B'nai B'rith International cited:
by Gil Shefler
A pregnant Darfuri woman at a refugee camp in Chad, a Latino senior citizen living below the poverty line in the Bronx and an elderly Jewish immigrant from the former Soviet Union living in Boston.
They may not know it, but these individuals are all beneficiaries of programs run by Jewish organizations with public money.
Susan Rack, the director of Covenant House, a B'nai B'rith-run home in Boston for the elderly, has a staff of 10 nurses and maintenance workers caring for more than 300 tenants, mostly Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Although the home is in relatively good financial standing thanks to a recently awarded $3 million grant, the current cutbacks might force Rack to reduce salary costs.
"Do we do it by cutting everybody's hours or by cutting one person?" she said. "I'm not sure."
B'nai B'rith runs 38 such homes across the United States, and their directors are likely to face similar dilemmas if federal spending on the elderly is cut.
"If the sequester were to go into effect in two months from now, that could affect our ability to serve residents we already have as well as bring new residents," said Rachel Goldberg, B'nai B'rith's director of aging policy.
In the buildup to the March 1 deadline, B'nai B'rith, the Jewish Federations of North America and many other Jewish groups are lobbying lawmakers in a bid to blunt reductions. In those efforts, Goldberg said, they have found friends and foes on both sides of the aisle.
"At this point, parties themselves have pretty interesting patterns within their caucuses," she said. "We've seen within the Republican Party there were disagreements. We've walked into Democratic offices and found less friendliness than expected and the other way around."
When approaching politicians, Goldberg says, the most important thing to stress is that "spending cuts do not fall disproportionately on low-income citizens and elderly-spending programs...more.
What about the traumatized Israeli children who face incessant rocket attacks from Hamas terrorists in Gaza?
The Jan. 6 news article “In Gaza, a childhood shadowed by conflict” devoted not a single word to the thousands of rockets and mortars Hamas has fired at Israelis since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2005.
War didn’t just strike again, as The Post describes the November conflict. Israel endured days of rocket attacks on its citizens until it began a defensive response to the onslaught. More than 1 million Israelis sought safety in bomb shelters from the Hamas rockets, and the Israeli population lives in fear of the next round of Hamas attacks. But readers wouldn’t know that from this story.
And while Hamas and its allies fire indiscriminately at Israelis, Israel has been extra-mindful of trying to avoid civilian casualties — often putting it at a tactical disadvantage. The Post failed to note that Hamas leaders hide among the civilian population.
The article also left a misleading impression about aid — Israel is permitting humanitarian aid to reach Gaza. Only two months after the latest fighting, Israel is allowing in concrete and building supplies, even though this risks having those materials used in rebuilding tunnels and other facilities used to carry out a war of terror against Israel.
Since its founding, Hamas has called for Israel’s destruction. That has not changed. The Palestinians have refused for years to sit down with Israel to negotiate a peace deal.
Daniel S. Mariaschin, Washington
The writer is executive vice president of B’nai B’rith International.
by Paul Foer
The nation narrowly has avoided falling off the so-called fiscal cliff, at least for a brief time.
Congress retained most tax cuts and cut some spending but continued to put off deeper cuts. The House of Representatives remains deeply divided and at odds with the president but still passed tax increases for the wealthiest Americans, a cornerstone of President Barack Obama’s campaign.
B’nai B’rith, which also expressed reservations about the work left undone, including potential cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, was specific about its support in one area. “Ensuring seniors have access to doctors by stopping a cut in reimbursements to those who treat the elderly is a vital element of this bill,” said B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs.
“We certainly hoped Social Security would be left out because it is self-funded and doesn’t contribute to the deficit, but we have reason to be concerned about that as well,” said B’nai B’rith International Associate Executive Vice President Mark D. Olshan...more.
by Dan Pine & Chavie Lieber
As soon as news broke of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, Mindy Finkelstein crawled under a blanket and sobbed.
The savage shooting of 20 children and six adults last month in Newtown, Conn., brought back her darkest memories...
After the Newtown massacre, a range of Jewish groups — including the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, B’nai B’rith International and the National Council of Jewish Women — threw their support behind measures to limit the availability of guns.
B’nai B’rith issued a statement that read in part: “There is no sane, acceptable, reasonable need in a civilian setting to fire off large rounds of ammunition. It’s time for lawmakers to change the vocabulary. Enact and enforce gun control measures...more.
The furor over former Sen. Chuck Hagel’s nomination for secretary of defense is rippling beyond Capitol Hill as pro-Israeli and gay-rights groups join in opposition.
The former Nebraska senator and decorated Vietnam War veteran is facing criticism for a years-old anti-gay comment and his political views -- including those that suggest some tension with Israel, considered the United States’ closest Middle East ally.
“It seems Mr. Hagel is out of sync with the majority of Americans,” Daniel Mariaschin, executive vice president of B'nai B'rith International, told FoxNew.com on Wednesday. “We are going to press very strongly on issues of deep concern.”
Mariaschin said the major concerns for B’nai B’rith, the international Jewish community service organization, include whether Hagel thinks Hezbollah is indeed a terrorist group and if he would put “all options on the table” to stop Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon, including military action.
“These are questions that need to be asked,” he said...more.
German TV station BR (Bayerisches Fernsehen) aired a documentary called "Zwischen Vatikanstadt und Jerusalem" (translated as “Between the Vatican City and Jerusalem”). The documentary was about the Vatican secretary responsible for relations with Jews, Father Norbert Hofmann, and featured scenes with B’nai B’rith International’s director of U.N. and Inter-communal Affairs.
> Watch the documentary.
During a visit to the Dutch capital’s Portuguese Synagogue, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said European Jews “exemplify cultural integration.”
Barroso, a former prime minister of his native Portugal who today holds the most powerful position in the European Union, visited the synagogue on Jan. 8. He also said Jews were “at the front line of the fight against extremism.”
“For Jews, the Portuguese Synagogue of Amsterdam represents religious freedom, and I think that is part of the importance of President Barroso’s visit here,” Nuno Wahnon Martins, the Lisbon-born director of European Affairs at B'nai B'rith International, told JTA...more.
by Ben Cohen
Like one of those telenovelas that are so popular on Latin American television stations, the slow yet inexorable deterioration of Venezuela’s President, Hugo Chavez, has been soaked in drama and cloying sentimentality.
For almost two years, Chavez has been fighting cancer. And for most of that time, he has been claiming—falsely—to have been cured. But less than two months after winning a fourth term in last October’s election, Chavez was spirited back to Cuba, where Fidel Castro’s doctors have been treating him...
Moreover, even after he is buried, Chavez’s figure will loom large in the political life of Venezuela. Should Henrique Capriles challenge Chavez’s successor, it is probable, according to Sammy Eppel, director of the Human Rights Commission of B’nai B’rith Venezuela, that the “shocking anti-Semitic” caricatures used against him last year will emerge again.
As for Chavez himself, Eppel does not hold back. “Chavez will probably be remembered as the one who made Venezuelan Jews feel that for the first time they were not welcome in their own country, a chilling reminder of past tragedies,” he told me in an email...more.
Cette rencontre s’est déroulée en présence notamment de Serge Dahan, Président du B’nai Brith France, d’Aris Hauptshein, Président du B’nai B’rith Ile de France, d’Yves-Victor Kamami, membre du B’nai B’rith Europe et du Bureau exécutif du CRIF, et de nombreux présidents de Loges du B’nai B’rith venus de toute la région.
Devant une salle comble et attentive, Richard Prasquier a présenté une analyse détaillée et argumentée de l’accélération et de l’aggravation des actes antisémites en France au cours de l’année écoulée, en particulier depuis la tragédie de Toulouse, de leurs origines et de leur nature. Il a notamment été question de l’antisionisme, de l’islamisme radical, de l’influence de certains pays étrangers et du rôle de certains médias...more.
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