Last week the Palestinian mission to the U.N. submitted a resolution to the U.N. General Assembly calling for the flying of all “observer state” flags outside of U.N. headquarters in New York. The Palestinians secured status as a U.N. non-member observer “state” in 2012, but are not actual members of the world body.
B'nai B'rith International spoke out in an August 26 statement, saying the flags outside the United Nations represent U.N. member states and the Palestinian territories do not as of yet comprise a state, owing to the Palestinians’ consistent refusal to reach a meaningful, negotiated two-state solution that includes recognition of the Jewish state.
The New York Times picked up B'nai B'rith's statement in a story on the Palestinian Authority’s campaign to have its flag raised. You can read the full story below and on The New York Times' website here.
Palestinians want to raise their flag at the United Nations next month, a matter that could set off a diplomatic dispute in the General Assembly. Nearly 20 Arab countries, as well as Senegal and Venezuela, submitted a one-page draft resolution to the General Assembly this week calling for the organization’s two “nonmember observer states” to be granted the right to raise their flags at the gates of United Nations headquarters. The Palestinians gained nonmember observer status in 2012. The only other entity to hold that status is the Holy See. The Vatican did not add its name as a co-sponsor of the resolution. The effort has already met with a rebuke from Jewish groups like B’nai B’rith, which said in a statement that raising a flag was a “privilege” accorded to a member state and that part of the Palestinian territories is under the control of Hamas, “which is openly committed to the destruction of an existing U.N. member state,Israel.”
On Aug. 13, The Jerusalem Post ran a story on the historic debate within the American Jewish community revolving around the Iranian nuclear deal currently in Congress, awaiting approval or rejection. B'nai B'rith International recently called for Congress to reject the deal based on a long Iranian track record of terrorism and obfuscation.
In The Jerusalem Post story, B'nai B'rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin explained why the organization arrived at this position, putting his "ear to the ground" while traveling and speaking with the American Jewish community.
Well into his seventh year at the White House, having survived countless public bouts with Israel's prime minister, US President Barack Obama has grown accustomed to charges that he and his administration are not entirely aligned with the policies of the Israeli government.
Far different are the accusations now leveled against the president over his rhetoric in selling the nuclear deal reached last month with Iran.
Past fights— over settlement activity, the rules of warfare, and how best to initially approach Tehran— have largely been waged directly between the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government. Both parties are principal players in today's debate, but a third party has clamorously inserted itself: The American Jewish establishment.
As the president engages that group aggressively, with vigor and in personal terms, several of its leaders are accusing him of crossing a sacred line. But Jewish supporters of Obama are accusing his opponents of employing destructive tactics that risk tearing the community apart.
A number of major American Jewish organizations have declared opposition to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, announced on July 14 in Vienna, and are fighting it on Capitol Hill, where Congress will hold a vote in September on whether or not to approve it.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the American Jewish Committee, B'nai B'rith International, the Orthodox Union, and several individual chapters of the Jewish Federations of North America are campaigning against the JCPOA, which the president says will verifiably prevent Iran from ever acquiring nuclear weapons. Their disapproval can be summarized in one sentence: Iran should never be allowed to become a "nuclear threshold" state— forever on the brink of weaponization— and yet this deal, taken in its totality, concedes precisely that fate and all of its consequences.
Sometimes providing comfort is the only way to deal with a tragic or troubling situation.
That was the reason for the B'nai B'rith Cares for Kids program, which has brought tens of thousands of teddy bears and stuffed animals to children in difficult situations over the last 18 years. B'nai B'rith Buddy Bears (pictured below) are the face of the program, and have been widely distributed in Chicago this summer.
In June, several B'nai B'rith volunteers from the Chai Unit donated bears at the La Rabida Joli Burrell Children's Advocacy Center in Park Forest. The center, which counsels children with trauma in their lives, greatly appreciated the donation.
In July, B'nai B'rith members attended the city council meeting in Country Club Hills (suburb of Chicago) to present dozens of Buddy Bears to the local police and fire departments (click on images to enlarge):
B'nai B'rith International condemned the song and commended the university for seeking to overhaul the band's culture. The organization's statement was featured in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, excerpts of which can be found below:
The song, titled “Goodbye Kramer,” appeared in a book of parodies updated in 2012 and circulated privately by members of the university’s marching band, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
The lyrics, to be sung to the tune of the 1981 Journey hit “Don’t Stop Believin’,” include references to Nazi soldiers “searching for people livin’ in their neighbor’s attic” and a “small town Jew … who took the cattle train to you know where.”
B’nai B’rith International, a Jewish human rights and advocacy group, condemned the song’s authors and praised the university’s response.
“It is never acceptable to trivialize Holocaust imagery,” B’nai B’rith said in a statement Thursday. “To do so in a jovial tone and completely for the sake of offending is even more abhorrent.”
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