On the latest edition of Radio JAI, Eduardo Kohn, B'nai B'rith director of Latin American Affairs, discusses several important issues facing the continent's Jewish population.
Kohn discusses the following:
1. Hamas has not changed its policy or goals, so the truce remains fragile.
2. The United Nations General Assembly and Human Rights Council have a history of blaming only Israel.
3. Latin American countries do not care about Hamas; they follow Venezuela and Brazil policies to demonize Israel. Anti-Semitism is on the rise in Latin America and has little to do with the Gaza conflict.
Listen to the full podcast below:
El Dr. Eduardo Kohn, director ejecutivo de la Bnai Brith para Latinoamérica, reflexionó en Radio Jai acerca de cómo quedó enquistado el sentimiento antisemita en esta región del mundo, tras el conflicto entre Israel y Hamas.
"¿Por qué no se dice una palabra cuando los civiles israelíes reciben miles de misiles?", se preguntó el dirigente comunitario, quien además aseguró que "a la mayoría de los países latinoamericanos no les importa el Hamas".
A su vez, Kohn repasó varias resoluciones de la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas, en las que se ha condenado en numerosas oportunidades a Israel, pero jamás a países como Siria, Irán o Ruanda.
Earlier this year, B’nai B’rith Raoul Wallenberg Unit filed a petition calling for the creation of a stamp to honor Holocaust hero Raoul Wallenberg during the 70th anniversary of the Righteous Among the Nations’ Jewish rescue operation.
As Sweden’s envoy in Budapest, Hungary, during World War II, Wallenberg issued passports and sheltered Jews in Swedish-controlled buildings, effectively saving tens of thousands from extermination by the Nazis.
Now, after receiving approval from Parliament, the stamp will be released in 2015.
Read highlights from the article below:
Anti-Semitic graffiti and rhetoric has proliferated in Uruguay since the start of the most recent Gaza conflict, inspired in part by rhetoric from the nation's president and foreign minister.
B'nai B'rith International condemned President José Mujica's anti-Semitic remarks, who responded by suggesting that his administration, which employs three Jewish ministers, could therefore not be anti-Semitic.
More constructive progress was made with foreign minister Luis Almagro, who met with B'nai B'rith to clarify his comments.
The meeting was covered in Iton Gadol and in Subrayado, excerpts of which can be found below (Spanish):
In the face of rising global anti-Semitism, Australia's B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission has called on university leadership to police the rhetoric and demonstrations on campuses across the continent.
B'nai B'rith ADC Chairman Dr. Dvir Abramovich spoke with the The Herald Sun, highlights of which can be found below:
The B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission’s chairman Dr Dvir Abramovich has called on universities across the country to “demand and enforce a policy of zero tolerance” towards anti-Semitic rhetoric and conduct.
He says it is on the rise and university leaders and staff must publicly condemn any acts of Jewish hatred.
“At a time when virulent anti-Semitism continues to be a serious problem on Australian campuses we call on the university leadership around the country to take immediate steps to address this troubling phenomenon head on, and to make it clear that there is no place for hate and racism on Australian campuses,” he said.
“In the short-term the most important thing is the strength of their response to individuals where they are implicated,” he said.
The B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission has raised a number of concerns including: five Jewish students allegedly being refused entry to a Socialist Alternative discussion on Israel at Monash University; two Jewish students, one wearing a Kippa, allegedly being verbally abused and shoved at RMIT; and a motion by the Monash University Student Council accusing Israel of genocide.
“All students have the right to express their lawful and reasonable views without fear or favour. However, freedom of lawful expression does not include the right to harass, vilify, threaten or intimidate others. Such behaviour has no place on a university campus.’’
The first Omaha Jewish Reunion offered an opportunity for reflection on the history of the small but vibrant Jewish community in Omaha, Neb.
B'nai B'rith International was a galvanizing force for Omaha Jews at the turn of the 20th century, and remains a leader in the community of nearly 5,500.
An article on the history and accomplishments of the community was written by The World-Herald in the lead-up to the reunion, and appears on Omaha.com.
Read an excerpt from the story, below:
The first Jews arrived in Omaha soon after the city’s founding in the mid-19th century. Today the community numbers about 5,500, and its history is intertwined with much of the rest of Omaha.
Henry Monsky, who became international president of the Jewish fraternal and service group B’nai B’rith, played an important role in helping Father Edward Flanagan start what became a famous Omaha home for youths.
Monsky, a lawyer, is widely believed to be the anonymous donor who loaned the Catholic priest $90 to pay the home’s first monthly rent. Boys Town today considers Monsky, who remained a supportive friend of Father Flanagan, to be one of its “founding fathers.”
Writing in a blog post the following day, Forman cited specific examples that moved the department to convene the meeting. Specifically, the looting of Jewish-owned stores and protestors lobbing a Molotov cocktail at a synagogue in Paris; a group of teenagers in Sydney, Australia, boarding a school bus for a Jewish primary school and shouting anti-Semitic epithets; and various other incidents just this past summer.
“These and other incidents are of deep concern to the United States government,” wrote Forman, adding that Kerry “emphasized that monitoring and combatting anti-Semitism is a global State Department priority, and reaffirmed our commitment to speaking out against this scourge whenever and wherever it exists.
“For Secretary Kerry, whose own grandparents came to the United States escaping anti-Semitism in what is today the Czech Republic – and whose own ancestors who stayed behind lost their lives in the Holocaust – this cause is very personal.”
Prior to his appointment as a special envoy, Forman was the executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council from 1996 until 2010, and served as the Jewish Outreach Director for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.
His current post – which is uniquely tasked to represent U.S. policy on anti-Semitism globally – was created as part of the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004.
Some of the other high level State Department officials participating in the meeting included Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for European Affairs Paul Jones.
B'nai B'rith International spoke unequivocally against those that shouted down Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) while he expressed pro-Israel sentiments at an "In Defense of Christians" (I.D.C.) dinner.
The fallout from the speech was covered in an article on Algemeiner, which referenced B'nai B'rith's statement.
Read highlights from the article, below:
Major American Jewish groups rushed to defend Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Thursday after he was booed off stage at a gala dinner on Wednesday night for voicing solidarity with Israel and Jews.
Leaders also criticized attendees at the event, a Washington, D.C. fundraiser for a suspected Iran aligned group called In Defense of Christians, for heckling Cruz, a darling of the evangelical Christian community.
Speaking on stage, Cruz said Israel and the Jewish people face the same threat from radical Islam as Christians in the Middle East, adding that Christians “have no greater ally than Israel.”
Audience members then booed and shouted protests, leading the senator to walk off stage and leave the event.
“Those who hate Israel hate America, and those who hate Jews hate Christians, and if this room will not recognize that, then my heart weeps that the men and women here will not stand in solidarity with Jews and Christians alike who are persecuted by radicals who seek to murder them,” he said. “If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, then I will not stand with you.”
B’nai B’rith International expressed similar sentiments, saying it was troubled that the gathering was “overshadowed by a display of animosity toward Israel.”
“Just as the entire international community must rally to protect the fundamental rights and dignity of Christians in places like Iraq and Syria, Christian leaders and faithful, along with others, are morally obliged do the same for Jews in the Middle East.
"There can be no condoning or belittling the Islamist extremists doctrinally committed to the violent destruction of the Middle East’s democratic Jewish state,” B’nai B’rith said. “If efforts for peace, and to protect Middle Eastern Christians, are to succeed, there must be recognition that ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ applies to the people of Israel as much as to any other human beings.”
The events will commence with a panel discussion – organised for the first time by B’nai B’rith UK – and sponsored by Jewish News, entitled Jewish Women in Public Life.
It will be chaired by Rabbi Baroness Julia Neuberger DBE (pictured) at the Jewish Museum on 18 September.
B’nai B’rith UK has invited a collection of the UK’s most distinguished women to discuss Women in Judaism in an open and celebratory fashion.
The high profile women set to take a seat on the panel alongside Baroness Neuberger are academic lawyer and current chairman of the Bar Standards Board Baroness Deech DBE; Baroness Hayman, who was the first lady speaker of The House of Lords; Dame Helen Hyde DBE, headteacher of Watford Girls’ Grammar School; Professor Julia Hobsbawm and chief executive of the Board of Deputies Gillian Merron.
Rabbi Neuberger, who was the second woman to become a rabbi in the UK and is senior rabbi at West London Synagogue, described the event’s importance: “It makes the point that there are now many women in leadership positions in the Jewish community, and points up a change in attitude to women across the community.
B’nai Brith Internacional entregó del Premio Humanitario a Joseph Harari y sus hermanos Raymond, Morris y Sion Harari, destacados miembros y líderes de la comunidad judía panameña e internacional.
B’nai B’rith es una organización no gubernamental de carácter filantrópico y con profunda orientación hacia los derechos humanos, actualmente con filiales en todo el mundo, y con presencia reconocida por las Naciones Unidas.
Desde su fundación en Nueva York en 1843, B’nai Brith ha luchado contra todo tipo de discriminación racial y religiosa, contra toda forma de violencia y por la dignidad de las personas del mundo.
Following the tragedies of Sept. 11, 2001, B'nai B'rith International published a statement condemning the attacks, consoling the families of the victims and announcing the opening of the disaster relief funds.
In the words of then B'nai B'rith President Richard D. Heideman:
"Our prayers are with the victims of Tuesday's unthinkable acts of terrorism. We send our condolences and prayers to the families and friends who have lost loved ones in these murderous attacks against the United States.
"This is horrible beyond belief, and we must band together to do all we can to help. We have begun an immediate effort to aid those directly affected by these devastating acts. This tragedy is such that people want to do anything they can to help."
Read more from the press release, scanned and posted in its entirety, below:
Hace diez días asumió como nuevo embajador de Israel en Brasil el poeta, historiador y diplomático druso Reda Mansour (foto).
Nacido en 1965 en la aldea Isfiya, en el norte de su país, es egresado de la Escuela de Gubernabilidad de la Universidad de Harvard e hizo un doctorado en Historia de Medio Oriente en la Universidad de Haifa, cuya área de investigación fueron los cambios en la percepción de la identidad y el entorno social.
Mansour estudió español en la Universidad de Salamanca y cursó un semestre de estudios generales de esa lengua en la Universidad Hebrea de Jerusalem.
Se involucró en organizaciones juveniles que alentaban el respeto a las diferencias culturales y promovían el intercambio y la comprensión, como la B’Nai B’Rith.
El flamante embajador israelí en Brasil fue activista del movimiento juvenil sionista Habonim Dror en los Estados Unidos y Canadá.
Mansour también fue el primer poeta no judío en escribir exclusivamente en hebreo y sus obras está siendo traducidas al español y el portugués, aunque ya tiene una pieza en castellano: Nómades.
The International Congress on Religious Freedom convened in Cordoba, Argentina, to discuss "Religious Freedom in the 21st Century: Religion, State and Society."
A preview posted on LaVoz and a recap article on Periodista Digital both note that B'nai B'rith Argentina was one of the member organization in attendance. Read more about the event, below (Spanish):
B'nai B'rith Teams With UNESCO, Plans Judeo-Spanish Symposium For European Day of Jewish Culture and Heritage (French)
On Monday, September 15, B'nai B'rith International and UNESCO will team up to host a symposium in Paris on "Judeo-Spanish Heritage trail and in the Mediterranean," in honor of European Day of Jewish Culture and Heritage.
The symposium was announced on CRIF.org, the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France, with a link for registration at the bottom.
Read the announcement below, in French:
L’UNESCO et la Représentation du B’nai B’rith International organisent le 15 septembre 2014 le colloque « Parcours judéo-espagnols et patrimoine en Méditerranée » à l’occasion des Journées européennes de la culture et du patrimoine juifs.
Dans le sillon du colloque organisé en 2012 à l’UNESCO par la Représentation du B’nai B’rith International, celui-ci a pour objectif de donner un coup de projecteur sur une langue que l’UNESCO a inscrite au nombre des langues en danger de disparition dans son « Atlas des langues en danger dans le monde » dont la première édition a paru en 1996.
La présence des Judéo-Espagnols en Méditerranée peut être retracée à travers des escales mais surtout leurs réseaux. Leurs parcours commencent dans la péninsule ibérique, d’où les Juifs furent expulsés en 1492. Un trajet migratoire les a ensuite portés vers différents ancrages disséminés en Amérique, en Europe occidentale et en Méditerranée.
Le brassage des cultures et des langues eut des conséquences de grande portée pour le développement du folklore et de la musique dans l'aire culturelle judéo-espagnole témoignant ainsi de l’énorme potentiel d'échange et de dialogue pour l'enrichissement mutuel des cultures. La formation d’une aire culturelle dans l’ex-empire ottoman a favorisé en particulier l’apparition d’une langue vernaculaire nouvelle, le judéo-espagnol oriental.
Des ancrages dans l’espace méditerranéen, singulièrement balkanique, seront présentés : depuis Majorque jusqu’à la Bulgarie et Istanbul où la langue est toujours vivante et enseignée en passant par Salonique « ville mère en Israël » et plus anciennement Venise, plaque tournante entre Europe chrétienne et empire ottoman.
Interventions et tables rondes permettront à des spécialistes des universités, de Picardie, de Paris-7 Diderot, de Bordeaux, de Venise, de l’Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) de l’Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales (INALCO), de l’Université grecque ouverte et de l’Institut de recherches sur les Juifs en Allemagne (Hambourg), de débattre de la diversité que porte cette diaspora et d’échanger sur son unité constitutive et créative, notamment du point de vue linguistique.
Forum judéo-espagnol à l'Unesco
Lundi 15 septembre 2014 de 9h30 à 18h,
Salle IV, entrée
125, avenue de Suffren Paris 7
L'inscription est obligatoire à l-adresse mail suivante:
Shalom TV Daily News featured B'nai B'rith International's Disaster Relief Fund as one recipient of Alpha Epsilon Pi's new $1 million philanthropy initiative.
B’nai B’rith was one of ten organizations selected during the Jewish fraternity's annual international convention, and will invest the generous grant in humanitarian aid efforts around the globe.
The story begins at the 3:48 mark in the video:
B'nai B'rith International was one of a handful of Jewish organizations to meet with the U.S. State Department for four hours, expressing concerns about rising anti-Semitism around the globe.
According to an article in the Jerusalem Post, Secretary of State John Kerry and three of his undersecretaries participated in the meetings.
Read highlights from the article, below:
Jewish leaders converged on the State Department to discuss rising anti-Semitism across the globe, which is of “deep concern” to the Obama administration, US officials said this week.
Meeting with the group for four hours on Tuesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry shared in worries over “the prevalence and pervasiveness of anti-Semitic threats and attacks,” the State Department said.
US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Tom Malinowski and Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Ira Forman led the discussions, attended only briefly by the secretary. Several other senior State Department officials participated the meeting.
Jewish representatives included leaders from the Jewish Federations of North America, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, B’nai B’rith, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and European Jewish communities.
On Iran, the secretary was firm in stating that negotiations over that country’s nuclear program would not be extended past it’s November 24 deadline.
“I think he wanted us to communicate the message to Israel,” the source stated. “I think the message was quite serious: That he is frustrated about what is happening. They [the administration] feel they invested a lot in it [peace negotiations].”
In June, the B'nai B'rith World Center presented the 22nd annual awards for Excellence in Diaspora Journalism, honoring a trio of Israeli journalists noted for their work in covering the Diaspora issues.
The following video covers the highlights of the evening, including the acceptance speeches from each of the three journalists. Most of the speeches are given in Hebrew with English subtitles. Here is an excerpt from each acceptance speech:
"I would like to thank again the honorable heads of B'nai B'rith, and the members of the jury as well, for this great honor in receiving this award, and I promise to make an effort to stay worthy of it in the continuation of my journalism career."
"I would like to use this stage to thank the B'nai B'rith World Center for their decision to dedicate a special award for covering this important field [with] the yearly award in memory of Wolf and Hilda Matsdorf."
"Thank you members of the jury...I greatly appreciate this lifetime achievement award."
Watch the awards ceremony highlights, below:
A high point of this year's Policy Forum was the Aug. 31 dinner at the Hebrew Club, where attendees dined with President Juan Carlos Varela, who was officially addressing the Panamanian Jewish community for the first time.
The president took to the podium and thanked B'nai B'rith for bringing the Policy Forum to Panama and that it was a great honor to host it, with this being only the second time the meeting has left the United States. Varela said he was impressed by the longevity of the organization and the work B'nai B'rith has done for 171 years. He conveyed respect for B'nai B'rith's commitment to human rights and said Panamanians share B'nai B'rith's principles of respect and tolerance. Varela also affirmed his country's support for the State of Israel and its right to defend itself. He offered Panama's support for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the region.
B'nai B'rith had the privilege of being joined by Julio Maria Sanguinetti, a former president of Uruguay. Sanguinetti discussed the issues and "evils" pervading the world today and the diametrically opposed worldviews between the West and the radical Islamist influence that is not only a force in the Middle East, but in Latin America as well. Sanguinetti spoke on globalization and the consumer and knowledge based society in which we live, and how the fundamentalist Islamic movement isn't just a clash of ideas against the West, it's a clash of civilizations.
Sanguinetti compared this ongoing "clash of civilizations" to the Cold War, where any friend of the United States or the Western World was an enemy of the Soviet Union. He noted we're seeing something similar with some governments of Latin America attacking Israel and recalling their foreign delegations.
Sanguinetti reaffirmed that Western ideals of "freedom, schooling and capitalism" are worth standing up for, but said it will be difficult for societies and governments to face these new threats because people would rather ignore it and carry on with their lives.
"It's a mix of fear, a mix of desire, not wanting to see," Sanguinetti said. "It's like people who don't want to go to the doctor for fear of bad news. That happens with societies too."
Nearly 100 Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) brothers from North America, Europe and Israel gathered at B’nai Brith Canada headquarters earlier this month to take part in a Hineni project sponsored by B’nai B’rith International. The brothers ate lunch and socialized with senior citizens as part of an enrichment conference stressing Jewish identity in an intergenerational forum.
B’nai B’rith staff and AEPi brothers facilitated games of bingo, ate pizza and swapped stories with residents from Toronto senior housing facilities.
Connecting the seniors with students created some unique intergenerational bonds. One such encounter occurred for Calgary University brother Shane Hamilton.
“I sat down with a lovely lady named Esther, who was from Lithuania and had survived the Holocaust. My grandmother was also from Lithuania; she escaped the Holocaust and her name was also Esther,” Hamilton said. “I thought that was pretty cool. This project has been a great way to get involved with the community, and I would recommend it for anyone.”
This is the eighth year of their partnership and fifth year that B’nai B’rith teamed with AEPi for a community service project as part of the fraternity’s annual international convention. Previous projects include assembling disaster kits, rebuilding a park in New Orleans destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and repainting a community centre in New York damaged by Super Storm Sandy.
“The ties that bind AEPi and B’nai B’rith are strong. From working together to help communities recover from disasters to walking together to bring Holocaust awareness to college campuses, B’nai B’rith and AEPi share similar goals and values,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “We continue to be impressed with the level of dedication to global human rights issues and support of Israel that the AEPi brothers demonstrate on a day-to-day basis.”
B’nai B’rith is the largest Jewish sponsor of government housing in North America, offering 45 facilities and thousands of apartment units in 29 communities between the United States and Canada.
Alpha Epsilon Pi is the largest fraternity of any kind in Canada and carries a mission of helping each student to develop character, responsibility and a proper set of Jewish values.
“I’m thrilled to talk about AEPi’s relationship with B’nai B’rith,” AEPi Executive Director Andy Borans said. “This Hineni program was fabulous, the way that the brothers interacted with the residents. I think both of our groups benefit tremendously from this partnership.”
B'nai B'rith Uruguay hosted Senator José Amorin from the Colorado Party and approximately 250 attendees to discuss "Israel, Latin America and Uruguay" in light of the recent conflict.
Amorin, a supporter of Israel, criticized Uruguayan President José Mujica for his declaration that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza.
Read a recap of the event in an article by La Red 21. Read an excerpt in Spanish, below:
El legislador realizó una conferencia en la sede de la B’Nai B’rith sobre: “Uruguay, Israel, América Latina y el Terrorismo”.
“Estamos acá para apoyar lo que siempre hemos apoyado, conceptos como la libertad y los valores”, sentenció.
Reflexionó: “En el enfrentamiento entre el Estado de Israel y el terrorismo está en juego un sistema de valores y quienes creemos que la libertad y la democracia son valores supremos no podemos y no debemos estar del lado del terrorismo sino condenarlo con todas nuestras fuerzas”.
Amorín señaló que en Uruguay, “la posición por parte del gobierno es muy negativa” a través de manifestaciones y “actitudes infelices e inapropiadas”.
Recordó que “el presidente José Mujica dijo que los bombardeos de Israel son un genocidio, expresión que es notoriamente falsa y que además ofende y provoca a la colectividad judía en nuestro país”, aseguró.
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