Taarifa covered the news that B'nai B'rith International is among the organizations that will convene a conference in Kigali, Rwanda to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
Aegis Trust, the Embassy of Israel in Kigali and B’nai B’rith International will convene a conference in Kigali dubbed “Incitement and Dehumanization as Precursors to Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity”.
The conference will take place at the Kigali Marriott Hotel on Monday, February 3, 2020.
This international event is bringing together distinguished officials, scholars, activists and survivors, from and outside Rwanda to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz, signaling the final chapter of the Holocaust as well as reflecting on the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, ahead of Kwibuka 26 to be observed on April 7, 2020.
Participants will examine forms of indoctrination to hatred, fanaticism and violence that have historically led to mass atrocities, as well as relevant contemporary challenges and some approaches to trauma and future prevention.
“Especially nowadays, when we witness more and more antisemitism in Europe and elsewhere, we are proud and honored to partner with an organization like Aegis Trust and B’nai B’ rith International to provide a platform to discuss important issues like how to fight anti-Semitism and denial of the Genocide Against Tutsi”, says H.E Dr. Ron Adam, Ambassador of the State of Israel in Rwanda.
From B’nai B’rith World Center – Jerusalem Director, Alan Schneider and B’nai B’rith International Director of UN and Intercommunal Affairs, David Michaels, says, “As critically as guns and knives, it is words that kill. No one is born seeing others as less than human.”
He added that, “As we again see the surging of fanatic ideology around the globe, it is urgent that we address the incitement and indoctrination – the violent words – that lead to the most violent of actions.”
Meanwhile, the Aegis Trust Founder & CEO, Dr. James Smith, said that, “The failure to prevent genocide against the Armenians, Jews, Cambodians and Tutsis in Rwanda is a lesson for our time. When we don’t call out antisemitism, racism or any form of injustice, we are part of the problem.”
“To stop hate destroying, we must Stand Together and as Aegis Trust, we are pleased to welcome scholars, practitioners and policy makers from across the globe in this important conference to exchange knowledge and experiences, reflect and take action against growing antisemitism and genocide denial in all its forms,” Dr. Smith said.
JNS.org covered B'nai B'rith International's support for the Never Again Education Act, which was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.
On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which commemorates the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed on Monday the Never Again Education Act, a bill that seeks to expand Holocaust education in the United States.
The final tally was 393-5, with four Republicans and one Independent, Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, voting against the bill.
If enacted, it would expand the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s education programming to teachers nationwide, requiring the museum to develop and disseminate resources to improve awareness and understanding of the Holocaust and its lessons.
The bill heads to the U.S. Senate, whose version slightly differs from the one in the House.
“We have learned over time that it’s not enough to simply condemn these attacks and disgusting actions,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), who co-introduced the bill with Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) last year, at a press conference on Capitol Hill on Monday ahead of the House vote.
“We also need to get to the root causes of the hatred, denial, intolerance that drives these acts,” she continued. “Studies have shown that education is one of the best ways to knock down the lies and the denials, and foster mutual understanding and respect.”
Under the House bill, which had 299 co-sponsors—204 Democrats and 95 Republicans—$2 million would be allocated annually for this year and each of over the next four years to the Holocaust Education Assistance Program Fund, administered by the USHMM’s governing body, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council. Private donations for the fund would be permitted.
“It’s a start, butit’s an important start,” Maloney told JNS at the press conference when asked how the bill would keep up with the demand in terms of funding for Holocaust education.
The original House version designated the U.S. Department of Education to oversee the program. The Senate version, which was introduced in July by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), is identical to that. It currently has 28 co-sponsors: 18 Democrats, nine Republicans and one Independent.
“We’re two different bodies,” said Maloney when asked by JNS about the discrepancy.
She explained that “there was some disagreement about how the curriculum should be handled and I just felt that it would be better to move it to the Holocaust museum where it would become the prime focus of that museum to tell the story, to preserve it and to combat anti-Semitism.”
The legislation would create an online Holocaust-education repository of resources for educators to teach both middle-school and high school students about the genocide that killed 11 million people, 6 million of whom were Jews.
Additionally, the House bill would establish a 12-member Holocaust Education Advisory Board to carry out the responsibilities under the bill.
Three of the members would be appointed by the Senate majority leader, three by the House speaker, three by the Senate minority leader and three by the House minority leader. Each member would serve a four-year term with four of the members serving an initial six-year term. Vacancies wouldn’t affect the board’s powers.
Currently, 18 states either encourage or require teaching about the Holocaust.
One-third of Americans believe murder of Jews ‘exaggerated’
A survey released last year by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany revealed that a third of all Americans believe the scope of the murder of Jews in the Holocaust has been exaggerated.
The data showed that the large swath of Americans believe that just 2 million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust, rather than 6 million.
In addition, 45 percent of Americans could not name any of the 40 ghettos or concentration camps erected by the Nazis, with a whopping 66 percent of millennials being unable to state the significance of “Auschwitz.”
While 93 percent of those polled said they believe students should learn about the Holocaust in schools, 70 percent said people are less concerned about the Holocaust than in the past, and 58 percent said a Holocaust or similar catastrophe could occur again.
“Holocaust can be referred to, for instance, a nuclear Holocaust, a natural disaster Holocaust,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer at the press conference. “But this is a very specific type of Holocaust. And it is hate against a people because of their ethnicity, their religion, their color of skin, some factor that should be irrelevant.”
Less than half of Americans, some 45 percent, know that 6 million Jews perished in the Holocaust, while 29 percent weren’t sure or had no answer, according to a Pew Research Center study released on Wednesday.
However, 69 percent of respondents correctly said that the Holocaust was between the years 1930 and 1950, while 63 percent of respondents correctly defined the Nazi-created ghettos as “parts of town where Jews were forced to live.”
Moreover, 43 percent of participants responded that Adolf Hitler became German chancellor “by Democratic political process,” while 25 percent replied “by violently overthrowing German government.” Another 28 percent saying they didn’t know or had no answer.
According to Pew, “the data suggests that relatively few people in this group express strongly negative feelings toward Jews,” and that “respondents who get more questions right also tend to express warmer feelings toward Jews.”
Maloney had introduced the Never Again Education Act numerous times over the past years, first doing so 20 years ago.
“It’s not easy to pass a bill in the United States Congress,” she said when asked why it took so long for the bill to finally come up for a vote.
“This has been a divisive Congress in many ways. First of all, you have to find the right people to work with you. And I thank Stefanik and [Nebraska Republican Rep. Don] Bacon for coming forward and working so vigorously for it.”
Maloney noted that it’s “hard to move” a bill unless “there’s a groundswell of support from the American people.”
She said that after talking about the bill at the Jewish Community Relations Council in her district, where Hadassah CEO Janice Weinman was in attendance and approached the congressman to give her organization’s support on behalf of its 300,000 members nationwide and making the bill a top priority for Hadassah.
‘Legislation addresses critical need for our country’
Along with Hadassah and the Holocaust museum, other organizations that support the bill include the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Congress.
“This legislation addresses a critical need for our country and an urgent priority for Hadassah,” said Weinman in a statement. “It is imperative that we make every effort to push back against the hatred, bigotry, anti-Semitism and extremism fueling violent attacks—and the best way to do that is by passing the Never Again Education Act.”
“Improving the availability and enhancing the quality of Holocaust education is within our reach. Educators deserve our full support in their efforts to instill its universal and timeless lessons in every generation,” she continued. “The House has spoken clearly and on a bipartisan basis. Now is the time for the U.S. Senate to make the same powerful statement by quickly passing the Never Again Education Act.”
ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt told JNS that “we are pleased that the House has taken action today, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, to ensure that the lessons of the Holocaust will be passed from one generation to the next. We look forward to this law’s swift passage and to working closely with teachers and districts across the country to ensure that Holocaust education is uniform and consistent across the country.”
In a statement, American Jewish Congress president Jack Rosen noted that “with anti-Semitism experiencing a sharp resurgence across the nation and the world, it has never been more important for our youth to be educated on how 6 million men, women and children were brutally murdered against a backdrop of collective silence.”
B’nai B’rith International CEO Daniel Mariaschin told JNS, “The importance of this act, especially in this 75th year after the Holocaust cannot be overstated. Making available the resources to tell the story of the Holocaust to new generations of Americans is absolutely essential to ensuring ‘Never Forget.’ ”
Rabbi Aryeh Spero, president of Conference of Jewish Affairs, told JNS: “It is a worthwhile attempt to help reduce anti-Semitism and credit should be given to those who are trying to stem anti-Semitism.”
“I do, however, hope that it speaks directly to and stays focused on what the Holocaust was about: Jew-hatred and the destruction of the Jewish people,” he continued. “I hope it does not become so universalized, as we have often seen, that the specific intent of the Holocaust is lost in a general and overarching theme about hate in general or intolerance in general … the Holocaust was designed as the mechanism to specifically erase forever the Jewish people in a Final Solution.”
Malcolm Hoenlein, executive chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, told JNS that the bill’s passage was “an important bipartisan action taken on the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Education is an important component in the battle against Jew hatred. But it must be part of a comprehensive program including raising the penalties for hate crimes.”
“As with most bills, this one went through many versions. Bottom line it is clear that younger generations of Americans need to learn the lessons of the Shoah, especially in a time of increased anti-Semitic acts and rhetoric,” the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Rabbi Abraham Cooper told JNS. “This bill will help guide teachers and curricula issues.”
B'nai B'rith International Honors WWII-Era Philippines President Manuel Quezon for Saving 1,300 Jews during the Holocaust
On January 27, 2020, in commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, B'nai B'rith International held an event at the United Nations to honor World War II-era Philippines President Manuel L. Quezon for saving the lives of 1,300 Jewish refugees during the Holocaust. Read coverage of the event below.
The Oporto covered an interfaith initiative in the Oporto, Portugal community that has received support from B'nai B'rith International.
Oporto is steeped in Catholicism. While our city may be best known for its wine production, it is now also home to a pioneering interfaith initiative.
The one lesson we can draw from history is that we never learn from history. Unfortunately anti-Semitism has resurfaced throughout Europe. It has taken a pernicious, often vicious turn. Too often, the story of small Jewish communities is one of a fight for survival. In Oporto, however, we have decided to combat this new strain of anti-Semitism through dialogue, collaboration and education.
Towards the end of last year, the Jewish and Catholic communities of Oporto came together to maximise what they had in common as opposed to focusing on what divided them. Interfaith initiatives are commonplace but as far as we know, this was a unique project, attracting support from many quarters, including B’nai B’rith International and The Vatican. Notably, the Pope himself wrote offering his prayers and good wishes.
Oporto’s Catholic body has an enviably rich history. It can trace itself back to the sixth century, has an imposing Episcopal Palace which is a visible landmark, while the Diocese comprises about two million people. By contrast, the Jewish community consists of roughly 400 members – albeit with the striking Kadoori Mekor Haim synagogue, being the largest in the Iberian peninsular.
Noting the disquiet in Europe, some members of the Jewish community wondered whether the Catholic community would join with them in combatting this new iteration of anti-Semitism. But this was not to be through sermons or discussions in an echo chamber, but by participating in a ground-breaking interfaith project. We may have different rites, rituals, and language, but one point of commonality is that we both have faith, the faith in a Power greater than ourselves. And this was a spark which generated the idea for this project.
Our project stemmed from a friendship and collaboration protocol, signed in 2018, between our two communities. While that delivered a closer understanding, we were also keen to capitalise on the growing relationship and over a period of months agreed on a series of initiatives that would help some of the most vulnerable in the wider community in and around Oporto. We will be actively working together to help the elderly, the sick and children contributing to a range of charities which have these key groups as beneficiaries.
This is a chance also to celebrate the richness of our distinct religious and cultural heritage, make a break with the divisions of the past and look ahead together to a more tolerant and supportive society. As a first step, we have produced a programme of four films, that bring to light some little known acts of kindness and religious tolerance as well as giving a historical account of the history of Jews in Oporto from the Middle Ages to the modern day. All the proceeds generated from the films will be donated to our selected charities.
With so much attention and concern expressed over the resurgence of anti-Semitism across the world, we want this collaboration to stand as a beacon of hope for others and a re-awakening of Jewish life in Oporto and beyond.
This initiative has caused us to join in friendship to celebrate each other’s differences and collaborate to help those less fortunate than ourselves. For in doing so not only do we banish anti-Semitism, but unite in acts of lovingkindness and justice. This is the history we are now writing, together.
Arutz Sheva covered news of a commemorative event hosted by B'nai B'rith World Center-Jerusalem and the Philippine embassy in Israel on Jewish refugees in the Philippines.
The Philippine Embassy in Israel, in partnership with the B'nai B'rith World Center, will be holding "Safe Haven: Jewish Refugees in the Philippines", a commemorative event held in tandem with an event in New York hosted by the Philippine Mission to the United Nations in New York, B’nai B’rith International, and the US-Philippine Society, to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day on 27 January at the Balai Quezon.
The event will take place at the Embassy of the Philippines in Tel Aviv, 18 Bnei Dan Street at 18:00 PM (arrival and registration from 17:30).
The event, which focuses on Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon's landmark "Open Doors Policy" offering safe haven in the Philippines to Jewish people fleeing the Holocaust in Europe, will feature a panel discussion with Professor Robert Rockaway of Tel Aviv University, as well as screenings of excerpts from ABS-CBN iWANT documentary, The Last Manilaners, and Star Cinema's feature film on President Quezon's decision to accept Jewish refugees, Quezon's Game.
Mr. Max Weissler and Ms. Margot Pins Kestenbaum, the two "Manilaners" still living in Israel, will attend the event as special guests.
From 1937 to 1941, President Quezon extended visas to Jewish refugees who sought to escape the growing terror of the Holocaust in Europe. This policy, which came to be known as the "Open Doors Policy", led to the entry of close to 1,300 Jewish refugees to the Philippines, where they settled in Manila - leading them to refer to themselves, fondly, as "Manilaners". This little-known part of the shared history between Filipinos and the Jewish people was first brought to light in Frank Ephraim's book, Escape to Manila, and has since become the foundation of bilateral relations between the Philippines and the State of Israel.
Balai Quezon, the Philippine Embassy's cultural center, was inaugurated in 2019 to build awareness of President Quezon's policy and its impact on Philippine-Israel relations.
The Jewish Broadcasting Service covered testimony B'nai B'rith submitted to the Committee on Homeland Security in advance of a hearing on domestic terrorism. The testimony advocated for anti-Semitism countermeasures, including the appointment of a special coordinator on anti-Semitism based in the Department of Justice.
The National Herald - Mitsotakis Meets with Board of Greek-American and American-Jewish Organisations
The National Herald covered a meeting between Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and representatives from B'nai B'rith International, AHEPA, AHI and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. The meeting occurred during the group's biannual trilateral mission to the Eastern Mediterranean.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met on Thursday with the boards of Greek-American and American-Jewish organisations that are touring Cyprus, Israel and Greece.
Mitsotakis received the delegations at 13:00 at the Maximos Mansion. During the meeting, the organisations reaffirmed their close cooperation for the promotion of stability, peace and prosperity in the Southeastern Mediterranean region via the coordination of actions and of the cooperation between Greece, Israel and Cyprus.
The National Herald covered the second leg of B'nai B'rith International's biannual trilateral conference with AHEPA, the AHI and the Conference of Presidents. This leg of the trip took place in Cyprus.
AHEPA under the leadership of George Horiates along with the American Hellenic Initiative (AHI), the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish American Organizations, and B’nai B’rith continued their joint oversees mission in Cyprus. After a highly successful first leg in Jerusalem, the delegation went to Cyprus.
After their arrival, the delegation had meetings with Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Christodoulidis, Presidential Commissioner for Humanitarian Issues and Overseas Cypriots Photis Photiou, House of Representatives President Demetris Syllouris, National Guard Chief of the General Staff Lt. General Ilias Leontaris, and the U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus Judith Garber.
AHEPA Supreme President George Horiates met with President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades. Photo: FacebookThe delegation was also received at the Presidential Palace by the President of the Republic of Cyprus Mr. Nicos Anastasiades.
The parties discussed many issues including the East Med bill, energy and security issues and the trilateral partnership between Cyprus, Greece, and Israel.
The trilateral conference between these Greek and Jewish organizations was particularly recognized as being of significance. The delegation continues on to Athens for a round of talks in Greece tomorrow.
Director of Latin American Affairs Eduardo Kohn in Semanario Hebreo Jai - ¿Alguien no sabe dónde están los asesinos?
B'nai B'rith International's Director of Latin American Affairs Eduardo Kohn published this Spanish-language op-ed in Semanario Hebreo Jai about how justice has still not been served in the death of Jewish prosecutor Alberto Nisman.
A casi 5 años del asesinato del Fiscal Alberto Nisman
En pocos días, cuando sea 18 de enero,se cumplirán cinco años desde la muerte del Dr. Alberto Nisman,el Fiscal de la causa AMIA que iba a declarar al día siguiente en el Congreso y denunciar a la Presidenta de Argentina, a su Canciller y a todos los involucrados en la masacre.
Pero Nisman no pudo hablar. Se convirtió en la víctima 86 del atentado a la AMIA.Y su muerte no pudo ser formalmente declarada como homicidio. Así como no se puede, y no se podrá llevar a juicio a los que diseñaron, planificaron y ejecutaron la masacre de la AMIA porque están protegidos en distintas ciudades de Irán,tampoco parece haber forma que Nisman pueda descansar en paz.
Tampoco descansarán en paz las casi 180 víctimas que viajaban en un avión civil de línea ucraniano que Irán derribó de un misilazo y dijo después que "fue un error humano",y culpó del error a Estados Unidos.O sea, como Irán aduce que podría haber habido hostigamiento de parte de Estados Unidos,la culpa de creer que un avión civil era un misil es...de Estados Unidos. Los asesinos,muy tranquilos.
En 1992,volaron la Embajada de Israel en Buenos Aires.
En 1994, volaron la AMIA.
En 2015,callaron a Nisman.
Los aliados de Irán en América Latina hacen silencio, y es lógico. Son cómplices conscientes y fervorosos.
Los demás,¿creen que el silencio puede impedir que el próximo misilazo caiga más cerca?
Obvio que los que pueden hablar, y hacen silencio,saben que es una vía que deja abierta todos los riesgos frente a los que no tienen pudor y piensan que el otro es el enemigo, y matar puede ser "un error".
A cinco años de su muerte,Nisman está por ser asesinado otra vez.
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