To the Editor:
Your story, “Federal takeover of B’nai B’rith pension raises questions on group’s future,” misrepresented our situation. There are no questions about our future. It is strong, as it has been for nearly 170 years.
Yes, B’nai B’rith International chose to seek assistance from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) in order to fulfill our core mission of helping others. But the ability to meet pension obligations is wholly separate from our capability to fully continue with our programs and projects at home and around the world. With the help of the PBGC, B’nai B’rith is now on sound financial footing to move forward with our mission.
The world economic situation dating to 2008 took a toll on the B’nai B’rith pension plan and countless other non-profit organizations. That, coupled with new Pension Protection Act regulations that inadvertently placed an insurmountable burden on many organizations, meant we had to act. We were relieved when the PBGC accepted our claim, freeing us up to better focus on doing what we do best. Our work in pro-Israel advocacy, human rights, public policy, seniors issues, and disaster and humanitarian assistance continues.
It was not an easy decision to ask the PBGC for help. But the request was made for a greater good: to continue the good works we do and to ensure that former employees and current pension-eligible employees will have their pensions when they need them.
The economy worldwide is still struggling. That has impacted charitable giving across the board, suppressing giving while increasing need. B’nai B’rith, the oldest and most widely known Jewish humanitarian, human rights and advocacy organization, is launching its 170th year of service. We move forward with a strong sense of purpose, and knowing that our tough decision on the pension has led to long-term greater stability.
Allan J. Jacobs, B’nai B’rith International President
Lake Forest, Ill.
by Pauline Dubkin Yearwood
It isn’t his official title, but you could call Allan J. Jacobs a global ambassador for Israel and the Jewish people.
He has played this role in talks with everyone from Pope Benedict XVI to King Abdullah II of Jordan to Israeli President Shimon Peres to CEOs of large American companies, and for the next three years at least, he’ll be doing more of the same.
The Lake Forest man has just been reelected president of B’nai B’rith International, a post he has held since 2011 when the then-president resigned.
For those in the Jewish community who may not have caught up with B’nai B’rith’s recent history, it’s not the organization of fraternal lodges that thousands of Jews knew since its founding in 1843, although some lodges do still exist scattered throughout the country...more.
by Daniel S. Mariaschin, Executive Vice President, B'nai B'rith International
The Ahmadinejad status quo continues—the leader of Iran continues to rail against Israel and Jews, the United States and the West in general. He does it from a globally sanctioned podium.
And yet too many U.N. member nations still seem surprised by the things he says.
At the General Assembly podium on Yom Kippur, the man who is perhaps most responsible for undermining stability in the Middle East spoke before a nearly full United Nations General Assembly—only the United States and Israel didn’t attend the speech. Canada—which has become a global leader in warning the world of the danger posed by Iran—walked out.
Where were the other nations in good standing? Sitting in the great hall listening to Ahmadinejad’s latest rant, seemingly caught flat-footed because early drafts of his speech didn’t include certain “trip wire” words that would have sent them walking out in protest.
Knowing Ahmadinejad’s history, why did the delegates stay in their seats? This would have been the best opportunity to address all that he’s said and done. To show that his words fell on deaf ears. But they missed this once-a-year opportunity to put Ahmadinejad in his place.
Ahmadinejad’s—and Iran’s track record of hatred, threats and the fomenting of terror and violence— not to mention its nuclear program, foretold what he’d say.
With his history of belligerent comments and aggressive actions, overseeing the largest state-sponsored global terror network, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has a history of using world forums for incendiary rhetoric.
His eighth U.N. General Assembly address was no exception.
His history being what it is, U.N. officials even warned Ahmadinejad to avoid inflammatory comments.
Why they expected him to abide by that admonition is a mystery. In seven previous U.N. addresses, he’s been provocative and deeply offensive.
Over his terms in office, Ahmadinejad has referred to “uncivilized Zionists,” described Israel as a “fake regime,” and called for Israel to be “wiped off the map.” To him, Jews are “the most detested people in all humanity,” and he has said Israel is a “cancerous tumor.” He likes to say: Israel will be “eliminated.”
The man has taken part in an event called “World Without Zionism.”
He uses every public opportunity to deny the Holocaust.
Leading up to his appearance at the United Nations, Ahmadinejad sat for interviews with many journalists. His ignorance of historical fact was remarkable, stating things like “[The Zionists] imposed World War I on Europe and today those countries are forced to admit their wrong doings.”
His disregard for history is on display when he says Israel has “no roots” in the Middle East.
Siding with President Bashar al-Assad, who continues a brutal campaign against his own people, Ahmadinejad demonstrates his affection for the dictator, not the people who want change.
Ahmadinejad is perhaps single-handedly responsible for the world standing potentially on the precipice of a nuclear disaster in the form of an Iranian nuclear weapons program. Tehran repeatedly ignores international sanctions and entreaties to halt its nuclear weapons programs. It fails to cooperate with international nuclear inspectors.
Just about every Iranian policy conflicts with the founding principles of the United Nations, which include: “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.”
Nothing about Ahmadinejad and Iran embodies those goals.
Whatever sort of podium Ahmadinejad is preparing for himself when his presidential term expires next year, the United Nations has given him the ultimate practice venue...more.
At this year's U.N. General Assembly, Iran’s push for nuclear weapons is the overwhelming international diplomacy priority for American Jewish groups -- but it's not the only one...
However, Iran's nuclear aspirations are not the only item with that country, adds Daniel Mariaschin, executive vice president of B'nai B'rith International. In meetings with diplomats, he will press not only on Tehran’s nuclear pursuits but also its domestic human rights abuses as well as support for international terror and Syria’s repressive Assad government.
“This is a regime that has a bloody record wherever you look,” he said...more.
By Deepti Hajela
Whenever Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad comes to New York, protesters pay attention. They know where he's staying. They stand outside the building when he makes a speech, holding signs calling him a dictator and comparing him to Adolf Hitler...
"No more than you would host in your home a criminal, why would you make it easy here for a rogue regime?" said Daniel Mariaschin, executive vice president of B'nai B'rith International, the Jewish human rights advocacy group. The organization has sent letters to the Warwick asking that it not let Ahmadinejad stay there.
"U.S. businesses are under no obligation to accept the business of any delegation to the UN General Assembly," he said...read more.
By Ron Kampeas
Mitt Romney’s pessimistic take on Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects drew some headlines in the press but not much noise from centrist Jewish groups.
The revelation this week of Romney’s remarks, in which he suggested that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot be solved at present and that the best that could be done was to “kick the ball down the field,” was greeted quietly by centrist Jewish organizations. Only groups on the right and the left ends of the communal spectrum issued statements in response, respectively praising and strongly condemning Romney's comments...
Daniel Mariaschin, B’nai B’rith International’s executive vice president, said that he understood Romney not to mean that he was abandoning peacemaking but that he was acknowledging that other crises had superseded its importance in the Middle East.
“Events have pushed the issue to the outside,” said Mariaschin, citing Iran’s acceleration of its nuclear program and the unrest in much of the Arab world, particularly Syria. He noted renewed Palestinian plans to push for statehood recognition at the United Nations that have frustrated the Obama administration as well as Democrats and Republicans in Congress.
“As long as the Palestinians are not fighting to get back into the circle” of peacemaking “the prospect for intensifying the process is not there right now,” Mariaschin said...more.
Allan J. Jacobs of Lake Forest was re-elected president of B’nai B’rith International, the world’s oldest and most widely known Jewish humanitarian, human rights and advocacy organization, by the Board of Governors at its annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
Jacobs immediately begins a three-year term. During his first term, Jacobs led numerous B’nai B’rith delegations on global missions that included meetings with Israeli President Shimon Peres, Pope Benedict XVI and Jordan’s King Abdullah II, among others...read more.
By Suzanne Pollak
Concern over an Iranian nuclear threat and what Israel and America may do to counter it was discussed at this week's B'nai B'rith International policy conference.
"I think we have a moment of truth coming," said Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.).
"It's about the stability of the Middle East and ultimately about the stability of the entire world," Lieberman said Monday afternoon before an audience of 150 people at the Key Bridge Marriott Hotel in Arlington...read more.
By Hilary Leila Krieger
The current campaign between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney is getting the lion’s share of the attention these days, deservedly so. But Senator Joe Lieberman, who was tapped as former Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore’s running mate, recently recalled an interesting anecdote from the 2000 race when speaking to a B’nai B’rith conference Monday...read more.
Ira Bartfield of Arlington has been elected senior vice president of B’nai B’rith International, the world’s oldest and most widely known Jewish humanitarian, human-rights and advocacy organization.
His term runs for three years, and Bartfield will serve an active role implementing policies and programs of the Washington-based organization.
Bartfield has been a member of B’nai B’rith for more than three decades, and currently serves on its executive committee and board of governors. Professionally, he recently retired after 41 years as a staff member at the National Gallery of Art...read more.
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.