Bud Selig, the commissioner of Major League Baseball, will be honored for his humanitarianism by B’nai B’rith International.
B’nai B’rith will present its Distinguished Humanitarian Award to Selig on June 27 in New York City for his efforts in youth education and training, diversity and environmental advocacy.
Among those scheduled to speak at the dinner honoring Selig are Sharon Robinson, the daughter of Jackie Robinson as well as an author and educator, and Joe Torre, a former player and manager, and now Major League Baseball’s executive vice president for baseball operations...more
by Eric Fusfield
Europe's half-solution on Hizbullah is no solution at all.
In a development long awaited and much debated, Europe is finally moving closer to designating Hizbullah a terrorist organisation.
Or is it? Reports of Europe's newfound resolve in stopping the Hizbullah threat, regrettably, may be exaggerated.
The main obstacle in the effort to undercut Hizbullah in Europe has always been France, which has historic ties to Hizbullah's home country of Lebanon. France has long argued that blacklisting Hizbullah would upset the balance of power in Lebanon, where the organisation plays a political role.
In recent weeks, though, French officials have signalled their government's willingness to designate Hizbullah's military wing a terrorist organisation if the latter's role in a bus bombing in Burgas, Bulgaria last year is confirmed. Germany has also indicated it might favour blacklisting Hizbullah's armed branch, while the United Kingdom already has such a ban in place.
With the European Union's ‘big three' – France, Germany and Great Britain – on board, Europe might finally muster the consensus required to impose an European Union-wide ban on Hizbullah's military wing.
But what would such a move really mean? Unfortunately, not as much as Europeans would like to suggest.
A ban on Hizbullah's military branch would not stop the political wing of the organisation from operating openly in Europe, as it has done for years. Raising funds, recruiting, acquiring technological training and materials – all of these activities would continue with impunity. And no authority could stop the political arm of Hizbullah from using fungible assets to support the organisation's military and criminal activities.
Hizbullah is an organisation with a unified command structure that oversees all of the group's disparate, and often illicit, activities. Many of Hizbullah's leaders, including its current secretary-general, Hassan Nasrallah, have been linked to the organisation's terrorist activities; indeed, their terrorist and criminal exploits have been instrumental to their rise within Hizbullah's structure.
What makes Europe's propensity to differentiate between the military and political branches of Hizbullah almost comical is that Hizbullah itself makes no such distinction. “Hizbullah has a single leadership,” Nasrallah's deputy, Naim Qassem, told a reporter in 2009. “The same leadership that directs the parliamentary and government work also leads jihad actions in the struggle against Israel.”
So far the Netherlands is the only EU member-state to blacklist Hizbullah outright, in doing so joining the United States, Israel, Canada, and even Bahrain.
But as the rest of Europe continues to suspend disbelief that Hizbullah is a single entity, the cost of such wilful denial – including the cost to European security – continues to rise. Overwhelming evidence points to Hizbullah's involvement last year not only in the Bulgaria attack, but in a foiled plot in Cyprus, as well.
Hizbullah today is increasingly coming to resemble the Hizbullah of the 1980s and 1990s, when the group routinely attacked civilian targets related to Israeli and other Western interests. Add to this the destructive role Hizbullah is playing in Syria by allying itself with the regime of President Bashar Assad, and the case for Europe blacklisting Hizbullah is more compelling than ever.
Europe's reluctance to ban Hizbullah outright can largely be attributed to fear of armed reprisal at home or abroad, as well as concern for how such a move might stir Europe's own restive Muslim population. However, Europeans cannot continue to mask their fecklessness by embracing the chimera of two separate and discrete Hizbullahs: one political, one military; one good, one bad. The consequences of perpetuating this falsehood are far more frightful than the alternative.Eric Fusfield is deputy director of the B'nai B'rith International Center for Human Rights and Public Policy, which describes itself as a global voice of the Jewish community...more.
by Anthony Santigate
Staten Island Technical High School's own Ashley Deng has won this year's Diverse Minds Youth Writing Challenge with her own children's book, "We Are All Atoms." Her winning book, along with the other winners, were celebrated on Monday at an awards ceremony hosted by the New York Stock Exchange.
Diverse Minds is a contest where high school students write and illustrate children's books to help elementary school children celebrate tolerance and diversity, in line with the goals of the contest's creator, the human rights and advocacy organization B'nai B'rith International.
"We Are All Atoms", written and illustrated by Ms. Deng, uses science to explain that because everything in the world is comprised of atoms, everyone should be treated the same, despite their differences...more
Yesterday, B'nai B'rith International spoke before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva during the anti-Israel "agenda item 7" session. B'nai B'rith addressed UNHRC special rapporteur Richard Falk's appalling recent comments blaming the Boston Marathon bombings on the United States' foreign policy, and urged his removal.
Klaus Netter, B'nai B'rith representative to the U.N. in Geneva, said:Just a few weeks ago, the entire world was shocked to hear and see the bombing that occurred at the end of the Boston Marathon, resulting in the death of three and the injury of hundreds of innocent bystanders. Yet, there were a few contrary reactions, such as the one expressed by the special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories... In the Foreign Policy Journal dated 21 April 2013, he wrote: 'The American global domination project is bound to generate all kinds of resistance... the United States has been fortunate not to experience worse blowbacks.'...more.
Argentina was among six countries to sign anti-discrimination conventions by the Organization of American States.
The nations signed the Inter-American Convention against All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance and the Inter-American Convention Against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Forms of Intolerance on Saturday at the OAS General Assembly in the Guatemalan city of Antigua.
The conventions establish obligations for member states to develop policies and legislation that prevent, prohibit and punish acts of discrimination, including anti-Semitism.
Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Uruguay also signed the document.
“This is a great day for those who hope to live in a world where discrimination and intolerance are pushed to the fringes of society and no longer tolerated,” Allan Jacobs, the president of B’nai B’rith International, said in a statement. “B’nai B’rith has diligently worked for many years for the passage of these conventions. It’s a proud day for us and the Organization of American States.” ...more
by Ron Kampeas
Samantha Power brings to foreign policy an activist impulse that many in the pro-Israel community wish was more prevalent among American diplomats.
Except Power, a former White House national security council staffer nominated this week by President Obama to represent the United States at the United Nations, has at times directed her interventionist inclinations at Israel.
A former journalist and Harvard-educated lawyer known for her work on human rights and genocide, Power presents a rare and polarizing dilemma for the pro-Israel community: Enthusiastically embrace her proclivity for tough U.S. intervention and hope it never manifests in her dealings with Israel? Or block her?
Notably, two groups that maintain a regular U.N. presence, the American Jewish Committee and B’nai B’rith International, had no comment. B’nai B’rith’s said it was withholding approval of Power’s nomination until she addressed her earlier remarks under oath during Senate confirmation hearings.
“Israel has few real friends at the United Nations and at the top of the list is the United States, and it is really incumbent on the representative to be prepared, willing and able to rebuff and repel that kind of language,” said the group’s executive vice president, Daniel Mariaschin...more
by Peggy McEwan
Montgomery County students penned eight of the 10 books that are finalists in the Diverse Minds Youth Writing Challenge, a contest in which high school students write and illustrate children’s books about tolerance and diversity.
The initiative was created in conjunction with B’nai B’rith programs that promote tolerance and communicate a message of equality.
The winning author, or authors in the case of joint projects, will be announced at a ceremony Thursday. The first-place winner receives a $5,000 college scholarship and will have his book professionally published and distributed to local schools and libraries. The winning book also will be published online, available for free download.
The second-place winner receives a $2,000 scholarship, and the third-place winner earns a $1,000 scholarship. In addition, the teacher who oversaw the creation of the first-place submission will receive a $500 stipend to use for classroom or organizational materials and the school will win a $500 grant...more
by Steve Lipman
About a dozen years ago, Frank Lautenberg, then the senior U.S. senator from New Jersey, was invited to serve as keynote speaker at a naturalization ceremony for new citizens that New Jersey’s Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest was hosting.
The invitation was more than a standard offer to a political leader.
The senator, who had authored an amendment to congressional legislation, the so-called Lautenberg Amendment, which helped open the doors of the former Soviet Union, got to see the fruit of his works — some 300 new Americans, most of them Jewish, who had benefited from his work. And they got to thank him.
“Without him, they would not have been there,” said Max Kleinman, executive vice president of the MetroWest federation.
Sen. Lautenberg’s legacy was praised this week across the religious and political spectrum. “A dear friend of the Jewish community,” said a B’nai B’rith International statement...more
Longtime New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg, who died Monday at 89 from complications from viral pneumonia, was praised and remembered fondly by Jewish groups for his support of Israel and long record of public service.
B’nai B’rith International praised Lautenberg’s patriotism and concern for Jews across the world.
“Lautenberg was a World War II veteran and a dear friend of the Jewish community. As a senator from New Jersey for more than 28 years, he was a staunch supporter of Israel, a champion of free emigration for Soviet and Iranian Jews, and a booster of the rights of Jewish refugees from the Middle East,” B’nai B’rith said...more
B'nai B'rith International quoted in a story about Senator Lautenberg's legacy: