"Those who commit horrific acts of terrorism and those who sponsor such evil must be held accountable and this decision sends a very strong and timely message. In an era of rising terrorism, this brave verdict sets a legal and moral standard for the often onerous pursuit of justice against perpetrators.
"Moreover, this verdict is a symbolic victory for the families of those Americans killed by the PA and the PLO in the past, such as the U.S. Ambassador to Sudan Cleo Noel, Jr., who was taken hostage and shot by PLO militants in 1973."
Last week, curious to see what effect, if any, the rhetoric from the higher-ups is trickling down, I accompanied a delegation of American and European Jewish students at the European Parliament for a seminar that included panel discussions about anti-Semitism with EU officials and lawmakers. My conclusion: not very much.
The sessions were all conducted off-the-record and arranged by B’nai B’rith International and B’nai B’rith Europe for about 20 members of the Delegation of Jewish American Students, or DOJAS. Nuno Wahnon Martins, director of EU Affairs at B’nai B’rith International, said the seminar aims to demonstrate how the European Union’s work influences discussions about issues that concern the Jewish community.
For me, the meetings turned out to be a sobering experience.
One lawmaker who described himself as active in the fight against anti-Semitism went on to tell the group that Israeli actions sometimes cause anti-Semitism and that he hoped Israel — by ending controversial policies like expanding West Bank settlements — would help him combat anti-Semitism.
One speaker, a young Jewish counterterrorism expert from France, recalled his anguished but resolute response to the killings in France.
“I realized things are going to change, there will be more attacks from time to time,” he said in the matter-of-fact way that Israelis talk of living with terrorism. “And that we should not panic or leave, because it’s not the end of the world.”
Students at Seton Hall University helped residents at two senior living communities dig out their cars after recent snowstorms.
The volunteer effort came through SOS—South Orange Seniors—who reached out to the Seton Hall University Division of Volunteer Efforts to shovel out cars at South Orange B’nai B’rith Federation House on South Orange Avenue and Village Apartments of the Jewish Federation on Vose Avenue.
Eight students showed up with shovels in hand on Saturday, Jan. 31 and on Tuesday, Feb. 3 to clear snow from residents’ cars in the communities’ parking lots.
The students enjoyed some warm-up time afterwards with grateful seniors over hot chocolate and cookies. The Seton Hall University volunteers were Jack Yang, Daniel Chemey, Sahil Trivedi, Alyssa Morrissey, Jenna Copperwhite, Marissa Hutton, Veronica Beck and Amanda Cavanagh.
The following op-ed appears on FoxNews.com, written by B'nai B'rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin. In the piece, Mariaschin delves into the continued lambasting of Israel at the United Nations Human Rights Council and how the latest "fact finding" report on the summer war in Gaza set to be released next month will only be more one-sided criticism.
Read it in its entirety, below:
Hamas launched thousands of rockets at Israel last summer, and hid its weapons in schools, including United Nations-run facilities and other civilian sites.
Yet, in a July 2014 report issued by the U.N. Human Rights Council directly in the wake of the rocket attacks, the agency lambasted Israel, and rehashed every charge seemingly ever made against the Jewish state.
And it is about to do it again in a report due next month.
In last year’s resolution – which ran four single-spaced pages -- Hamas, incredibly, was never cited by name.
That 2014 resolution was the usual U.N. stew, referencing previous anti-Israel measures and new allegations about Israeli “human rights violations.” It came out of yet another special Human Rights Council session unfairly attacking Israel. This, too, would not be unusual for the U.N. since nearly one-third of all special sessions of the Human Rights Council are devoted to the situation in the “Occupied Palestinian Territories.”
The initial resolution was notable for its focus on Gaza, with little regard for the impact of the indiscriminate firing on Israelis. The resolution charges Israel with indiscriminate attacks and grave “human rights violations.” But there is no condemnation for all of the indiscriminate Hamas rocket barrages that ignited the conflict last summer or any note that Israelis have been the targets of indiscriminate Hamas rockets for well more than 10 years.
What about the human rights of Israeli citizens?
This willful and perverse omission of Hamas from the resolution was not only brazen, but also par for the course for the Human Rights Council, which, at a time of global turmoil, particularly in the Middle East and Southwest Asia, still devotes more time and attention to Israel than to human rights crises in such places as Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Sudan and Syria.
And now we are on the eve of results from yet another U.N.-sponsored “fact-finding” effort about Israel.
Should we expect anything different from the report due next month? Not really.
The council conducted its investigation through an appointed commission and began reaching its conclusions under the leadership of William Schabas, an outspoken and unabashedly biased critic of Israel. Though Schabas stepped down from his position this month once it was revealed that he had been a paid consultant for the Palestine Liberation Organization, his anti-Israel writings were already well-documented public knowledge. Yet he was still chosen to lead this supposedly “independent” panel, despite a chorus of criticism when he was named to the post. His very presence on the committee from the get-go prejudiced the outcome of its findings.
The “evidence” this panel has collected against Israel ought to be discarded and the work of the committee discontinued. There was never even a veneer of neutrality in the decision to convene the investigation in the first place.
Schabas’ appointment to the panel, in fact, reveals the way the United Nations does business when it comes to Israel. He is not the first critic of Israel to lead a U.N. investigatory body. This panel is just more proof of continuing bias. Sadly, it will probably not be the last.
How did the panel come about? In what has become a standard pattern at the United Nations, the Human Rights Council declared that Israel was already guiltya priori of a variety of crimes. Then it formed a new committee and charged it with investigating those crimes. Basically, it reached its conclusion, and then sought evidence to support it.
While the Schabas departure has resulted in a new chair in place, and while the final results could possibly change, that is not likely. Since the commission was formed with a pre-conceived notion, and since Schabas shepherded the lion’s share of the commission’s work, and with expectations high about its harsh criticism of Israel, don’t bet on any surprises.
The oft-used cliché, “we’ve seen this movie before,” is highly applicable here.
Every time a U.N. committee writes a report about Israel or resolutions are adopted criticizing the Jewish state, it further marginalizes the United Nations as a reliable venue for conflict resolution, and proves once again that the world body cannot speak with credibility on these issues.
Soon, the United Nations Human Rights Council will once again turn its attention to the annual “Item 7” on its agenda. That is the basket of anti-Israel resolutions taken up each session that speaks to the heart of this credibility gap. The voting blocs at the U.N. always march in lockstep, blindly castigating Israel. If they were honestly interested in a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they would realize that condemning Israel year after year contributes only to un-meetable Palestinian expectations and justifiable frustration on the part of Israel.
In turn, Israel then sees an organization unfairly obsessed with Israel at the expense of addressing serious fires burning in the Middle East and elsewhere. You would think Israel’s critics would try carrots, but instead they keep applying bigger sticks.
Therein lies the problem with the forthcoming “Schabas report,” the expected support once again for Item 7, and by extension, a failed United Nations system.
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:
On Feb. 5, 2015, B'nai B'rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin was named to The Algemeiner Jewish 100 List for 2014.
B'nai B'rith United Kingdom President Eve Swabe congratulated Mariaschin in a statement posted on the B'nai B'rith UK website, and through personal correspondence.
Read a recap of their correspondence, posted below:
B'nai B'rith International kicked off February with a European Union Activism Seminar for college students, co-hosted with B'nai B'rith Europe, DOJAS and EUJS. The 20 participants came from a diverse background and geographic area, traveling from 19 different countries on four continents.
The primary goals of the seminar were providing an overview about how the EU works, building skills of advocacy with EU institutions and discussing issues that matter to the Jewish community.
B'nai B'rith organized panels with civil servants, diplomats, elected members of the European Parliament, lobbyists and staffers to show the participants how policy is made in the EU, from both an inside and outside perspective.
Jeremy Levin was a participant in the week-long seminar and left inspired to do more to advance Jewish causes in the EU.
"Last week was a phenomenal week, and I wanted to thank you for organizing the panels, meals, housing, and more for the EU Activism Seminar," Levin said. "I learned much more than I could have imagined, and have already begun to share my findings with friends and family, both within the EU and all over the world.
"Handfuls of people have contacted me with an interest in learning about our seminar, in addition to the great organizations that put on the event. I am gladly sharing what I gained while in Brussels."
Leeor Groen took advantage of the networking opportunities and is pursuing an internship to delve deeper into the world of Jewish advocacy.
"I am really appreciative of the unique opportunities we had and the things we got to see and do," Groen noted. "I took a particular interest in the work [Head of International Affairs in the Italian Ministry of Economic Development] Pasquale De Micco was doing, given that this is my field of study.
"I am very open to any opportunities and would really value the opportunity to come back."
View a slideshow from the event, below (all photos courtesy of EUJS):
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