B'nai B'rith International is a proud member of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which recently organized a strategic mission to Europe and Israel to meet with political leaders.
B'nai B'rith International President Allan J. Jacobs and Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin were notable members of the mission, introducing key speakers in Europe and meeting with senior leadership in Israel.
Below is a recap of some of the news items to surface from the mission:
Following the tragic and mysterious death of Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman in January, just hours before he was scheduled to deliver his findings on the 1994 AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires, a new name has been introduced to the case.
Daniel Rafecas, a respected human rights and Holocaust expert and former B'nai B'rith Argentina honoree, has assigned the next step of the investigation, according to articles by Arutz Sheva (English), Agence France-Presse (Spanish) and Agence France-Presse (Portuguese).
Separate investigation continues into the circumstances of Nisman's death, details of which are included in the full coverage below:
Por otra parte, el juez Daniel Rafecas, experto en derechos humanos y en el Holocausto, tomará la causa del supuesto encubrimiento de la presidenta Fernández a exgobernantes iraníes.
Rafecas juzgó a militares de la dictadura (1976-83) por delitos de lesa humanidad y por sus estudios sobre la Shoá que perpetraron los nazis recibió los premios Derechos Humanos de la Fundación B’nai B’rith, Moisés 2011 de la Sociedad Hebraica Argentina y Gilbert Lewi de la Fundación Museo del Holocausto de Buenos Aires.
O juiz Daniel Rafecas, especialista em direitos humanos e sobre o Holocausto, acolherá a denúncia de suspeita de acobertamento contra a presidente Cristina Kirchner a favor de ex-governantes iranianos, supostamente envolvidos em um atentado antissemita em 1994, em Buenos Aires.
Rafecas julgou militares da ditadura (1976-83) por crimes contra a humanidade e foi agraciado por seus estudos sobre a Shoá praticada pelos nazistas com os prêmios de Direitos Humanos da Fundação B'nai B'rith, Moisés 2011 da Sociedade Hebraica Argentina e Gilbert Lewi, da Fundação Museu do Holocausto de Buenos Aires.
More on Nisman's Death Below
B'nai B'rith International is thrilled to announce that Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin's inclusion in The Algemeiner Jewish 100 List for 2014.
This is the second year for the list, which is dedicated to "organizations or individuals who have positively influenced Jewish life this past year...These 100 people who have the most positive impact on Jewish life and Israel, men and women, Jew or non-Jew, who have lifted the quality of Jewish life in the past year. Without these 100 individuals or the organizations they represent – Jewish life would not be at the caliber it is today."
The following is Mariaschin's profile, listed in the Community section, with description in its entirety:
Daniel S. Mariaschin has spent nearly all of his professional life working tirelessly on behalf of the Jewish community. Currently, as the top executive officer of B’nai B’rith International, he directs the agency’s work in more than 50 countries.
He also serves as director of B’nai B’rith’s Center for Human Rights and Public Policy, representing the organization to audiences that include Congress and the media.
Mariaschin has met with countless heads of state, prime ministers, foreign ministers, opposition leaders, influential journalists, and clerical leaders.
Each time, his goal has been to advance human rights, help protect the rights of Jewish communities worldwide, and promote better relations with the State of Israel.
Mariaschin: The first distinguishing factor is that B’nai B’rith is the oldest of the Jewish organizations – we’re now into our 172nd year. We’re also an international organization made up of members in nearly 50 countries around the world.
We concentrate on three main areas: One is pro-Israel advocacy and fighting global anti-Semitism. We've had credentials at the United Nations since 1947, and we spend a good deal of our time there fighting bias against Israel.
The second area is senior housing and advocacy. The Jewish community has probably the largest proportion of senior citizens of any ethnic group in this country, so for more than 40 years now we have been sponsoring affordable housing for seniors in conjunction with the Department of Housing and Urban Development – we have more than 40 properties around the United States. We’re also involved in senior advocacy – issues like Social Security, Medicare, etc.
The third area is disaster relief. We help victims of hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis – all kinds of natural disasters around the world.
You were recently involved in fighting HarperCollins after a Catholic news website reported that the publisher had omitted Israel in atlases it was selling in the Middle East. What’s your take on the story?
This is only the latest in a long series of these kinds of omissions. We’ve seen it particularly with airlines omitting Israel on route maps, for example. But HarperCollins’s omission was especially egregious because it is a major general and educational publisher. You know, if we’re going to talk about peace and a peace process, it’s not only for diplomats – it’s for everybody. When a major publisher leaves Israel off a map, what kind of message does that send to schoolchildren in the Arab world?
This incident ended well for a change.
Yes, HarperCollins decided to call the atlases back and pulp the rest, as they say. Hopefully it will serve as a lesson for others because this was just a microcosm of the larger issue of the delegitimization of Israel. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a speech at the United Nations; it can be a decision made in an editorial office somewhere to say, “Look, we don’t want to offend our readers so we think we’ll just leave Israel off.” Hopefully the firestorm around this story will send a message to others that a) it’s unacceptable and b) there are people out there watching who will raise the red flag when they do this kind of thing.
What kind of work does B’nai B’rith do at the UN?
We were actually present in 1945 when the UN was founded in San Francisco, and we received our first credentials as an NGO in 1947.
What has happened over the last 25 years, unfortunately, is that much of our UN activity relates to the demonization and delegitimization of Israel. We feel very strongly about trying to keep the UN honest on this issue. So, for example, in March every year we go for a week to Geneva where the UN Human Rights Council is based and meet with ambassadors. We’re also in Paris at UNESCO.
B'nai B'rith International was one of several Jewish organizations that weighed in on the results of the Greek parliament elections, after victories by the extreme Syriza, Independent Greeks (ANEL) and Golden Dawn parties.
Greece has long struggled to combat anti-Semitism, and B'nai B'rith has followed the situation closely, engaging with government leaders to advocate for tolerance and help diffuse tensions.
Here are notable events from the last three years:
B'nai B'rith International was quoted in an article on JNS.org, which reflected the organization's concerns for the election outcomes.
Read excerpts from the article below:
Jewish leaders have expressed both hope and concern over the outcome of the Greek election on Sunday, in which the radical left-wing Syriza party won 149 parliament seats and 36.3 percent of the vote.
Syriza officials have called for the end of Israel’s “brutality against Palestinians,” and Panos Kammenos—the leader of the right-wing Independent Greeks (ANEL) party, with whom Syriza formed a majority coalition—garnered accusations of anti-Semitism last December for claiming that Greek Jews do not pay taxes.
Golden Dawn, an extreme-right neo-Nazi party, placed third in results that polls suggested were driven largely by voters’ economic concerns.
The Greek Jewish community consists of about 5,000 people out of the country’s total population of 11.2 million, according to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC).
The community has experienced rising anti-Semitic sentiment that is correlated with both the country’s economic crisis as well as escalations in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict such as last summer’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.
B’nai Brith International told JNS.org in a statement that the group is concerned by some “past statements about Israel made by [Syriza] party leaders,” but hopes “that the relationship with Israel, which had been building over the past decade in many fields, will be unaffected by the outcome.”
The Jewish Chronicle of Pittsburgh, Pa. takes an in-depth look at a local chapter of the B'nai B'rith Bowling Association, which has been rolling in western Pennsylvania for nearly 40 years.
The club bowls every Wednesday night at Fun Fest in Harmarville, Pa., beginning at 8 p.m. Current league members range in age from 20-75.
Read highlights from the article, below:
In Harmarville on Wednesday nights, a group of Jewish men bowl. For many of them, this has been common practice for well over three decades.
The bowlers are affiliated with the International B’nai B’rith Bowling Association. For years, between 10 and 15 members of the local group traveled to the International B’nai B’rith Bowling Tournament.
Throughout the year, the group throws multiple social events. In the past, bowling-themed stag parties have occurred at Congregation Beth Shalom in Squirrel Hill, area restaurants or Rivers Casino. At the end of the year, the group hosts a banquet and awards prize money to members.
During the season, bowling occurs on Wednesday nights at Fun Fest in Harmarville, 2525 Freeport Road. Prospective members can contact Neustein at 412-422-2782 for more information.
On this date in 1965, B'nai B'rith International was cited in an article in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency for its efforts to end all religious intolerance in the United Nations.
The advocacy efforts were later detailed by Dr. William E. Korey, director of the New York Bureau of the B'nai B'rith International Council, in the February 1965 issue of the National Jewish Monthly, a publication produced by B'nai B'rith:
This month, the United Nations General Assembly will be deeply involved in creating a historic and powerful legal instrument directed against discrimination on racial and ethnic grounds. The so-called 'Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination' will bind all states that ratify it to take specific measures aimed at removing barriers to human dignity.
The end goal of the Convention was to ensure religious freedom throughout the world. This is a policy upon which the organization has made great strides, and is still vigorously pursued by B'nai B'rith International 50 years later.
Read the JTA article in its entirety, below:
U. N. Body Hears More Jewish Pleas to Protect Religious Rights
January 20, 1965
Two international organizations–one of which has the American Jewish Committee as an affiliate, and the other representing B’nai B’rith and the Board of Deputies of British Jews–urged a United Nations body here today not only to adopt an international convention calling for the elimination of all forms of religious intolerance, but also to formulate procedures of implementation which would put enforcement teeth into a UN document guaranteeing religious freedom throughout the world.
The steps were taken here before the United Nations Sub commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. This 14 member body has before it several preliminary drafts of a religious freedoms convention which became international law when finally adopted by the UN General Assembly and ratified by a sufficient number of member states.
The statements were submitted by the International League for the Rights of Man, represented here by Sidney Liskofsky, a staff member of the American Jewish Committee, which is affiliated with the League; and by Gustav Warburg, representing the Coordinating Board of Jewish Organizations, comprised of the B’nai B’rith and the British Board.
It was a devastating start to the new year in France, as a total of 17 innocent civilians were executed by Islamic terrorists in four separate incidents in Paris.
After a major attack on the satirical publisher Charlie Hebdo on Thursday, the Jewish community was specifically targeted with a deadly hostage situation on Friday in the kosher supermarket Hyper Cacher.
While anti-Semitic attacks in France have largely flown under the radar in recent years, they are increasingly common for the French Jewish community.
B'nai B'rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin was quoted in an article in the Jewish News Service, urging European leaders to be proactive against fanatical Islam.
Read excerpts from the story, below:
Since the March 2012 attack in which Mohammed Merah killed three children and a rabbi at Jewish school in Toulouse, the threat of Islamic terrorism has not let up for Jews and the general public in France.
B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin told JNS.org that those outside of France and Europe should “call on leadership to really begin to address this growing menace” of Islamism.
“These threats are threats [not only to Jews but also] to the democratic fabric of post-war Europe,” and European leaders cannot go on much longer without well-organized efforts to deal with the problem, Mariaschin said.
The maps label Gaza and the West Bank but do not demarcate Israel, instead depicting Jordan and Syria as extending all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.
“HarperCollins regrets the omission of the name Israel from their Collins Middle East Atlas,” the publishing company said. “This product has now been removed from sale in all territories and all remaining stock will be pulped. HarperCollins sincerely apologizes for this omission and for any offense caused.”
“The willful error was exacerbated by the initial tone-deaf defense by HarperCollins of its decision. … Does the publisher’s acquiescence to ‘local preferences’ take into account that many of Israel’s neighbors have the singular goal of destroying Israel and its people?” B’nai B’rith International said in a statement.