The Jerusalem Post publicized the winners of the 2018 B'nai B'rith World Center-Jerusalem Award for Journalism Recognizing Excellence in Diaspora Reportage.
Jerusalem Post columnist and Jerusalem Report senior editor Amotz Asa-El has won the 2018 B’nai B’rith World Center Award for Journalism Recognizing Excellence in Diaspora Reportage.
Asa-El is being awarded for his five-part in-depth series on transitions in the Jewish experience, dealing with geography, solidarity, faith, hate and genius.
He shares the award with Yair Sherki, a religious-affairs reporter for Israel News Company (formerly Channel 2 News) for his incisive five-part TV series Brooklyn Shel Kodesh (Brooklyn – The Holy Borough) on the ultra-Orthodox community in Brooklyn.
A certificate of merit has been awarded to Benny Teitelbaum of the Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation (Kan) for four TV news reports on French and ultra-Orthodox immigrants to Israel and on an emotional mission to Israel by North America Jewish mothers.
The award will be presented at a ceremony on June 5 in Jerusalem with keynote speaker Elliot Abrams, a former US assistant secretary of state.
Since its establishment in 1992, the B’nai B’rith World Center Award for Journalism has become widely recognized as the most prestigious prize in the Israeli media industry for Diaspora reportage and was established to help strengthen the relations between Israel and the Diaspora.
The Jewish Broadcasting Service included coverage of B'nai B'rith International's support for the JUST Act, a bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill requires the U.S. State Department to annually monitor and report the status of other countries' outstanding restitution debts of Holocaust-era assets.
B'nai B'rith International CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin commented to the New York Jewish Week on Natalie Portman's decision not to travel to Israel for the awards ceremony for the 2018 Genesis Prize, which she won this year.
She named her son Aleph. She has emceed Jewish communal events and been praised for her impeccable Hebrew accent. She made a haunting — and loving — Hebrew-language film of iconic Israeli author Amos Oz’s heart-wrenching memoir, “A Tale of Love and Darkness.”
In a world of celebrity Israel boycotters, from Roger Waters to Penelope Cruz, Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman has been an Israel backer — even an Israel lover. But her decision last week not to travel to Israel to accept the $2 million Genesis Prize — regarded as the “Jewish Nobel” — has opened up a rift in the Jewish community and is testing the boundaries of what is acceptable criticism of Israel.
Some Jewish leaders regard her decision as “shameful,” scoffing at her explanation that she decided not to attend because she did not want to be viewed as endorsing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Others, on the other hand, said it demonstrated that one can support Israel but not its “destructive policies.”
As the debate raged this week, still others suggested that Portman was giving voice to the growing divide in the Jewish community over the policies of the Israeli government.
“I think it’s a warning sign to the Jewish community — and especially to Israel — of the increasing pressure upon liberal Jews, even liberal Jews who are very supportive of Israel,” said Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch, spiritual leader of the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in Manhattan.
“It’s a warning that should be taken seriously,” he added.
Rabbi Hirsch described Portman’s decision as “unfortunate,” noting that she had “already agreed to accept the prize when it was offered to her months ago. The reason she ultimately gave as to why she wouldn’t accept the prize didn’t make sense. To accept an award in the presence of the prime minister is not to endorse every action the prime minister takes. The prime minister represents the state. If you get an award, of course public officials are going to show up; what do you expect?”
Portman’s criticism of Israeli leadership — presumably over the recent Gaza border demonstrations and the situation with African asylum seekers— is not coming in a vacuum. It follows that of Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, who, in a New York Times op-ed last month, wrote that the Israeli government was capitulating to religious extremists.
“By submitting to the pressures exerted by a minority in Israel, the Jewish state is alienating a large segment of the Jewish people,” he wrote. “The crisis is especially pronounced among the younger generation.”
And earlier this month, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a staunch pro-Israel supporter, attacked Netanyahu at a J Street Conference for his plan to deport African asylum seekers and for using an address to Congress to speak out against the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
But being the A-list celebrity that she is, Portman’s comments touched a deep nerve in Jewish life and created a firestorm of debate.
The Jewish Insider quoted an unnamed source as saying the Genesis Prize Foundation “went out of its way to accommodate Portman’s concerns about Netanyahu by agreeing that she didn’t have to sit next to him, didn’t have to have him present her with the award and was free to say anything from the lectern she wanted, including whatever critical comments she wanted to level at the current government. However, in the end she insisted Netanyahu not be invited to the event, a demand Genesis couldn’t accept both for contractual and moral reasons.”
The award was established by wealthy Russian-Jewish businessmen in partnership with Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office and the Jewish Agency. Recipients are asked to distribute the money — the award was raised this year from $1 million to $2 million — to charities of their choice. In announcing Portman’s selection this year, the Genesis Prize Foundation said the money would be donated to Israeli philanthropic programs dedicated to advancing opportunities for women.
In accepting the prize last November, Portman — who was born in Jerusalem, moved to the U.S. at the age of 3, was raised in Syosset, L.I., and attended the Solomon Schechter Day School in Jericho, L.I. — said in a statement that she was “deeply touched and humbled by this honor. I am proud of my Israeli roots and Jewish heritage; they are crucial parts of who I am. It is such a privilege to be counted among the outstanding Laureates whom I admire so much. I express my heartfelt gratitude to the Genesis Prize Foundation and look forward to using the global platform it provides to make a difference in the lives of women in Israel and beyond.”
In announcing last week her decision not to attend the awards ceremony in June — the ceremony was then canceled — Portman said in a statement that she “did not want to appear as endorsing Benjamin Netanyahu, who was to be giving a speech at the ceremony. By the same token, I am not part of the BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] movement and do not endorse it. Like many Israelis and Jews around the world, I can be critical of the leadership in Israel without wanting to boycott the entire nation. I treasure my Israeli friends and family, Israeli food, books, art, cinema, and dance.
“There is no question this is symptomatic of a larger problem.”
“Israel was created exactly 70 years ago as a haven for refugees from the Holocaust. But the mistreatment of those suffering from today’s atrocities is simply not in line with my Jewish values. Because I care about Israel, I must stand up against violence, corruption, inequality, and abuse of power.”
Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said that while her decision as “regrettable, it is part of the climate we see today on campuses like Barnard [College] and elsewhere where resolutions are being adopted that are pro-BDS even though they are likely not to be implemented” by the administration.
“It is the bellwether of a problem that we have to recognize and that we are trying to address. I don’t believe we should continue to play up Natalie Portman as much as look at the issues we are confronting regarding anti-Israel activities that often morph into anti-Semitic activities — and the general rise in anti-Semitism in the U.S. and abroad.”
Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, referred to the Portman controversy during an address at the University of Maryland on Tuesday. He said he would have attended the ceremony but also recognizes “Portman’s love for Israel. Those who demonize her and question the legitimacy of her views are poisoning the atmosphere.”
“I don’t know if this [action] will be a catalyst for change, but it is an indication that Israelis and American Jews might be more willing to voice their concerns over Israeli government policy.”
Rabbi Jill Jacobs, executive director of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, termed Portman’s decision “an extremely powerful and important Zionist statement that one can support the State of Israel and oppose the destructive policies of the Netanyahu government. … This is the most rightwing government in the history of the country, and it is threatening democracy and expanding the occupation in such a way that it is violating the human rights of Palestinians and threatening the security of Israelis.”
Similar comments were voiced by other left-wing organizations here.
“We’re thrilled she spoke out,” said Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace. “The more people are willing to talk about these issues publicly, the easier it is for others to do the same — and it is a real indicator of the changing perception of Israel. … We really commend her for her bravery in saying the things she did.”
Libby Lenkinsky, a vice president of the New Israel Fund, said she was pleased that Portman was “using her celebrity platform to say you can love Israel and support Israel and not support all of its government’s policies. … What is important is that she said she loves the people on the ground and doesn’t support the policies of this government or BDS.
“I don’t know if this [action] will be a catalyst for change, but it is an indication that Israelis and American Jews might be more willing to voice their concerns over Israeli government policy.”
On the other hand, Mort Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, was critical of her decision, saying “it as pathetic and shameful that Natalie Portman has such a fear of maintaining her status in the anti-Israel entertainment world that she would stoop to issue false and obscene attacks on Israel to benefit her image among her extremist colleagues. … Her statement portrays Israel as worthy of being boycotted, so she aids the BDS movement. Why has she said nothing about the Palestinian Authority promoting hatred and violence against Jews in every aspect of their culture?”
Rabbi Heshie Billet of the Young Israel of Woodmere, L.I., pointed out in a letter to the editor in The Jewish Week that another vocal critic of Netanyahu’s, David Grossman, sat on the same stage with the “democratically elected prime minister” when he received the Israel Prize for literature this year and even shook Netanyahu’s hand.
“She does not support a democratic Israel,” Rabbi Billet wrote of Portman. “She only supports herself … and is unworthy of calling herself a friend of Israel.”
“The more people are willing to talk about these issues publicly, the easier it is for others to do the same.”
Portman was to have been the fifth winner of the Genesis Prize, joining actor Michael Douglas, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, violinist Itzhak Perlman and sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor.
Dan Mariashin, CEO of B’nai B’rith International, said the award is clearly apolitical and honors those who “serve as an inspiration.”
“To make a political issue out of something that is nonpolitical does not make much sense,” he said. “She said she opposes BDS, but this decision plays right into the hands of the BDS campaign. It has been welcomed as a victory by none other than Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the BDS movement. … She may not see this as a mistake, but if she is against BDS, one would have thought that she would have seen there would be some in that camp who would welcome it.”
But Logan Bayroff, a spokesman for J Street, suggested that “rather than criticizing and attacking her for listening to her conscience, they should recognize that her concerns about Prime Minister Netanyahu and the State of Israeli democracy and policy today are shared by many American Jews and supporters of Israel around the world.”
Instead of refusing to attend the awards ceremony, David Halperin, executive director of the Israel Policy Forum, suggested that Portman should have accepted the award and voiced her concerns at that time, speaking “directly to the Israeli people.”
“This should be a cautionary tale to those Israelis who are dismissing the growing rift between the Israeli government and Israel from progressives and younger American Jews in particular,” he added. “There is no question this is symptomatic of a larger problem.”
datingAdvice.com: B’nai B’rith International: A Nonprofit Organization Where Jewish Members Find Community & Camaraderie
DatingAdvice.com published a feature article about B'nai B'rith International and its 175-year history of philanthropic work around the world.
The Short Version: B’nai B’rith International, the world’s largest Jewish organization, has spent the last 175 years helping its members celebrate their culture while assisting others — locally and around the world. By joining together, the resilient B’nai B’rith community has made major strides in protecting civil rights for all people. The organization provides humanitarian aid and disaster relief both in the United States and worldwide. B’nai B’rith also advocates for senior rights in Washington, DC, and around the country, particularly providing housing for those with low incomes. The organization develops its future through the Young Leadership Network, which gives young adults opportunities to meet and volunteer in the US and abroad while affecting change. Since 1843, B’nai B’rith has been committed to its mission of improving the quality of life for the global community.
Doing kind things for others could make you a happier, more compassionate person. According to a study in the Journal of Social Psychology, good deeds can improve personal life satisfaction — and the effects can be felt in as little as 10 days.
However, not only do altruistic people get a boost from doing good, but acts of kindness can also create a positive feedback loop that reverberates throughout their lives. Research from Harvard Business School shows people who reflected back on a moment of kindness positively were more likely to make philanthropy a key part of their happiness model.
Finding ways to do good works alone is one thing, but connecting with an organization of like-minded people committed to helping through many avenues and initiatives is even better.
B’nai B’rith International is the world’s oldest and largest Jewish organization, and its members have been coming together to bring that philanthropic spirit to others for 175 years.
Rhonda Love, Vice President of Programming at B’nai B’rith International, understands that fostering an altruistic spirit is good for everyone.
“We look at volunteering as something good for you and good for everyone. Sometimes the volunteer gets more out of the program than the person they’re helping,” she said. “At the same time, it is really a great way to meet people and do something different than just a typical get-together, movie, or dinner. It’s getting together and doing something that has a meaningful result attached to it.”
Building On a 175-Year Legacy of Human Rights Work
Since 1843, B’nai B’rith International has been devoted to ensuring a quality of life for all, serving communities in more than 50 countries around the globe. B’nai B’rith has founded hospitals, orphanages, disaster relief campaigns, senior housing communities, child safety initiatives, and tolerance education programs.
The organization also works to promote understanding and combats anti-Semitism by working with government officials, influential business people, and world leaders to protect and ensure civil rights — as well as the support of Israel.
Rhonda and the rest of the staff are especially excited about celebrating B’nai B’rith’s 175th birthday.
B’nai B’rith is celebrating 175 years of impactful work.
“We are really happy to be reaching this milestone. Our 175th Anniversary Gala will be in October in New York along with a leadership conference. The conference will be an opportunity for members and supporters to be a part of the work we do. It’s where policies are made, presentations are done, and interesting people are brought to the table for discussion,” she said.
B’nai B’rith is a sanctuary of sorts for people to reconnect with their Jewish culture, socialize with their community, and do great things in the world.
“People come because they have a special interest. They have groups that are connected by business. We have people who are connected by where they live. We have people who care about a particular issue, so they may be involved in events,” Rhonda said.
It’s also a great place to meet people with similar backgrounds and interests for friendship, camaraderie, or even more.
Providing Humanitarian Aid & Disaster Relief Worldwide
The effects of B’nai B’rith’s humanitarian efforts are felt far and wide. Initially, the founders came together to help provide living expenses, education, and even funeral expenses for members’ families to ensure they didn’t fall on even harder times after losing a loved one. That generosity now extends to people all over the world.
B’nai B’rith has provided disaster relief since the mid-1860s and has helped communities overall since the 1880s.
Rhonda singled out a long-standing program that reflects the tradition of the philanthropic spirit at B’nai B’rith.
“Project H.O.P.E., which stands for Help Our People Everywhere, is a food distribution project, and we have people who have been involved in the program who are now bringing their children to volunteer because they came as children with their parents,” she said. “It’s the type of activity where they can meet socially as well as with their neighbors.”
The organization also supports ongoing international projects like Helping Haiti. Not only did it provide aid when the 2010 earthquake hit, but it has continued to do so through Haiti Grows, an agricultural program that gives Haitian farmers the education, money, and access they need to invest in — and grow — their own land.
Impactful Advocacy for Seniors in 28 Communities
Caring for and supporting the aging population is one of the most critical issues of our time. B’nai B’rith understands that senior citizens are valued members of society and takes a leadership role in providing — and advocating for — senior services.
Rhonda Love spoke with us about B’nai B’rith International’s mission to help others.
Partnering with HUD, B’nai B’rith has helped create 38 buildings in 28 communities expressly for the low-income senior population. This has made the organization the largest national Jewish sponsor of subsidized housing in the US. These communities include 4,000 units, which positively impact more than 8,000 people. The organization also sponsors parent homes all over the world in England, New Zealand, and Canada, among other countries.
“Our senior housing facilities that are located in communities around the United States provide housing for those individuals who have a particular need due to their financial situation,” Rhonda said. “In conjunction with that, there are B’nai B’rith leaders and volunteers working in these buildings and creating a community for the residents."
B’nai B’rith’s Senior Advocacy Initiative works with policymakers all over the country on senior issues such as Social Security, Medicare, stem cell research, and funding for the aging services network. They also send out “Action Alerts” to let people know about pending and proposed legislation and how they can contact elected leaders quickly and easily.
B’nai B’rith: A Network of Jewish Leaders
The Young Leadership Network is an impactful group of upcoming leaders in B’nai B’rith. They meet with other young leaders to exchange ideas and assist struggling communities through events at embassies, missions, disaster rebuilding sites, and fundraisers.
These young leaders, often between the ages of 21 and 40, are a vital force for the future of B’nai B’rith. There are Young Leadership Network groups in six cities across the US: New York-New Jersey, Chicago, South Florida, Washington, DC, Denver, and Los Angeles.
It’s also a great place to meet similarly minded people for friendship and potentially romance. “So many people have had a B’nai B’rith connection. I can’t tell you how many people have called me and said, ‘My parents met at a B’nai B’rith event,’” Rhonda said.
Those interested can join this community that celebrates Jewish culture and heritage, advocates for others, provides aid where needed, and connects with an international Jewish community. It is also a place to socially connect with a new, second family.
“We have groups that get together for Shabbat dinners. We have groups that get together for discussion groups and learning experiences,” Rhonda said. “People who are involved in the organization really care about each other and are there for one another; it’s their B’nai B’rith family.”
The Pitt News publicized the organization of a Holocaust Remembrance Day march at the University of Pittsburgh by B'nai B'rith International's partner organization Alpha Epsilon Pi.
A procession of Pitt community members dressed in black marched from from Trees Hall to the Bigelow Lawn Wednesday night. The mourning colors were worn not just to remember one death, but millions. Pitt’s historically Jewish fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi, held its second annual Walk to Remember with B’nai B’rith International, a Jewish service organization, to honor those who died in the Holocaust and take a stand against rising anti-Semitism.
About 40 members of AEPi and the local community walked in silence Wednesday, followed by a 24-hour commemoration outside the William Pitt Union. AEPi members and anyone else who wanted to volunteer took turns reading the names of Holocaust victims and their places of origin and death from 6 p.m. Wednesday until 6 p.m. Thursday. The event occured in conjunction with Yom Hazikaron laShoah ve-laG’vurah — colloquially known as Yom HaShoah or Holocaust Remembrance Day — which is held annually and lasted from sunset Wednesday to nightfall Thursday.
Gabriel Kaufman, a junior majoring in finance and marketing and member of AEPi, said the event is important not not only to the local Jewish community but to people of all faiths at Pitt. Kaufman was one of the readers at the event and vice president of the planning committee for it.
“Obviously, not everyone is Jewish, but it’s hard to wrap your head around the evil that existed in Europe between 1939 to 1945, and even before that,” he said. “We stand not only against anti-Semitism but against all atrocities that happen in the present or may happen in the future.”
As the years since the Holocaust increase, younger generations are forgetting about the significance of the atrocity and its lasting impacts more and more. A recent study by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany found that two-thirds of American millennials cannot identify Auschwitz — the largest Nazi concentration camp during the Holocaust.
Kaufman reinforced the relevance of remembrance today, even 73 years after the Holocaust. He said the march and name reading is to protest and bring awareness to anti-Semitism and to recognize the impact the Holocaust had on his and his fraternity brothers’ families.
“We’re standing against any future atrocity, any form of racism we’re standing against,” he said. “We realize that’s prevalent in the world and we want to bring a whole new meaning to the words ‘Never Again.’”
According to Aaron Chumsky, a sophomore math and economics major and the Jewish identity chair of AEPi, the frat began working on the event after Winter Break, planning dates and times and reaching out to organizations such as the Pitt police.
“I think it’s important that we celebrate our Jewish identity and that does involve honoring the many who perished during the Holocaust. And also showing that we stand against actions like that and actions of discrimination that are still going on today,” he said.
The gravity of the event and the meaning behind it was not lost on attendees and bystanders, such as Ryan Gill.
Gill, a first year majoring in pharmacy, didn’t go to the march on Wednesday but did attend part of the name reading of Thursday. He described the long time AEPi spent to read all the names as “eye-opening.”
“I was only here for maybe a half hour or so, but he was reading the list and it hit me hard. How many people really died and were killed,” he said.
While Holocaust Remembrance Day only comes once a year, organizers such as Kaufman hope that people take away some of the lessons from the event and think about the effect that it had on Jewish people everywhere.
“And all of our brothers come from different backgrounds, I know that a lot of people have Polish roots. A lot of people have Russian roots like myself — my Mom’s Russian,” he said. “It doesn’t matter where you come from. All Jewish people were affected by the Holocaust.”
JTA News covered the presentation by B'nai B'rith International and other organizations of the Never Again Education Act, which would provide funding for schools to include Holocaust education.
A bipartisan slate of House members is set to introduce a bill that would grant money to Holocaust education in schools.
The Never Again Education Act would establish the Holocaust Education Assistance Program Fund in the U.S. Treasury. A 12-member board would disburse the money to schools.
A draft of the bill, which is to be introduced Tuesday in the U.S. House of Representatives, says the fund would be privately funded.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., is the lead sponsor of the measure.
“Today, those who deny that the Holocaust occurred or distort the true nature of the Holocaust continue to find forums, especially online; this denial and distortion dishonors those who were persecuted, and murdered,” the draft of the bill says. “This makes it even more of a national imperative to educate students in the United States so that they may explore the lessons that the Holocaust provides for all people, sensitize communities to the circumstances that gave rise to the Holocaust, and help youth be less susceptible to the falsehood of Holocaust denial and distortion and to the destructive messages of hate that arise from Holocaust denial and distortion.”
The bill would also create a website that would include Holocaust education resources.
Maloney will launch the bill on Tuesday at the Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights in New York City, accompanied by representatives of Hadassah, B’nai B’rith International and the Association of Holocaust Organizations. The Anti-Defamation League endorsed the bill.
Also sponsoring the bill are Reps. Peter Roskam, R-Ill.; Ted Deutch, D-Fla.; Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla.; Eliot Engel, D-N.Y.; Kay Granger, R-Texas; Nita Lowey, D-N.Y.; and Dan Donovan, R-N.Y. Lowey and Granger are top House appropriators, which suggests the bill likely will pass.
B'nai B'rith International CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin published an op-ed in The Algemeiner about the bias inherent in the European Union's and the United Nations' response to the clash between Israeli military and Palestinian protesters at Israel's border with the Gaza Strip.
Last week’s Palestinian “March of Return” on the Gaza border with Israel produced predictable responses from the European Union and the United Nations.
In a statement, the UN condemned the killing of Palestinians “after (the) peaceful protest turned violent.” It called for an “independent and transparent investigation” of the clashes along the border.
A UN meeting, hastily called on Passover eve, was addressed by representatives of nine countries, as well as the Palestinians’ “Permanent Observer.” During the meeting the word “Hamas” was not mentioned once.
The EU’s senior diplomat, Federica Mogherini, called for an investigation into Israel’s response to the protests. She then used the timeworn line “while Israel has a right to protect its borders, the use of force must be proportionate.” This cliche is invoked whenever Israel needs to use force against terrorists or violent protesters. There was nothing in her statement about Hamas or its role in concocting the crisis, nor its use of human shields or calls for Israel’s destruction.
In their statements, both the EU and the UN called for a resumption of negotiations. Negotiations with whom? Hamas is dedicated to Israel’s demise. It cannot be negotiated with. That call is a misplaced, throwaway line.
There has not been much media analysis of Hamas’ cynical and manipulative effort to exploit the protests in order to raise the profile of the Palestinians after they have been displaced by other crises in the Middle East.
The Palestinian Authority’s ruling Fatah party jumped on the bandwagon, even though it has again had a falling out with Hamas after a brief “reconciliation.” Fatah commented that the Palestinian flag is “soaked in the blood of the martyrs.”
One might say that the EU and the UN are back in their comfort zone on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. The tired warnings about the use of “disproportionate force” and the right of the Palestinians to “freedom of expression” may resound in some Western capitals, but they are increasingly falling on deaf ears in the Gulf and a number of other Arab countries.
These countries know what the Europeans and others will not acknowledge: Hamas is a corrupt actor and its radical Islamic extremism has many of the region’s Sunni regimes in its crosshairs. They also know that the Iranians are pleased to stir the pot against them by using Hamas or other proxies wherever the opportunity presents itself.
How is it possible that the EU, which has designated Hamas a terrorist organization, could not even mention the organization by name when it issued a statement about the Gaza march, which was organized by that very group? Or that Hamas’ daily calls for the destruction of Israel can’t even be hinted at when discussing the motives behind the demonstrations?
Europe is stuck in a time warp when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A friend of the Palestinians on many issues — dating back to its Venice Declaration of 1980 endorsing Palestinian statehood, which it negotiated with Yasser Arafat’s PLO — the EU cannot bring itself to castigate the disingenuousness and obfuscation of the Palestinian Authority. They are doing the same regarding Hamas’ attempts to sacrifice human lives in order to advance its nihilistic and destructive ambitions.
The EU’s double standards on Israel are another tiresome exercise in hypocrisy from Brussels. The Gaza march was not a matter of Palestinian “freedom of expression.” Indeed, what kind of free speech does either the Palestinian Authority or Hamas allow their own people? And even with the EU’s loose border controls, none of its member countries would allow a terrorist-directed and organized “peaceful march” to cross its borders.
As for the UN, its record of anti-Israel bias, especially at agencies like UNESCO and the Human Rights Council is well known and well documented.
For the moment, Hamas has figured out a way to recapture the headlines. It has done so in part because the UN and the EU have once again signaled that Hamas will escape international opprobrium. Left alone in the multilateral area, Israel is again cast as the villain.
By not specifically criticizing Hamas and its role in the march, by not acknowledging the direct involvement of Hamas operatives acting as agents provocateurs on the ground, by not pointing out Hamas’ desire to make “martyrs” of women and children, and by not speaking about that organization’s destroy-Israel-at-any-cost raison d’etre, the UN and the EU exacerbate the crisis — as they have so many other times.
It’s time to stop indulging those who are seeking Israel’s destruction, who look to Teheran for aid and comfort, and who are attempting to bring further chaos to a region that is already wracked by destruction and disorder. The message to the UN and the EU is this: Call out Hamas for what it is or lose whatever remaining relevance you have.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency published archival documents from April 8, 1968. One of the documents describes the memorial service held by B'nai B'rith at its building in Washington, D.C. after the assassination of civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The American Jewish Committee said that several of its officers, led by Bertram H. Gold, executive director, would join the march in Memphis and that its president, Morris B. Abram, would attend the funeral services. William Stern, administrative director of the Workman’s Circle will head a delegation of leaders to the march and funeral and Emanuel Muravchik, executive director of the Jewish Labor Committee, will lead a similar delegation.
Special services were held yesterday in synagogues in memory of Dr. King. Rabbi Martin S. Halpern, president of the Washington Board of Rabbis, and a co-chairman of the Interreligious Committee on Race Relations, participated in religious services in Washington Friday, attended by President Johnson. In Atlanta, a personal message to Mrs. King from President Shazar of Israel was conveyed by Israeli Consul General Zeev Boneh. Mr. Shazar’s message said “the hearts of the people of Israel are with you in mourning the incredibly tragic loss of Martin Luther King, great and noble leader of his own brothers and all seekers for peace and justice.”
Dr. Maurice Eisendrath, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, told the annual meeting of the New York Federation of Reform Synagogues today that Congress should, “without further delay, enact the sorely needed civil rights bill, and enact effective legislation for employment, education. housing and welfare,” He urged that Dr. King’s plan for a “poor people’s March” in Washington this month “should be pursued more vigorously than ever” under moderate Negro leadership and should be supported “by all men of goodwill.” Rabbi Eisendrath urged each Reform member congregation to ask each congregant to send telegrams to his representatives and senators calling for prompt enactment of civil rights and related legislation for the poor and to plan special memorial services for Dr. King.
A memorial service was held in the B’nai B’rith building in Washington, at which two Negro staff members expressed their frustrations and grief but also pleaded for Dr. King’s cause of non-violence. Some 200 colleagues attended the service at which Mrs. Lillian Brown, a clerk, and Clarence Thompson, an assistant supervisor, spoke at the invitation of Rabbi Jay Kaufman, executive vice-president.
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