I24 KEYNOTE: Spotlight on The American Zionist Movement and it’s constituent Zionist Organizations throughout the US
i24 featured B'nai B'rith International in its spotlight of Jewish organizations involved in the American Zionist Movement.
On behalf of Richard D. Heideman, President of AZM and Frank Melloul CEO and Founder of i24News.
This one hour presentation on June 30, 2020, was held in collaboration with i24News, the Global News Network that keeps you connected to Israeli and Middle East news, culture, politics, technology, and more.
Five AZM Organizations Featured:
AZM and i24 News previously partnered on three “Celebration of Democracy: Israeli Election Watch Party” events and are working together again to highlight, on i24news, the important work of AZM organizations.
The program, which was conducted via Zoom, included i24news top personnel and anchors along with five selected organizations from across the diverse spectrum of AZM organizational life.
Following an introductory overview of each organization, there was engaging dialogue with the i24news anchors about the organization’s work, demonstrating their mission and current activities.
Watch this AZM/i24News initiative which advances AZM’s campaign to move Zionism Forward in America.
JNS quoted B'nai B'rith International CEO in its coverage of the Pakistani Supreme Court's plan to free the man convicted of murdering journalist Daniel Pearl.
(June 29, 2020 / JNS) Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Monday refused to suspend a lower court’s ruling freeing Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who was convicted of being part of the 2002 killing in Pakistan of Wall Street Journal Jewish journalist Daniel Pearl, paving the way for him to walk free.
The Supreme Court also declined to hear the Pakistani government’s appeal immediately and instead scheduled it for Sept. 25.
In April, Sheikh, along with Fahad Naseem, Sheikh Adil, and Salman Saqib, were rearrested after their convictions were overturned. The interior ministry at the time said that they would remain behind bars “for a period of three months pending filing of the appeal.”
Faiz Shah, the government prosecutor, declined to say “whether the government would seek an extension of Saeed Sheikh’s detention. Saeed Sheikh’s lawyer said a review board would have to be established to extend his detention,” reported the Associated Press.
The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) and B’nai B’rith International expressed outrage over the Supreme Court move.
“Pakistan’s courts have just shown that murderous anti-Semitism is acceptable in mainstream Pakistani law and society,” CAMERA communications director Jonah Cohen told JNS. “Our hearts break not just for the Pearl family, but also for the moral corruption of Pakistan. It’s a sad day for humanity.”
“The Supreme Court’s decision is an outrage. Its message is one of approbation for this brutal murder and vile act of terrorism,” B’nai B’rith International CEO Daniel Mariaschin told JNS. “Apparently justice is not a priority of this court. Shame on the court for not intervening in the lower court’s ruling, which may now allow Daniel Pearl’s kidnapper to go free.”
EURACTIV published expert analysis from B'nai B'rith International Director of EU Affairs Alina Bricman on the importance of designating Hezbollah a terrorist organization and why the EU should do so for security reasons.
As calls for designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in its entirety grow louder, much of the attention has been – rightly – on documenting the organization’s extensive operations in Europe and its malign influence on Lebanon and the region. Much less on the EU’s reluctance to do away with the artificial distinction between its so-called political and military wings.
As we near in on the eighth anniversary of the deadly attack on EU soil, in Burgas, Bulgaria, where Hezbollah operatives blew up a bus of over 40 passengers, leaving 6 dead – the onus now, should be on the EU to align its stated security policy objectives with its values and the reality on the ground.
The recent decision by Germany to ban Hezbollah in its entirety shortly before assuming the EU Council Presidency, as well as the subsequent unanimous resolution in Austria’s parliament calling on their government to follow suit, must represent a vigorous new push in taking on the group.
‘Les grands amis du Liban’
With its front as a social actor, prominent role in Lebanon’s ruling government coalition, and military capability thought to be superior to that of the Lebanese army itself, the influence of Hezbollah in the country is unwieldy. An established tenet of EU foreign policy in Lebanon has been that keeping communication channels open with the Iran-sponsored organization is instrumental to Lebanese stability.
France, “Le grand ami du Liban” – with its strong cultural and historical ties with the Lebanese Republic, has long been a proponent of this view, particularly now as Lebanon struggles with a sovereign debt crisis and up until the pandemic, was engulfed in large-scale protests. Paris is not alone in this approach, to which Belgium and the Scandinavian peninsula also subscribe.
Given this entrenched mindset, it took a bombing on EU soil to trigger serious discussions about designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Regrettably, what came out of this was a half-measure: artificially and nominally splitting Hezbollah into political and military wings and only labelling the latter a terrorist organization. This is of course a distinction without a difference – the two wings overlap and answer to the same command structure; Hezbollah itself does not regard its two alleged wings as separate entities. But what’s perhaps more noteworthy is that, the EU countries now most in favour of maintaining the status quo were themselves the ones opposing this distinction prior to the 2012 attack. At the time they were doing so to oppose a ban of any kind – even the limited one in place today – but their argument about a lack of substantive difference should stand.
The partial ban doesn’t do nearly enough to help
There is a clear dissonance in the EU’s approach between the short-term effects of not upsetting Hezbollah and its coalition partners and the long-term effects of continuing to lend legitimacy to a murderous paramilitary organization which continues to be the main source of instability in Lebanon.
Last September, the U.N. Special Tribunal for Lebanon indicted Hezbollah member Salim Jamil Ayyash of three bombings targeting Lebanese politicians. The Tribunal is expected to pronounce judgement shortly on an earlier case against Ayyash, and four other Hezbollah fighters for orchestrating the bombing that killed Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 21 others and wounded 220 passers-by in 2005.
In addition, Hezbollah has continued in the past year to exert influence on Lebanese politics by questionable means, including assaulting demonstrators in Beirut and setting fire to their tents, intimidating and censoring journalists and buying votes. This is all in addition to its documented terrorist and organized crime activities abroad, including in the EU, which triggered the German ban.
A Secure Europe in a Better World
The European Security Strategy of 2003 remains the guiding document to comprehensively address the EU’s security needs to this day. It’s stated objective and motto – “A secure Europe in a Better World” – is meant to anchor the strategy – in EU spirit – “on our core values”.
In an increasingly polarized and tense international arena, the EU has positioned itself as a main – or even the main, value-based actor. Yet weak and politicized action – or rather inaction – on Hezbollah has fallen short of this worthwhile objective. Calls to add Hezbollah in its entirety to the terrorist list are often dismissed as hawkish or even biased and avoided by some of the key national-level actors. While enough support for a ban could in the long-run theoretically be garnered from certain member-states, the mobilization of the EU’s oldest, largest members – strong democracies that shape the discourse of the EU – is essential, if the criteria is one of core values.
This should particularly be the case since the EU-Lebanon partnership priorities for 2016-2020 pledge to work with Lebanon to promote the shared values of democracy and the rule of law.
It’s worth remembering that one of the leading voices, in 2013, following the Burgas attack, to ban Hezbollah entirely came from then Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Frans Timmermans, a champion of progressive politics. His example, back then, ought to be followed.
The EU has, since 2003 and the adoption of the European Security Strategy, taken important steps in the fight against terrorism – from appointing a Counter-Terrorism Coordinator and reinforcing the Crisis Coordination Arrangements and the Civil Protection Mechanism, to increased data sharing with the US and other international actors. Yet without the political will to tackle the issues, we are not harnessing the full potential of these tools. The upcoming months are essential in maximizing the capital of the important decisions at the national level in Germany and Austria, and the EU must be sure to make use of the momentum.
JNS quoted B'nai B'rith International CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin in its coverage of U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel's (D-N.Y.) projected loss in the 2020 Democratic primary.
(June 24, 2020 / JNS) Reactions from the pro-Israel community have poured in as Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) is projected to lose his seat to Jamaal Bowman, a progressive, in New York’s 16th Congressional District as a result of the Tuesday’s primary.
As of early Wednesday morning, Engel, who has served in Congress since 1989 and is the chairman of the influential U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, has received less than 36 percent of the votes, while Bowman has garnered almost 61 percent of the votes.
“I’m a Black man who was raised by a single mother in a housing project. That story doesn’t usually end in Congress. But today, that 11-year old boy who was beaten by police is about to be your next Representative,” Bowman said in a statement on Wednesday morning. “I cannot wait to get to Washington and cause problems for the people maintaining the status quo.”
Despite campaigning against Bowman, Democratic Majority for Israel’s political action committee congratulated him on his projected victory against the 16-term congressman.
DMFI PAC president Mark Mellman said his group looks “forward to working with him as a Member of Congress.”
“Eliot Engel earned our support in this race by his forceful leadership on behalf of a progressive agenda, which includes a strong U.S.-Israel relationship,” continued Mellman. “His constituents apparently concluded, however, that he had lost touch with them, and that is, of course, wholly their decision to make.”
“It is important to note that, from voters’ point of view, support for Israel was not part of the debate in this race. The one exception: in the final hours of the campaign, Mr. Bowman worked to burnish his pro-Israel credentials writing a newspaper op-ed stating his personal opposition to the BDS movement, his support for continued U.S. aid to Israel, and backing Israel’s right to defend itself from Hamas and other terrorist groups.”
Similarly, the Jewish Democratic Council of America, which had also supported Engel, congratulated Bowman and championed his progressive views.
“We are confident he is committed to the priorities of Jewish voters such as fighting gun violence, combating climate change, ensuring access to affordable education and health care, and advocating for racial justice and criminal justice reform, and we look forward to working with him to further this agenda in the House,” the group said.
Nevertheless, the Republican Jewish Coalition said that Engel’s projected defeat demonstrated “the shift in the Democrat Party away from support for Israel [accelerating] dramatically.”
RJC also said that Engel “has done a great deal for the U.S.-Israel relationship,” while Bowman “has an extreme and dangerous agenda.”
Bowman was endorsed by fellow New York Democratic congresswoman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as well as Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Justice Democrats.
Engel, a well-known figure in the pro-Israel community, has long been a prominent speaker at the annual AIPAC Policy Conference.
AIPAC declined to comment on Engel’s likely loss.
‘An end of an era’
Meanwhile, B’nai B’rith International CEO Daniel Mariaschin told JNS that Bowman’s projected upset would mark the end of an era.
“Eliot Engel had been a longtime friend of the community, a strong advocate for close relations between the U.S. and Israel, and an outspoken critic of the Iranian regime,” said Mariaschin. “To say he will be sorely missed would be an understatement.”
However, Pro-Israel America is holding out hope for an Engel comeback as absentee ballots still need to be counted, thereby pushing the announcement of the final result to early July.
The organization told JNS, “Pro-Israel America is proud to support Eliot Engel and will wait until the votes are counted here. Pro-Israel America will always step up and rally to defend pro-Israel champions like Rep. Eliot Engel, who has done so much for the U.S.-Israel relationship. The pro-Israel community remains strong, as does support in Congress for America’s alliance with Israel.”
The Jerusalem Post noted B'nai B'rith International's denunciation of anti-Semitic comments made by Pomona College's senior class president.
Malak Afaneh, senior class president at Pomona College in southern California, has been accused of antisemitism last week after social media posts surfaced featuring tweets comparing the ongoing conflict in Yemen to the Holocaust, while also suggesting that Israelis or Diaspora Jews are involved or sympathetic to the violence, according to an Algemeiner report.
Pomona College's student newspaper, the Claremont Independent, detailed the incident by noting that Afaneh posted the image of a tweet on Instagram that says “6 million people died in the Holocaust, we still commemorate it to this day. 18.4 MILLION people are dying in Yemen RIGHT NOW. That’s 3 holocausts at once…SILENCE IS COMPLIANCE!!!”
Afaneh also claimed that Jewish students are somehow sympathetic to the conflict and violence in Yemen, claiming in a social media posts that “[O]nce again, zionist-Israel-birthright-vacation-stuck-on-comparing-holocaust-to-racism-WW2-worshipping bitches, this should be right up ur alley. Oh wait u hate brown ppl,” in reference to the popular Taglit-Birthright organization that brings Diaspora Jews to Israel.
Pro-Israel organizations at Pomona College were quick to criticize Afaneh. In response to the incident, the Claremont Progressive Israel Alliance sent a letter to Afaneh criticizing his conduct, in addition to Associated Students of Pomona College Executive Vice President Payal Kachru, Dean of Students Avis Hinkson and President G. Gabrielle Starr. The letter noted the Claremont Progressive Israel Alliance was “deeply saddened and appalled” by Afaneh's claims, referring to them as “offensive, repugnant, and deeply hurtful."
The group also called for an “immediate explanation and apology” from Afaneh.
“She is wholly unable to carry out her duties representing Jewish students if she holds these beliefs,” the letter said.
B’nai B’rith International also criticized Afaneh's conduct, saying in a Tweet that they are "outraged."
The Algemeiner included B'nai B'rith International's condemnation of deeply anti-Semitic and anti-Israel comments made by Pomona College's senior class president.
The senior class president at a southern California college was discovered to have made antisemitic statements on social media last week.
According to the Claremont Independent, a student paper at Pomona College in Claremont, California, Malak Afaneh posted the image of a tweet on Instagram that said of the ongoing conflict in Yemen, “6 million people died in the Holocaust, we still commemorate it to this day. 18.4 MILLION people are dying in Yemen RIGHT NOW. That’s 3 holocausts at once…SILENCE IS COMPLIANCE!!!”
In a message below, apparently directed at Jewish students, Afaneh ranted, “[O]nce again, zionist-Israel-birthright-vacation-stuck-on-comparing-holocaust-to-racism-WW2-worshipping bitches, this should be right up ur alley. Oh wait u hate brown ppl.”
In response, the Claremont Progressive Israel Alliance sent a letter to Afane, Associated Students of Pomona College Executive Vice President Payal Kachru, Dean of Students Avis Hinkson and President G. Gabrielle Starr saying it was “deeply saddened and appalled” by Afane’s statements, calling them “offensive, repugnant, and deeply hurtful.”
Afane’s endorsement of such sentiments, it noted, “directly isolates and targets the Jewish students she is supposed to fairly represent.”
The group called for an “immediate explanation and apology” from Afaneh, barring which she should resign.
“She is wholly unable to carry out her duties representing Jewish students if she holds these beliefs,” they said.
B’nai B’rith International weighed in on the incident, saying it was “outraged.”
“No one with these vile views should represent Jewish students,” it declared.
JNS covered the new "Students Speak Out Against Anti-Semitism" creative contest, sponsored by B'nai B'rith International and the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement (CAM).
(June 22, 2020 / ) A unique video contest for students across the world was launched this week, in order to advance public debate surrounding anti-Semitism, hatred and intolerance. “Students Speak Out Against Anti-Semitism. A Creative Video Production Contest” is being sponsored and organized by the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement (CAM) and B’nai B’rith International.
Students across the world are being asked to create 2-3 minute videos, which promote a better understanding of anti-Semitism, tolerance and communicate a message of equality. Organizers said that the unique public awareness campaign is designed to harness the creativity of students in order to boost education about anti-Semitism and the prejudice, bigotry, hatred and violence it engenders.
“Recent statistics in both the United States and Europe have shown that anti-Semitic attacks and incidents have reached record levels. Deadly assaults in 2019 resulted in the killing of seven Jews. Meanwhile, the global Coronavirus crisis has seen the proliferation of age-old anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Organizers hope that the video contest will help combat these trends by reaching and educating new audiences.”
Announcing the contest, Sacha Roytman-Dratwa, The Combat Anti-Semitism Movement Director commented, “Not only is anti-Semitism increasing globally, but studies continue to show that young people don’t know enough about it. They are the future if we are to defeat anti-Semitism and hatred. This innovative contest will empower students to educate their peers in a meaningful way, speaking to them through a powerful medium. We are excited to give them a platform for their creativity and the chance to make a real impact on people across the world.”
High school and undergraduate university students worldwide are being invited to submit their work to the contest and will be judged in separate age group categories, by a prestigious judging panel. The winner and runners up of each age group will receive cash prizes, to be awarded at a virtual awards ceremony. The top three winners will receive a cash prize of $5,000 for first place, $2,000 for second place and $1,000 for third place.
Students are asked to submit entries in one of the following two categories. The first asks contestants to educate the general public on the value of a universally adopted definition of anti-Semitism, specifically the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition. The second requests that contestants educate about how anti-Semitism impacts Jews of all racial backgrounds and inspire young people to be more tolerant towards others by illustrating the modern manifestation of anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism.
Full eligibility and submission requirements can be found at the Combat Anti-Semitism website.
In addition to a cash prize, the winning entries will be showcased by CAM and B’nai B’rith International, across a variety of media channels, as part of a national public awareness campaign to strengthen the fight against anti-Semitism, hatred and discrimination.
B’nai B’rith International President Charles O. Kaufman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin said, “Illuminating the issue of anti-Semitism – one of the most pervasive, long-running and deadly dangers in the world – through inventive video production will bring the immediacy and urgency of the topic to a global audience. As anti-Semitism proliferates globally, today’s high school and undergraduate university students will create messages to educate and inspire us.”
The Jerusalem Post noted our joint event with KKL-JNK honoring the memory of Samuel "Sally" Bein, his wife Rebeka, their young daughter Lisa Karola, and 47 other pupils and staff who were murdered by the Nazis and their local collaborators at the Sobibor death camp during the Holocaust.
The B'nai B'rith World Center and the Jewish National Fund (JNF) will be coming together to honor the memory of Samuel (Sally) Bein, an educator and founding principal of the first boarding school designed for Jewish with special needs in Germany in Beelitz in 1908, according to a press release from the B'nai B'rith released on Sunday.
Set to take place at the B'nai B'rith Cave in the B'nai B'rith Martyrs Forest on Wednesday, June 17, the event organizers will unveil a plaque in honor of Bein, his wife Rebeka, their young daughter Lisa Karola, and 47 other pupils and staff murdered by the Nazis and their local collaborators at the Sobibor death camp during the Holocaust.
Some of the speakers at the event will include Daniel Atar, JNF world chairman, Alan Schneider, director, B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem, Ronny Dotan, researcher and initiator of the memorial, and Holocaust survivor Major General (Res.) Yossi Peled.
The joint effort to recognize Bein is part of a long history collaborative projects between the B'nai B'rith and JNF that started with beginning with land purchases in Mandate Palestine in the 1930s which led to the founding of two Moshavim (cooperative agricultural community), Moledet B'nai B'rith and Ramat Zvi. Similarly, both groups cooperated on establishing the Martyrs Forest in the 1950s, the first site built in Israel to commemorate victims of the Holocaust.
The B’nai B’rith has been active in numerous countries around the world, and was the first Jewish organization to be targeted by the Nazis for expropriation or destruction of the organization's properties in Germany. The organization is now active throughout the country.
Another initiative to mark 70 years since the establishment of the Martyrs Forest is the ongoing effort to make the forest more more accessible as an educational tool for students through advanced digital means and for students with special needs, in honor of Samuel Bein's contribution.
JBS covered our praise of the U.S. administration's strong defense of Israel in the face of politically motivated charges by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the Jewish state regarding supposed war crimes. View coverage here or below:
Coverage of Oporto's Jewish Community Donating Proceeds of B'nai B'rith Co-sponsored Film to Israeli Food Bank
B'nai B'rith International has received news coverage of its co-sponsorship of the film "The Light of Judah," whose proceeds the Oporto Jewish community is donating to the Food Bank of Israel. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a significant increase in the demand for meals from people who have lost their jobs as a result of the global economic downturn.
See how the media covered this donation:
The World News (In Portuguese)
Notícias ao Minuto (In Portuguese)
In the News
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