The Algemeiner included B'nai B'rith International's statement in its coverage of the response to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution opening an investigation into Israel.
Israel outrightly rejected a resolution adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Thursday to open an ongoing investigation into alleged human rights abuses and crimes committed by Israel.
“Today’s shameful decision is yet another example of the UN Human Rights Council’s blatant anti-Israel obsession,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “Once again, an immoral automatic majority at the Council whitewashes a genocidal terrorist organization that deliberately targets Israeli civilians while turning Gaza’s civilians into human shields. This while depicting as the ‘guilty party’ a democracy acting legitimately to protect its citizens from thousands of indiscriminate rocket attacks. This travesty makes a mockery of international law and encourages terrorists worldwide.”
The resolution was adopted following a vote of the 47 UNHRC member states on Thursday. A breakdown of the result shows that 24 member states — including Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Uzbekistan and Venezuela — voted in favor of the resolution. Among the nine members who opposed the resolution are the UK, Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic. The remainder abstained.
The vote on establishing a commission of inquiry comes after Israel and Hamas agreed to a bilateral, unconditional ceasefire on May 21 that ended 11 days of deadly fighting. The inquiry will begin a probe into incidents that occurred both before and after April 13, 2021 and include the recent clashes with the Hamas terrorist organization.
“Israel cannot and will not cooperate with such an investigation,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry stated. “Israel will continue to defend itself against the terrorism of Hamas and against politicized international bodies that seek to delegitimize our lawful and just actions.”
“Any resolution that fails to condemn the firing of over 4,300 rockets by a terror organization at Israeli civilians, or even to mention the terror organization Hamas, is nothing more than a moral failure and a stain on the international community and the UN,” the ministry said. “Israeli security forces acted with the highest ethical standards, in accordance with international law, in defending our citizens from Hamas’ indiscriminate rocket fire.”
UN high commissioner for human rights Michelle Bachelet told the council Thursday that Israeli strikes on Gaza could constitute war crimes, and that Hamas rocket fire into Israel had violated international humanitarian law.
The Thursday resolution also urged all member states to “refrain from transferring arms when they assess, in accordance with applicable national procedures and international obligations and standards, that there is a clear risk that such arms might be used in the commission or facilitation of serious violations or abuses of international human rights law or serious violations of international humanitarian law.”
“The world turned upside down,” said Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Twitter. “Instead of the free world speaking out clearly against Hamas and its terror leaders[,] the UN Human Rights Council makes an inexplicable decision against Israeli citizens who faced the criminal fire of thousands of missiles against innocent civilians.”
Israel’s Ambassador to the United States and the UN Gilad Erdan called the probe “outrageous” and the resolution “antisemitic.”
“This is not the first time that the UNHRC has established a commission of inquiry against Israel. It only shows that this “human rights organization” is obsessed with villainizing Israel rather than focused on human rights violations around the world. Since its establishment, the UNHRC has proven that it is morally corrupt,” Erdan said.
Erdan noted that nine of the 30 special sessions held by the UNHRC were solely focused on Israel, and did not include resolutions against human rights violators such as Syria and Iran.
“For years the HRC has been creating a parallel universe where Hamas and Israel are given a moral equivalence, a parallel universe that has no grip in reality, where politics prevails over human rights. This session and this resolution are no different,” said Meirav Eilon Shahar, Israel Representative to the United Nations and International Organizations in Geneva. “The resolution has nothing to do with reality, has nothing to do with human rights, and definitely has nothing to do with promoting dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians.”
Leading US Jewish groups also condemned the resolution, with B’nai B’rith International President Charles O. Kaufman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin calling it “as predictable as they are damaging to the cause of human rights.”
“By obscenely blaming the victim, council members have rewarded the terrorism of Hamas, which is bad for Israelis, for Palestinians and for peace, they said in a statement. “The council now seeks, on an ‘ongoing’ basis, to strengthen both unjust claims of discrimination inside Israel itself and dangerous Palestinian efforts to have counterterrorism hindered by the International Criminal Court.”
CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin published an op-ed in the Algemeiner on the need to abandon "the 'conventional wisdom' on Israel" and amend policies and ways of thinking toward the situation in Israel and Gaza.
With Secretary of State Antony Blinken visiting the Middle East this week, it’s time to do some real-time stock-taking before plunging into initiatives or prescriptives that could lead quickly to yet another round of fighting.
Unfortunately, the series of battles between Israel and Hamas invite the worst kind of conventional wisdom, which has been disproved time and again over the past 20 years: the moral equivalency, the rote professions of “Israel has a right to defend itself,” followed a week later from the same quarters by statements that the Jewish state must demonstrate restraint and that its response to Hamas must not be “disproportionate.” This is followed by the media’s near total ignoring of the lengths to which the Israelis go to protect civilians during warfare, and then facile calls for a two-state solution as the remedy for all this.
This horrible cycle of events suggests that few lessons have been learned over time.
Now, let’s take a look at some of these steps in greater detail.
Moral equivalency: it beggars the imagination that after all we know about Hamas — its charter (which calls for the destruction of Israel and is filled with antisemitic language), that it cynically uses human shields to protect its missile launchers and leadership hierarchy, and the fact that the organization is on the terrorism lists of many countries — why it is not held to account in the court of international public opinion?
The United Nations Security Council statement calling for an immediate ceasefire could not even bring itself to mention the word “Hamas” in its text.
When some members of Congress, in their Twitter hemorrhaging, can’t find a few characters to unequivocally condemn the indiscriminate targeting of Israeli civilians by 4,000 Hamas rockets, what should we expect from those in the media who react similarly in their coverage — or from the pro-Palestinian mobs that have begun attacking Jews in New York, Los Angeles, and in cites large and small around the world?
Rote professions: With the exception of countries like Austria, the Czech Republic, and Slovenia, which flew Israeli flags from government buildings in solidarity with the Jewish State, and Germany, which issued a strong statement in support of Israel, most democracies uttered only feeble confirmations of “Israel’s right to defend itself.”
Of course Israel has a right to defend itself; but this has become an obligatory and hollow statement, especially when followed only days later by calls to stop the fighting, interrupting Israel’s attempt to fully degrade Hamas’ ability to strike again.
If Hamas is on so many state terrorism lists, why not demand that Israel finish the job?
And this leads in to another glossed over aspect of the fighting: the extraordinary attention Israel pays to avoid civilian casualties.
The media plays, ad infinitum, video clips of imploding and bombed out buildings in Gaza. Notwithstanding Israel’s detailed explanation of how it deploys the “door knock” method of warning building inhabitants of imminent strikes, accompanied by drone surveillance to make sure civilians are not in the area; phone calls and text messages that are also sent as warnings; and Israel’s pinpoint identification of hundreds of military targets spread amongst Gaza’s civilian population, it seems that such care is dismissed — or, perhaps more to the point, gets in the way of the story the media wishes to tell, which is that Israel is callous (and often worse) when it comes to protecting civilians on the ground.
The rush to a two-state solution: in a perfect world, this would be the answer to resolving such an intractable conflict. But since the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993, we’ve learned a lot about Palestinian resistance — not reluctance — to concluding an agreement. The prospective partner in this case, the Palestinian Authority (PA), led by Mahmoud Abbas, has rejected numerous attempts brokered by the United States and others to resolve the conflict. Not at Camp David in 2000, nor after Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, not at the 2008 Annapolis Conference, nor after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s conciliatory speech at Bar-Ilan University in 2009, nor during the Kerry Initiative of 2013-2014, did Abbas show serious interest in recognizing Israel as a Jewish state and getting down to the business of concluding an end of conflict and renunciation of claims.
Just weeks before the disturbances on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, the White House announced that it would resume funding to the PA, as well as resuming its substantial contributions to UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which serves Palestinians in the region. The aid to UNRWA will resume, despite its innate corruption and its incitement of hate toward Israel and Jews in its network of schools and other organizations.
But despite the renewal of American aid, Abbas failed to send any signals to calm the situation. Instead, knowing his Fatah faction would be badly beaten in elections slated for March 22, he called off the vote, blaming Israel and, to boot, inciting and exhorting the mobs on the Temple Mount as a means of deflecting an outcry over his electoral decision.
A two-state solution, in the context of the current crisis, now seems more than unrealistic. Given the crisis of the past few weeks, we might one day be looking at Hamas rule not only to Israel’s south, but also to its east, in the West Bank. Why would any Israeli government, having lived through decades of terror and rocket attacks, look to make itself even more vulnerable?
And there’s one other abashedly glossed over and ignored piece of this puzzle: Hamas is in the thrall of Iran, which is seeking to completely surround Israel by well-armed proxies, all the time genocidally calling for “Zionism’s excision” from the Middle East.
All this, while the United States and its P5+1 partners (the US, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany) eagerly pursue negotiations with Iran and a return to the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Agreement), which would remove sanctions imposed on Tehran for its nuclear program and its blatant attempts to advance it.
Many Hamas rockets and missiles are surely stamped “designed in or made in Iran.” Did the P5+1 condition future discussions with Iran on a cessation of its military relationship with Hamas and its other Gaza proxy, Islamic Jihad?
Hamas has thanked Iran for its help, and the Iranian leadership has congratulated Hamas on its “victory.” Need we better proof of what is going on here?
Simple formulations like “restoring calm,” reviving negotiations with rejectionist partners, and refusing to call out Iran’s role in the fighting will only bring about another round of battles, unless they are accompanied by tough and unequivocal demands. Hamas must be disarmed, the Iranian missile pipeline to Gaza must end, and the Palestinian Authority must get out of the business of speaking one way to Washington and European capitals, and another way to the people it says it represents.
This means recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, ending its call for a “right of return” for millions of refugees (now numbering over 5 million, according to a biased and hypocritical count by UNRWA), and an end to glorifying terrorists and riots, and paying salaries to terrorists who kill and attack Jews.
And one reminder to US policymakers this week — Israel is our ally and friend. Take a look at the correlation of voting at the United Nations; Israel votes more with the United States than our European allies. It shares our values, including the premium placed on human life. It is the only democracy in a Middle East filled with autocracies and worse. It has made tremendous contributions to improving the lives of all through medicine, science, technology, and more. And it is a country, ancient in time, but re-established in the last century on the ashes of a 12-year attempt to eliminate the Jewish people in its entirety.
It’s time to discard the “conventional wisdom” on Israel.
Patch included B'nai B'rith International's response to the Congressional resolution aimed at preventing a sale of arms to Israel in its coverage of a pro-Palestinian protest held in New Brunswick, New Jersey and the response to President Joe Biden's approval of the arms sale to Israel.
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — A rally in support of Palestinians will be held this Saturday afternoon in New Brunswick. The rally will begin at 4:30 p.m. at 126 College Avenue in New Brunswick.
The protest is organized by the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
That same group held a similar rally at 5 p.m. Friday, May 21, at Albert Hinds Plaza in Princeton, and also organized a massive rally last weekend on the streets of Paterson. Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh reported 4,000 people attended that protest.
Also on Friday, CAIR and other Muslim groups held a protest outside the Jersey City office of Senator Bob Menendez, calling on Sens. Menendez and Cory Booker to block the sale of weapons to Israel.
That protest was expected to happen at 3 p.m. Friday at Mendendez's office at 210 Hudson Street, Harborside in Jersey City.
Earlier this week, President Biden approved a $735 million arms sale to Israel. Congress reps such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) are all currently trying to block the arms sale.
Senator Bob Menendez is the chair of the Senate committee on Foreign Relations. Senator Cory Booker also sits on this committee. Neither Booker or Mendendez, both viewed as strong Israel supporters, are trying to block the arms sale, but Booker did publicly call for a cease-fire this week.
CAIR-NJ is a Muslim advocacy group, and in a statement this week, CAIR-NJ director Selaedin Maksut said: "The 'unshakable' friendship with Israel is shaking across America, and the world ... In an unprecedented fashion, New Jerseyans of diverse backgrounds from across the state are standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people."
However also on Friday, B'nai B'rith, a staunch defender of the state of Israel, said their group "vehemently rejects a Congressional resolution aimed at preventing the sale of arms to our ally in the Middle East: Israel."
"Israelis have endured 11 days of indiscriminate rocket attacks from Gaza targeting civilians. These sales, which President Joe Biden has already approved, keep Israel safe," said the group. "As Israel and Hamas announce a cease-fire agreement, efforts underway in Congress could hamstring the Jewish state in future defensive operations against Hamas and Hezbollah."
Hamas is listed by the U.S. State Department as a foreign terrorist group.
"We reassert and reaffirm our support for Israel's right to self-defense," said B'nai B'rith. "This is an important moment for the United States to reassure its democratic ally in the Middle East of its staunch and unwavering commitment."
Worldwide Faith News (WFN) published some recent B'nai B'rith International press releases on its site. WFN is a database of documents, including press releases and policy statements, from the news offices of faith-based organizations around the world.
The San Marcos Record previewed a conversation B'nai B'rith International President Charles Kaufman will be having with the Rotary Club of San Marcos, Texas on the challenge of tackling rising anti-Semitism.
Charles Kaufman, president of B’nai B’rith International, will discuss the continuing challenge of antisemitism at the May 12 meeting of the Rotary Club of San Marcos. Rotary meets at noon at the San Marcos Academy and visitors are welcome.
B’nai B’rith, founded in 1843, has fought against various forms of antisemitism, from the blood libels of centuries past and pogroms of Europe, to negative narratives about the state of Israel. B’nai B’rith is also a service and humanitarian organization with chapters in more than 50 countries on five continents. It is a major sponsor of nonsectarian, affordable senior housing in the U.S., and has engaged in disaster relief services for 150 years.
In addition to his leadership role at B’nai B’rith, Kaufman is on the faculty of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Texas State University. His early career was in newspaper journalism, from which he transitioned to owning a public relations firm in Austin. He teaches public relations and advises a student public relations agency at the University. He also co-authored a textbook titled, “Engaging Public Relations.”
Rotary is a nonprofit, nonpolitical, and nonreligious service organization. The San Marcos Club celebrates its 100th Anniversary on Dec. 1, 2021. The club provides scholarships and does a wide range of local service projects, as well as participating in international projects sponsored by Rotary International and the Rotary Foundation.
For more information about B’nai B’rith: https://www.bnaibrithorg/aboutus.htmland the Rotary Club of San Marcos: https://smtxrotary.com/.
B'nai B'rith International has received significant news coverage since announcing the winners of its 2021 B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem Award for Journalism Recognizing Excellence in Diaspora Reportage.
Since its establishment in 1992, the award has recognized excellence in reporting on contemporary Diaspora Jewish communities and on the state of Israel-Diaspora relations in the Israeli print, broadcast and online media. The award is widely recognized as the most prestigious prize in the Israeli media industry for Diaspora reportage and was established to help strengthen the relationship between Israel and the Diaspora.
See how media outlets noted this year’s announcement:
Israel Hayom (English):
Israel Hayom (Hebrew):
The Algemeiner included B'nai B'rith International's response to the U.S. administration's decision of continuing not to attend any events celebrating the 20th anniversary of the infamous Durban Declaration in its roundup of responses from Jewish and pro-Israel organizations.
Leading Jewish organizations welcomed the Biden administration’s decision to stick to the US policy of not attending any events to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Durban Declaration in September due to their “anti-Israel sentiment.”
A US State Department spokesperson told The Jerusalem Post Monday that the US would not take part in planned Durban anniversary events, saying that it “remains deeply committed to combating antisemitism at home and abroad. Furthermore, the United States stands with Israel and has always shared its concerns over the Durban process’s anti-Israel sentiment — used as a forum for antisemitism and freedom of expression issues.”
Commenting on the decision, B’nai B’rith International said it “salutes the US administration for taking a principled decision, like its predecessors, to deny legitimacy to a UN framework that purports to fight prejudice but is fundamentally marred by it.”
“The 2001 conference was poisoned by manifestations of virulent anti-Zionism and open antisemitism. We urge all countries of goodwill to do similarly — and we will continue to insist that all forms of hate, including those targeting Jews, not be given a platform by foremost international institutions,” B’nai B’rith stated.
The UN is scheduled to hold a special “Durban IV” event on Sept. 22 to mark the 20th anniversary of the World Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa, from which the US and Israel previously withdrew over objections of anti-Zionism. Israel was singled out from the Durban conference declaration and was depicted as being racist and as committing “crimes against humanity,” “ethnic cleansing,” “apartheid” and “genocide” against the Palestinians.
“Kudos for rejecting hate. The 2001 Durban Conference was an orgy of hate so vile that the US and Israel pulled out in disgust,” Avi Mayer, Managing Director of Global Communications at the American Jewish Committee (AJC), tweeted in response to the US decision. “It was so bad that even the UN’s Mary Robinson, who chaired it, said there was ‘horrible antisemitism present.'”
New York, NY, May 5th, 2021 . . . Dianne Lob, Chair, William Daroff, CEO, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Vice Chair of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, issued the following statement:
“We applaud the Biden Administration’s decision to refuse to participate in commemorations of the 20th anniversary of the UN World Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa, which openly embraced antisemitism and anti-Israel extremism.
Michal Cotler-Wunsh, a former member of Knesset for Israel’s Blue and White Party, said: “Durban was the ecosystem for declared escalation in the war waged on Israel, weaponizing international law and it’s institutions. The orchestrated, systematic implementation of this strategy threatens not only Israel, but shared values and foundations of democracy and human rights.”
“In declining to participate in celebratory events, the United States is rightfully rejecting the despicable hatred that was leveled against the Jewish State and the Jewish people twenty years ago. We encourage other nations to join the US in continuing to fight racism, bigotry, and antisemitism, while rejecting and not participating in such odious proceedings,” said Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Chair Dianne Lob, CEO William Daroff, and Vice Chair Malcolm Hoenlein, in a statement.
The Jerusalem Post covered Greer Fay Cashman, a Jerusalem Post journalist for more than 45 years, receiving the B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem's Lifetime Achievement Award for her invaluable contribution to the Israel-Diaspora relationship through her ongoing coverage of people and events in the news.
Jerusalem Post journalist Greer Fay Cashman has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem, the center announced Sunday.
She is the newspaper’s correspondent at the President’s Residence and writes the "Grapevine" column.
Cashman is a veteran Australian-born journalist whose byline has appeared in the Post for some 45 years. She has written on a wide variety of subjects and says she has been educated by her profession.
The award recognizes excellence in reporting on contemporary Diaspora communities and on the state of Israel-Diaspora relations in Israeli media.
“The award is widely recognized as the most prestigious prize in the Israeli media industry for Diaspora reportage and was established to help strengthen the relationship between Israel and the Diaspora,” B’nai B’rith said in a press release.
Cashman is a ubiquitous figure at many official events and press conferences. She also attends social events, fashion shows and cultural affairs.
With an encyclopedic knowledge of Israeli history and the multitude of personalities who made it, Cashman has long been the “go-to” staffer for information and perspective on events taking place, as well as for comprehensive biographies of Israel’s famous and obscure figures.
“Greer has an encyclopedic knowledge of Israel and Jewish history and is held in high esteem by her many regular readers, who include the diplomatic community, Diaspora Jewry and leaders of all faiths,” said Steve Linde, editor of The Jerusalem Report. “She has won at least two other prestigious awards: one from the Polish government, which I know meant a lot to her because she was born in Melbourne to a family of Polish Jews, and the Women of Valor Award from the Ambassadors Club of Israel.
“She is a true woman of valor who has made an invaluable contribution to the Israel-Diaspora relationship through her ongoing coverage of people and events in the news.”
In the News
B'nai B'rith International is the Global Voice of the Jewish Community.
All rights reserved. Stories are attributed to the original copyright holders.