On July 14, B'nai B'rith International spoke out on the Iranian nuclear deal, expressing the deep concern we have about Iran’s true intentions for its nuclear program.
The Jerusalem Post ran an article detailing skeptical reaction to the deal across the Jewish world to the deal and included B'nai B'rith in its round-up of responses. You can read the original article on The Jerusalem Post's website here.
Tuesday's announcement that the Islamic Republic of Iran had reached a deal with western powers over its nuclear program was greeted with skepticism and calls for close congressional scrutiny by Jewish organizations around the world.
Calling the deal a prize for radicalism and a Western surrender,” European Jewish Congress president Moshe Kantor accused the West of capitulating to Iranian demands.
“On almost all of the major sticking points, Iran appears to have come out stronger and this deal will prove to be a prize for radicalism and seen as a Western surrender,” he said. “If you act like the neighborhood bully, it pays off.”
Jewish groups also expressed concerns about the more than $100 million in frozen assets that will be made available to the Islamic Republic upon completion of the deal.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that he believes the deal “puts more cash in the hands of the wrong people at the wrong time to further fan the terrorist and military threats against Iran’s enemies.”
Moreover, he asserted that the deal would compel regional powers to scramble to achieve deterrence against Iran.
While Iranian diplomats negotiated in Vienna, large crowds marched through the streets of Tehran chanting “Death to Israel.” The European Friends of Israel recalled in a statement that Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism and genocidal anti-Semitism “barely rated a byline on the minds of the negotiators.”
Meanwhile, the Zionist Organization of America went event further, calling the deal “a mistake of historic magnitude” and “a catastrophic disaster for Israel, America, and the world.”
World Jewish Congress president Ronald Lauder expressed concern over Iran’s trustworthiness, stating that Tehran “has a long history of misleading the world.
According to Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, the deal “falls far short” of assuring that Iran will not obtain nuclear weapons.
“At best, if Iran fully complies with the terms of the [deal], its nuclear weapons ambitions will be deferred during the 10- to 15-year term of most restrictions,” he said, urging Congress to scrutinize the deal very carefully.
B’nai B’rith International expressed similar sentiments, stating that it fears that “inspectors will never get unfettered or spontaneous access, because Iran has consistently rejected this point all along.” Others, such as the American Jewish Committee and the Reform Movement, were more circumspect, urging congressional scrutiny of the deal but not issuing strong statements on its benefits or lack thereof.
Unlike many other Jewish organizations, the J Street lobbying group immediately expressed strong support for the deal, stating it “appears to meet the critical criteria around which a consensus of US and international non-proliferation experts has formed for a deal that verifiably blocks each of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon.”
AIPAC, in contrast, voiced its concern regarding the deal, citing initial reports that the agreement may not meet the requirements that they claim are marked indicators of a “good deal.”
The Times of Israel picked up B'nai B'rith International's statement expressing our serious concern over the recently announced Iran Deal.
You can read the original post on The Times of Israel here.
Jewish group B’nai B’rith says in a statement that it is skeptical that Iran will adhere to its portion of the nuclear deal signed today:
The just-announced deal on Iran’s nuclear program has not erased the deep concern we have about Iran’s true intentions for its nuclear program.
It is impossible to look at Iran’s track record in so many areas and not be skeptical about Iran adhering to the terms of the deal. In the days leading up to the agreement, on “al-Quds Day,” government inspired crowds called for “death to America,” and U.S. and Israeli flags were burned across the country.
The fact that verification has been a sticking point throughout this process is highly revealing. We fear that inspectors will never get managed, unfettered or spontaneous access, because Iran has consistently rejected this point all along.
Congress needs to ask tough questions about inspections, plutonium enrichment and sanctions relief, including Iran’s demand to immediately begin acquiring conventional weapons. If upon inspecting the details, Congress discovers the agreement proves unsatisfactory on crucial issues, then Congress should reject the deal.
Days before the 21st anniversary of the AMIA bombing in Argentina -- an attack that killed 300 and wounded 85 -- Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin writes for Fox News about the absence of justice for the victims, and wonders if there will ever be closure after the mysterious death of the case's prosecutor Alberto Nisman.
Nisman's death came after bravely gathering evidence for a decade, uncovering deep ties to Iran and its terrorist proxy Hezbollah, and filing a formal complaint against the current Argentine president and foreign minister alleging they offered Iran impunity in the investigation.
The piece was originally run on FoxNews.com. You can read it on the site here.
Did the best chance for justice in the AMIA bombing case die with Alberto Nisman?
On July 18, 1994, terrorists bombed the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) building in Buenos Aires killing 85 and wounding 300. Twenty-one years later, no one has been brought to justice.
In fact, years of efforts to solve the case could be characterized as farcical. The original judge on the case was even removed and charges were brought against him. Things finally changed 11 years after the attack. That is when then-Argentine President Nestor Kirchner created a Special Investigative Unit and named Alberto Nisman as its prosecutor.
For years, Nisman heroically followed evidence in the terror attack wherever it led. And it led to some dangerous places.
Nisman’s investigation uncovered deep involvement in the attack by top levels of the Tehran government, often through its terror proxy—Hezbollah. Based on Nisman’s dogged research, Interpol issued arrest warrants for the attack, but no arrests have ever been made.
Nisman had been bravely gathering evidence in the case for a decade. Until his body was found Jan. 19, on the eve of a scheduled appearance before the Argentine Congress to expand on the complaint he made against the president and other members and allies of the government.
His mysterious death came soon after he filed a complaint against Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman alleging they offered Iran impunity in the 1994 terror attack, just before teaming up with Iran to create the “Commission of Truth,” designed, incredulously, to find those responsible for the attack.
It was easy to be skeptical of the “Commission of Truth” from the start. The stated goal was to form a partnership between Iran and Argentina what would “independently” investigate the bombing.What essentially occured was the Commission of Truth put the chief suspects in the case in charge of finding the attackers and interviewing them in Tehran.
An Argentine federal court recognized the absurdity of this relationship, calling it unconstitutional, and struck down the deal that basically would have shielded Iran from culpability in the attack. The Argentine government appealed this ruling though, and a Cassation Court will soon decide the matter.
Twenty-one years does not diminish the need for justice, or sooth the pain for the families of the victims, and the community as a whole.
Last month, I met with Jewish community leaders in Buenos Aires, along with representatives of families who lost loved ones in the attack. They are not giving up on justice. And neither are we.
Active in more than 20 countries in the Western Hemisphere, B’nai B’rith established our first Latin American branch in Argentina 85 years ago. Argentina is the home of the largest Jewish community in Latin America, the third largest in the Americas (after the United States and Canada), and the sixth largest in the world, with approximately 250,000 Jews.
Justice is not just an ephemeral idea to strive for. It’s a concrete embodiment of living in a civilized society. Having the perpetrators face charges for their vicious attack demonstrates to would be attackers that the world is watching, and there is a price for your barbarity.
In some ways, the AMIA bombing demonstrates how justice denied has lingering and deadly repercussions. The AMIA bombing was actually the second terrorist attack on the Argentine Jewish community. In April of 1992, 32 people were killed when the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires was bombed. Two years later, the AMIA bombing would become the worst terrorist attack ever committed against a Latin American country, and the worst anti-Semitic event since World War II.
Alberto Nisman’s death means the AMIA case has lost its most dogged, fearless and thorough champion. But it doesn’t mean the pursuit of justice should stop.
It can’t. Because never forgetting, holding terrorists responsible for their actions, showing the civilized global community that chaos and lawlessness will not be rewarded, is a fundamental right and responsibility we share.
Daniel S. Mariaschin is Executive Vice President of B'nai B'rith International.
This week, we mark the 10 year anniversary of the horrific July 7 London terror attacks.
In the aftermath of the attacks, read the thoughts of then B'nai B'rith International President Joel Kaplan, which appeared in the Fall 2005 Issue of B'nai B'rith Magazine:
The Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind (CLB) held its third annual "Shot in the Dark Golf & Dinner Classic" on Friday, May 1, 2015 at the Lakewood Country Club in Rockville, Md.
The event's purpose was to demonstrate an appreciation for vision loss and how it can be overcome. B'nai B'rith International, a long-time supporter of CLB was a proud financial sponsor of the event and had leadership in attendance at the classic.
National blind golf champions Bruce Hooper and Phil Blackwell ran the golf clinic for CLB clients to learn the fundamentals of golf including chipping and putting.
This year a Casino Night was added to the event. Local sports media personalities Steve Buckhantz and Andy Pollin were the emcees for the evening, and the golf tournament kicked off after sundown.
Watch the event highlight video, below:
In light of the current wave of unrelenting attacks against Israel's legitimacy, B'nai B'rith International joined B'nai B'rith Europe, local lodges and dozens of other Jewish organization to rally in support of Israel outside of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
B’nai B’rith is highly critical of the report issued by the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) “independent, international commission of inquiry” into Israel’s defensive operations against Hamas in Gaza during the summer of 2014. The report inherently lacks credibility and should not be taken as a serious evaluation of the necessary counterterrorism actions of the Israel Defense Forces.
B'nai B'rith International's Israel/Middle East policy includes issues such as fighting terrorism; supporting Israel's right to defend itself; preventing Iran's efforts to acquire nuclear weapons; preserving the unity of Jerusalem; promoting the rights of Jewish refugees from Arab and Muslim countries; and supporting direct negotiations between the parties to the Middle East conflict while affirming the importance of Israel's critical security needs.
Photos below courtesy of Israel In Switzerland:
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