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(Washington, D.C., March 12, 2019)–A high-level B’nai B’rith International delegation visited the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, where top lay leaders and staff challenged the body’s exploitation as a political tool against Israel. The group met with UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay and diplomats accredited to the body.
On March 10th, 11th and 12th, B’nai B’rith leaders met with more than two-dozen ambassadors and other senior diplomats from countries including Australia, Brazil, Egypt, France, Germany, Japan, Nigeria and Russia.
B’nai B’rith International President Charles O. Kaufman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin led the delegation.
“UNESCO was founded to promote cross-cultural understanding and international cooperation, but too often, it has been misused as a tool to lend legitimacy to anti-Israel sentiment,” said Kaufman and Mariaschin. “At the beginning of this year, the United States and Israel withdrew from UNESCO, prompted by its membership’s anti-Israel bias. We regret that the pernicious politicization that has infected much of the U.N. has so deeply affected UNESCO as a result of exploitation by the Palestinians and those associated with them.”
B’nai B’rith continues to work with UNESCO to strengthen the agency’s commitment to its core mission and positive programming, including Holocaust remembrance and combating intolerance.

In addition to Kaufman and Mariaschin, B’nai B’rith was represented by: Seth Riklin, chairman of the Executive; Stéphane Teicher, senior vice president and chair of the International Center for Human Rights and Public Policy; Scott Knapp, senior vice president; Serge Dahan, president of B’nai B’rith Europe; Andrew Borans, Executive Board of Directors member; Paolo Foa, Executive Board of Directors member; Philippe Meyer, president of B’nai B’rith France; Jacques Jacubert, head of the B’nai B’rith International office in Paris; David Matas, B’nai B’rith Canada Senior Honorary Counsel; Annie Cohen-Ganouna, B’nai B’rith UNESCO delegation member; members of the Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) fraternity; David Michaels, B’nai B’rith director of U.N. and Intercommunal Affairs; Ben Naegele, director of the B’nai B’rith office of European Union Affairs.
Michaels coordinated the meetings in Paris together with U.N. Affairs Program Officer Oren Drori, from New York.


The B’nai B’rith International delegration with UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay (center) in Paris.