and Muslim world, and Pew Research Centre findings, he said, showed “almost in all of the Muslim-majority countries that it has surveyed, nearly 90 per cent of respondents openly report being … not simply anti-Israel or anti-Israeli, but anti-Semitic”.
In the West, Holocaust deniers claim “Jews are worse than the Nazis and are perpetrating a holocaust among the Palestinians”.
In the US, some academics have reinvented canards about Jews controlling the universities, media and foreign policy, while anti-Semitism in Europe, rising since Israel’s 1967 war, is at its most lethal since World War II.
Israel, unique among nations, finds its very statehood challenged. Boycotts, divestment and sanctions’ “economic warfare has both directly and indirectly been strengthened by the ritualistic mistreatment of Israel in the UN,” Mariaschin said.
Israel’s “staying power, remarkable development and increased population share” mean that, for the first time in its 68 years, it has become “the senior partner in the Jewish world”. But from a high after 1967, young Diaspora Jews are increasingly turning away from Israel, with Pew research showing only a quarter of Jews aged 18-29 “strongly connecting” with the Jewish State.
Ending on an upbeat note, however, Mariaschin cited many of today’s church groups and legislators in the West as supportive, just as historically, Jews found support from some righteous Europeans during the Holocaust.
“To succeed in the battle against the anti-Semites, and the perniciousness of the new anti-Semitism, trumpeted through the internet at the speed of a keystroke, with Twitter, Facebook and other social media placing anti-Semitism within the reach of everyone, anywhere in the world,” he said, “we need friends and allies in the non-Jewish community to aid us in our efforts.”
The Australian Jewish News ran a Q&A with B'nai B'rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin, discussing the current state of global anti-Semitism, combating radical Islam, B'nai B'rith's efforts to fight anti-Semitism and what drives him to work on behalf of the Jewish people.
Mariaschin is visiting Australia and will deliver the 2016 B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission Gandel Oration.
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The Jerusalem Post ran an article on the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organization's initiative to combat the overwhelming anti-Israel bias at the United Nations and its agencies across the globe. B'nai B'rith International is named among the more than 50 Jewish groups who have vowed to help the cause.
Click below to read the article on JPost.com
Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations launches initiative that involved over 50 Jewish groups.
Over 50 Jewish groups joined forces this week to take action against anti-Israel bias at the United Nations and its agencies.
The initiative, which was launched by the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, consists of a formal declaration and a national and international campaign to “counteract the spate of anti-Israel actions at the United Nations.”
“For years we have witnessed and protested the escalating discriminatory practices and actions against Israel at the UN,” Conference of Presidents Chairman Stephen M. Greenberg and CEO Malcolm Hoenlein said in a statement.
“As we have seen in recent months, this bias is being manifested in outrageous and flagrant ways,” they continued.
“These actions not only distort the truth about Israel, they also undermine the principles of the UN and its charter. It has to stop.
“Despite the efforts led by the United States together with Israel and a handful of other countries, vitriolic anti-Israel rhetoric continues to intensify in UN resolutions, reports, and in the official statements from many member states,” the statement continued. “Since November 2012 the Palestinian strategy of using the UN as a weapon against Israel has led to a disturbing increase in the number of anti-Israel resolutions presented in UN bodies.”
They pointed out that resolutions adopted in the General Assembly, the UN Human Rights Council, UNESCO, the World Health Organization, and various other UN-sponsored committees and events “reveal an alarming intensification of baseless accusations and demonizing rhetoric against Israel.”
The declaration, which calls on all UN member states to recommit to the founding principles of “sovereign equality” and to “fulfill in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the United Nations Charter.”
The document urges Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon to join the effort before his term concludes on December 31.
The Conference of Presidents said it would enlist “all people of good will who want the UN to live up to the principles and values on which it was founded, to add their support and join in signing the declaration.”
Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, who has stressed the importance of fighting the anti-Israel bias in the international body regularly since he took office last fall, welcomed the Jewish groups’ initiative.
“While it is not easy to battle the bias we face at the UN on a daily basis, Israel knows that we have no better friends than the [US] Jewish community who are our steadfast allies in this fight against hate and deceit,” he told The Jerusalem Post.
The signatory organizations of the declaration include the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, the Anti-Defamation League, B’nai B’rith, the National Council of Jewish Women, the UJA-Federation of New York, the Union of Orthodox Congregations of America and the Zionist Organization of America.
JTA ran a story on various Jewish leaders' thoughts and reflections on the 22nd anniversary of the AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires. B'nai B'rith International President Gary P. Saltzman was quoted in the article, discussing special prosecutor Alberto Nisman’s “valiant efforts to procure justice for victims of the AMIA building bombing.”
Click below to read the story on JTA.org
The story was also published publish on Forward.com. You can click the button below to read it there
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — Argentine Jewish leaders called on the country’s government to make the investigation of the AMIA Jewish center bombing a “national priority” at a ceremony commemorating the attack that killed 85 and injured hundreds.
Speakers at the ceremony Monday at the site of the rebuilt building also thanked the government for voiding the agreement with Iran to jointly investigate the 1994 bombing, which Iran has been accused of being behind.
President Mauricio Macri, who canceled the memorandum of understanding with Iran last December in his first week in office, attended the event for the first time as president but left early. Other members of his Cabinet stayed for the entire ceremony.
AMIA Vice President Ralph Thomas Saieg praised the “positive nullification” of the Iran pact. Sofia Guterman, whose daughter Andrea, 28, was killed in the bombing, also praised the Macri government for its quick cancellation of the memorandum.
Guterman also told the gathering that the previous governments “talked a lot but did very little. It is time that it promises less and solves more.” She added that if the investigation does not come to a resolution, “we’ll soon have to issue a death certificate for the case itself.”
Saieg called on the head of AMIA Special Unit, Mario Cimadevilla, and Justice Minister Germán Garavano to make the case “a national priority.” There have been no arrests.
“We know you have been in your posts for a short time, but we have been calling for justice for 22 years and bearing the sad reality of not having even one person arrested,” Saieg said.
The late AMIA prosecutor Alberto Nisman was remembered at the event, as well as at the Global Forum Against Anti-Semitism, where a panel on Monday was dedicated to the AMIA attack.
At the panel, Cimadevilla confirmed that he was preparing a law for trial in absentia to be discussed soon in the Parliament. The 250 participants from 17 countries who came to the Buenos Aires forum — the first time it’s been held in Latin America — participated in the AMIA ceremony.
In the 18 months since Nisman’s death, authorities have yet to determine whether he took his own life or was killed by someone else.
“Nisman didn’t kill himself, he was murdered,” Guterman asserted at the panel. “He was assassinated for being the prosecutor of AMIA case.”
Nisman had been scheduled to appear in Congress hours after he was discovered shot dead in his apartment to present allegations that then-President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner orchestrated a secret deal to cover up Iranian officials’ alleged role in the AMIA bombing. Fernandez denied the allegations and judges threw out the case.
In a statement, B’nai B’rith International President Gary Saltzman recalled Nisman’s “valiant efforts to procure justice for victims of the AMIA building bombing.”
The Times of Israel ran a blog written by B'nai B'rith Assistant Director for Latin America Affairs Adriana Camisar reflecting on the 22nd anniversary of the bombing on the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires, the most recent updates to the story and how the victims' families and friends are still waiting for justice.
Click below to read it on TimesofIsrael.com
July 18 will mark the 22nd anniversary of the horrific terrorist attack against the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires, in which 85 people died and over 300 were injured. But the relatives of the victims are still waiting for justice.
For many years, the investigation was plagued by irregularities and delays until 2005, when then-President Néstor Kirchner admitted to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights the responsibility of the Argentine State—among other things—for its deliberate failure to investigate. Kirchner also decided to create a special unit for the investigation of the attack (known as UFI-AMIA) and named young prosecutor Alberto Nisman to run it.
Nisman found, after conducting a lengthy and serious investigation, that the Iranian government had been directly involved in the planning of the attack and that the execution of it had been the responsibility of Hezbollah operatives. He even secured Interpol red alerts for five Iranians and a Lebanese national in 2007.
The case could not advance beyond that, unfortunately, due to Iran's refusal to hand over the suspects, and the fact that in Argentina it is not possible to conduct trials "in absentia."
In an incomprehensible turn, the government of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner decided to sign, in 2013, a "Memorandum of Understanding" with Iran, which provided, among other things, for the creation of a "Commission of Truth" to jointly investigate the attack. This was something clearly absurd given Iran's historic refusal to cooperate with Argentina and the fact that some of the accused were either still in government or had strong connections with the Iranian regime. It was something as absurd as to create a Nazi Commission to investigate the Holocaust.
Nisman's hard work was clearly in danger so, after collecting the evidence, he decided— in January 2015—to accuse Fernández de Kirchner, her Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman, and other members and close allies of the government, of having negotiated the pact with Iran in order to give impunity to the accused, in exchange for trade agreements that included an exchange of grain for oil.
Nisman had to make a presentation before Congress to expand on his explosive allegations, but was found "mysteriously" dead in his apartment the day before.
The investigation into the causes of his death was plagued by embarrassing irregularities and today—more than a year after his death—the justice system could not determine if Nisman was murdered or committed "suicide," as was initially suggested by the government.
Nisman's complaint against the government was rejected in limine (and therefore buried) by a judge, with highly questionable legal arguments.
And the AMIA case itself was put again in a state of limbo. New prosecutors were appointed to replace Nisman by the attorney general of the nation. According to the Argentine Constitution, the attorney general should be an impartial guardian of legality. But the person that sits in that position today is someone who used it from day one to do political activism in favor of Kirchner.
On Dec. 10, 2015, President Mauricio Macri took office and said he would do everything possible to get to the truth.
But the political will of the new government is probably not enough to dismantle the corruption that appears entrenched in the judiciary, the security forces and the intelligence agencies. There are some positive developments that seem to indicate that the judges are more willing to investigate, now that there is a new government in place. But it is still early to know if Argentineans will be able to get to the truth.
It should be noted that recently, the president has supported the proposal made by several civil society organizations that the Council of Magistrates (an impartial body whose supervisory role is enshrined in the Constitution) conduct an audit of the work of the federal courts. If the Council finds that some judges purposely delayed corruption cases, it could impeach them. This would send an important message not only for the judiciary but also for the Argentine society as a whole.
I certainly hope that Argentineans can get to know precisely what happened to Nisman. And I also hope that his complaint against the former government is now properly investigated.
With respect to the AMIA case itself, unless the current attorney general leaves her position, there is no way to guarantee that Nisman's valuable investigation is not distorted. Some lawmakers are trying to impeach her but do not have the necessary support in Congress, at least not for now.
The government, on the other hand, has established a state agency to help clarify both the AMIA bombing and the death of Nisman. Although this entity can provide valuable data to the investigation, it is not judicial in nature. It is playing an important role though in promoting a debate on the possibility of allowing trials in absentia in Argentina.
In sum, at least for the time being, the possibility of getting justice for the victims of the AMIA bombing and for Nisman (who has unfortunately become the 86th victim of this ferocious terrorist attack) seems pretty far away.
Coverage: World Center Recognizes Idan Raichel with Citation for fostering Israel-Diaspora relations
The 2016 B’nai B’rith World Center Award for Journalism Recognizing Excellence in Diaspora Reportaģe ceremony was held on July 7, 2016, and was covered by The Times of Israel and Haaretz.
Winners of the award, which recognizes excellence in Diaspora reportage in Israel print, broadcast and digital media, were Amanda Borschel-Dan, the Times of Israel’s Jewish World editor and Allison Kaplan Sommer, staff writer at Haaretz. Both journalists submitted an impressive array of articles on Diaspora communities and Israel-Diaspora relations published during 2015.
>> Click here for a full recap, including video and photos
Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer delivered the keynote address, which was also covered by The Times of Israel.
Scroll down to read clips of the coverage and links to the full articles...
On Ron Dermer
Israeli Ambassador to the U.S.
On the ceremony
The latter was awarded to the totally charming Idan Raichel, who, though he had to rush off to a performance, nonetheless decided not to cheat the audience at the awards ceremony at the Konrad Adenauer Center in Jerusalem and performed briefly before exiting. In accepting the citation, he spoke with a degree of modesty tinged with pride, saying that in several countries he and his group are regarded as the sound track of Israel, just as Édith Piaf is regarded as the sound track of France, and Miriam Makeba the sound track of Africa.
The Dover Post (Del.) published their Newsmaker feature on B’nai B’rith International Diverse Minds Writing Challenge finalist Jennifer Rust. The Milford High School senior participated in the Delmarva region of the Challenge and placed in the top-five.
Click below to read the story on DoverPost.com
Jennifer Rust is an avid writer and she has always been obsessed with the world of superheroes. The Milford High School senior writes her own books.
So when the opportunity to compete in a writing contest presented itself she was prepared. She entered the B’nai B’rith International Diverse Minds Writing Challenge, which promotes tolerance and communicating equality.
Rust took fifth place and was recognized June 3 at a ceremony at the Delmarva Power Conference Center in Newark.
Since she was eight she has kept a journal by her bed and recorded her dreams and ideas. She hopes to be a screenwriter transcribing her heroes to the big screen.
MORE ABOUT RUST
What did you write?
I wrote a book called Captain Adrian and the Case of the Missing Pillows about a young girl, who in her dreams, becomes a superhero and she fights crime without any powers
I really like superheroes myself and I’ve always wanted to write for comics when I grow up. I felt that taking something that I liked as a child would help me write a children’s book.
What do you like about writing?
I’m not really expressive. I’ve always been a shy person so I’ve never been able to really speak out. Writing gives me a place where I can actually write down my ideas and get them out without having to be loud.
Why pick the topic of bullying?
I feel like bullying is a really sick problem. In a way bullying affects almost all people in some sort of form even if it’s just interracial or sexist. I’ve had friends who have been bullied before. I’ve always been supportive of them and as I’ve seen kids who didn’t have many friends or been bullied I try to help out.
In the book Adrian has to talk to a monster and all the monsters are seen as scary and ugly. She decides to talk to this one monster and she sees that he’s actually not that bad.
What was it like doing the story and artwork?
It was pretty difficult. I was in my school musical and it was a very busy time. I only had a week to do the art so every day after school and practices I would do the art and painting.
Where do you go from this point?
I want to become a screenwriter and minor in illustration so I can do art and still write.
Times of Israel reported on a fresh round of divestment resolutions on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict at the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s General Assembly and B’nai B’rith International’s reaction.
“By showing disregard for facts, nuance and fairness, ideological activists in the PCUSA have continued to make the denomination an agent of division, wholly irrelevant to promoting genuine peace and reconciliation,” B’nai B’rith is quoted as saying.
Two major US Jewish groups have expressed disappointment at the American Presbyterian Church for endorsing a series of resolutions aimed at intensifying pressure against Israel over its West Bank policies at their biennial General Assembly last week.
The Anti-Defamation League and B’nai B’rith International in a statement Monday both charged the measures voted in by an overwhelming majority at the June 24 meeting served to “demonize” the Jewish state.
The new resolutions come two years after the Presbyterian Church USA ordered denominational divestment from three major US companies it said had profited from Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.
Among the Israel-centered measures passed at the biennial assembly was a report titled “Israel-Palestine: For Human Values in the Absence of a Just Peace,” that suggested the church consider alternatives to the two-state solution given “Israel’s policy trajectory of continued settlements and brutal occupation,” which it blamed for the stalemate in peace talks with the Palestinians.
Some church delegates critical of the “pugnaciously flawed” report argued at the meeting its language questioned the right of Israel’s existence as a Jewish homeland, and urged officials to “add content that acknowledges and offers a corrective to the ways anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism complicate global discourse about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
After an amendment affirming Israel’s right “to exist as a sovereign nation” was added to the text, the General Assembly endorsed the report with a 429-129 majority vote.
The General Assembly also passed, by a much wider margin of 407-146, another resolution calling on Presbyterians to “prayerfully study the call from Palestinian civil society for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against the state of Israel.”
While the 2014 meeting approved the divestment from Caterpillar, Motorola, and Hewlett-Packard, an amendment to that resolution explicitly rejected support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions umbrella movement which advocates a much broader divestment strategy against Israel and rejects its existence as a Jewish state.
Titled “Standing for Reconciliation and Ending Affiliation with Divisive Coalition,” the text urged the punitive measure be taken against Israel “until it complies with international law and universal principles of human rights.”
A number of objections to the resolution were addressed by the addition of amendments advising church members that they could also consult “resources that oppose this BDS movement” if they wished.
Denominational publications online noted the objections by dozens of Presbyterian clergy and laypeople ranged from accusations of disproportionate focus on the Jewish state to anti-Semitism.
On Monday, the ADL released a statement denouncing the newly passed resolutions.
“We are deeply disappointed with the Presbyterian Church’s decision to embrace motions which forward arguments in favor of a bi-national state and of the anti-Israel BDS campaign,” said ADL Director of Interfaith Affairs Rabbi David Sandmel.
“The efforts by some in the church to vilify and demonize Israel, rather than promote dialogue and reconciliation, are particularly disturbing,” Sandmel said. “Especially egregious was a video that compared Israeli security checkpoints to the Nazi cattle cars that transported Jews to concentration camps.”
The ADL also praised efforts by delegates who voiced opposition to the resolutions during the meeting.
“We note with gratitude that, despite the efforts of a hostile leadership and activists within the church, rank and file members insisted on reasserting favorable language countering those views which was supportive of Israel’s legitimacy, the Jewish right to self determine and the promotion of Jewish-Christian relations,” Sandmel added.
Meanwhile, the Jewish advocacy group B’nai B’rith slammed the Presbyterian Church for “again display[ing] a stunningly overt preoccupation with demonizing just one side of one complex conflict.”
“By showing disregard for facts, nuance and fairness, ideological activists in the PCUSA have continued to make the denomination an agent of division, wholly irrelevant to promoting genuine peace and reconciliation,” the statement said.
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