Policy & Advocacy
B'nai B'rith International is a Jewish voice on international and domestic policy in defense of Israel.
As the Global Voice of the Jewish Community, B'nai B'rith provides information and resources to support its policies and positions on issues of concern to both Jews and non-Jews.
B'nai B'rith has served as an NGO (non-governmental organization) at the United Nations (U.N.) since 1947. Whether an issue is before the Human Rights Council, the Security Council, or on the desk of a U.N. official, B'nai B'rith leaders and staff provide expert testimony and advocacy for Israel and the Jewish population worldwide. The B'nai B'rith World Center in Jerusalem focuses on Israel and its place in the World. The World Center promotes strong Israel-Diaspora relations.
Domestically, B'nai B'rith advocates on behalf of its members before congressional members and their staffs, government executives and experts in a variety of subjects, and interested parties.
Issues of focus include:
Advocacy on International and Domestic Issues
B’nai B’rith is a vocal supporter of tough sanctions against Iran as a means to stop the Tehran-based regime from advancing its nuclear weapons program. In direct meetings and official letters, we have called on nations around the world to enact the strongest possible sanctions against Iran, the largest state-sponsor of global terrorism. B’nai B’rith has called on the United States and its allies to ramp up all forms of pressure on Iran as the regime continues to delay and dissemble.
B’nai B’rith tirelessly battles anti-Semitism. Through regular exchanges with the U.S. State Department and foreign governments, along with our cooperation with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Organization of American States, we fight to ensure anti-Semitism is spotlighted and deemed unacceptable. B’nai B’rith participated this year in international conferences on anti-Semitism in Poland, Germany and Israel.
Jewish Refugees from Arab Nations: B’nai B’rith Plays Key Role in Bipartisan Congressional Action
B’nai B’rith International played a pivotal role in drafting a bipartisan measure before Congress that would recognize the plight of the nearly one million Jews displaced from their homes in Arab and Muslim nations as a result of Middle East conflict. Under the bill, the State Department would be required to report to Congress on measures it has undertaken to advance the rights of these refugee populations, who have been largely abandoned by the international community.
B’nai B’rith Leaders Meet with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
A delegation of leaders from B’nai B’rith International—including members of the Young Leadership Committee--met with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on March 20 to discuss such pressing issues as Israel’s treatment at the United Nations, the growing nuclear threat Iran poses to the world and the situation in Syria, among other subjects.
B’nai B’rith Meets with World Leaders Attending Opening of U.N. General Assembly
A B’nai B’rith International delegation met with presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers and other senior officials attending the opening of the 68th United Nations General Assembly session in September.
Among the various topics discussed throughout the week of meetings, B’nai B’rith raised the urgent challenge posed by Iran and its ongoing attempt to acquire nuclear weapons capability, the civil war in Syria, a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, and continued bias against Israel within agencies of the United Nations, not least its Human Rights Council (UNHRC). While B’nai B’rith leaders were meeting government officials in New York, a representative of the organization delivered a formal statement at the council in Geneva condemning the body for its unabated fixation on Israel, even as Arab civilians suffer grievously in Syria and other countries in the Middle East.
B’nai B’rith included one of its largest-ever groups of young leaders in these high-level meetings. This new generation of involved Jews is dedicated to the goals and mission of B’nai B’rith, including a strong commitment to communal advocacy.
Housing is one of our main advocacy priorities and what we have learned from more than 40 years in that field has shaped the rest of our “aging policy” agenda.
B’nai B’rith is the largest national Jewish sponsor of low-income housing for seniors in the United States, with 42 buildings in 26 communities. We also sponsor six buildings located in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, Canada, as well as additional facilities around the world. In the United States, we provide safe, affordable housing for more than 8,000 seniors of limited income without regard to race, national origin or religion. In order to fulfill our mission and standards of operations for each building, B’nai B’rith staff provides ongoing training, troubleshooting, programming and advocacy outreach for the entire housing network.
Advocacy and Awareness
As a recognized expert on affordable housing for seniors, B’nai B’rith speaks out against cutting programs that are the lifeline for many of our vulnerable elderly. As members of various coalitions, including the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCAO) and the Elderly Housing Coalition (EHC), we continue to make our voice heard in Congress that we cannot continue to cut programs that affect the lives of low-income seniors. Prior to the Sequestration cuts in March, we organized a congressional outreach and media campaign to get the word out that the federal spending cuts would hurt programs that benefit low-income elderly, and we continue the holistic approach to blending our housing and advocacy with both programs and issues.
We call on Congress to support and expand existing housing, but we also address other federal policies that affect the lives, of older adults.
This year we have focused on Older Americans Act programs that fund everything from Meals on Wheels to adult day care services, as well as on protecting Social Security and Medicare benefits. These programs all work together to provide the safeguards that allow low-income elders to age in place and safeguard the future of all the nation’s retirees. We continue to find new ways to extend the reach of our housing and advocacy programs through new social media, while also using new workplace technology to make communicating within the housing network easier and more effective in advancing our shared goals.
Israel and the Middle East
Our World Center in Jerusalem keeps us well connected to events and leaders in Israel.
B’nai B’rith leaders met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Nethanyahu and various Members of Knesset in December to discuss such issues as the Iranian nuclear threat, the peace process and Israel’s mistreatment at such global venues as the United Nations.
This year, we took part in the inaugural meeting of the Knesset Lobby for Combating Anti-Semitism. And we continued to recognize and encourage Israel-Diaspora relations.
The World Center hosted its 21st award for Journalism Recognizing Excellence in Diaspora Reportage. This coveted award has an impressive array of judges and winners over the last two decades.
Since 1985, the World Center has attracted major speakers to deliver the “Jerusalem Address” —established as a forum to address fundamental challenges facing Israel and the Jewish people. This year, noted British novelist and columnist Howard Jacobson was our featured speaker. His address received media attention from countless media outlet in Israel.
The B’nai B’rith World Center in Jerusalem and the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL-JNF) held a unique, joint Holocaust commemoration ceremony dedicated to the heroism of Jews who rescued fellow Jews during the Holocaust. Taking place at the Martyrs’ Forest “Scroll of Fire” Plaza with about 900 people in attendance, 29 rescuers citations were awarded to Jews or their descendants who assisted other Jews in escaping to a safe haven or employed subterfuge, forgery, smuggling, concealment and other methods to ensure the survival of Jews from the Holocaust in Europe.
For more information about B'nai B'rith legislative initiatives, call 202-857-6545 or email email@example.com.