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.”
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.