From March 14 to March 16, some 25 B’nai B’rith leaders and supporters met with senior diplomats from roughly 30 countries, including the United States, India, Brazil, Australia, Canada, Jordan, Mexico, Togo and the United Kingdom. B’nai B’rith International President Gary P. Saltzman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin led the delegation.
“The Council spends an inordinate amount of its resources attacking Israel — a thriving, open democracy living in a dangerous region frequently characterized by tyranny and chaos — at the expense of helping the victims of acute human rights abuses throughout the world. Member states that want this Council to have any credibility on human rights issues must undertake a concerted effort to eradicate the bias inherent in the UNHRC,” Saltzman and Mariaschin said from Geneva.
During the trip, the delegation held meetings with member states to discuss serial human rights abusers such as Iran and Syria, and the UNHRC’s obsessive focus on Israel under “Item 7” — a permanent agenda item aimed only at Israel, while all other country situations are handled under a different agenda item.
The delegation also hosted a diplomatic reception at the Palais des Nations, the U.N.’s European hub, with numerous ambassadors. The chef de cabinet of the Geneva U.N. director-general and the Israeli ambassador addressed the assemblage and saluted B’nai B’rith for its 175-year history and unparalleled record of engagement at the world body.
In addition to Saltzman and Mariaschin, B’nai B’rith was represented by: Chairman of the Executive Peter Perlman, Detroit; Senior Vice President Sheila Mostyn, Toronto; B’rith B’rith primary UNESCO representative and Executive Board of Directors member Stéphane Teicher, Paris; B’nai B’rith Executive Board of Directors member Seth Riklin, Houston; B’nai B’rith Executive Board of Directors member Brad Adolph, Chicago; Chair of the International Center for Human Rights and Public Policy Charles Kaufman, Austin, Texas; B’nai B’rith Canada Senior Honorary Counsel David Matas, Winnipeg, Canada; International Council of B’nai B’rith member Paolo Foa, Milan; Board of Governors member and Executive Director of the AEPi Foundation Andy Borans, Indianapolis; Board of Governors member Dan Tartakovski, Mexico City; Director of the London Bureau of International Affairs Jeremy Havardi, London; Uri Strauss-Aronowitz, Miami; President of the Mordecai Lodge Ada Sadoun, Grenoble, France; B’nai B’rith Young Leadership Network member Jessica Kreger, Miami; Mindy Stein, New York; David Calo, Milan; Azaria Acher, Geneva; Nurit Braun, Geneva; B’rith B’rith primary UNHRC representative Klaus Netter, Geneva; Richard Sadoune, Geneva; Felipe Corbal Vidal, Mexico City; and Director of U.N. and Intercommunal Affairs David Michaels, New York. Isaac Besalel, Efrem Edel and Alon Vita represented AEPi.
Michaels coordinated the meetings in Geneva together with U.N. Affairs Program Officer Oren Drori, from New York.