A global Jewish group urged central and east European countries on Wednesday to return or provide compensation for property seized during the Holocaust and accused Poland, Latvia and Romania in particular of foot-dragging.
After a conference in Prague, the World Jewish Restitution Organisation (WJRO) said tens of thousands of Nazi Holocaust victims and their heirs had not been able to resolve claims on stolen property despite two decades of trying since the fall of post-war communist regimes in central and eastern Europe...more.
by Edmon J. Rodman
We need to celebrate a Lincoln Chanukah this year.
It’s not because of the new Spielberg movie — that gives us something to do on Christmas Day — but because of the 150th anniversary of a little-known event in American history that threatened to expel a portion of the Civil War-era Jewish population from their homes on the Festival of Lights.
On Dec. 17, 1862, during the heighth of the war, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant issued General Orders 11 expelling “Jews as a class” from a war zone that included areas of Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky within a 24-hour period. It was the first day of Chanukah.
The B’nai B’rith sent a petition to Washington calling upon President Lincoln to “annul” the order. Other Jewish leaders moved to organize delegations to meet with Lincoln. A Jewish merchant from Paducah named Cesar Kaskel traveled to Washington on a mission to have the order overturned. Upon arrival he was able to arrange through an Ohio congressman a meeting with the president.
Ombudsman Patrick B. Pexton grossly misrepresented the situation in Gaza in his Nov. 25 piece “Outrage over a front-page photo.”
He writes that the hundreds of Hamas rockets fired into Israel from Gaza “are like bee stings on the Israeli bear’s behind.” Really? So apparently it’s a mere nuisance for the half-a-million residents of such Israeli cities as Sderot, Ashkelon and Beersheva who, on a daily basis, live in bomb shelters to escape the terrorist rocket fire. For those who venture out, they may be lucky to have a 15 second warning before these “bee stings” crash down into their cities. But that’s just a slight inconvenience to Mr. Pexton. That would be like Silver Spring firing rockets at the D.C. metro area every day. Could he live like that?
The possibility that many of the Hamas rockets are erratic and unguided does not make them any less deadly, or scary, since they are fired indiscriminately at the civilian population.
Mr. Pexton discounts how this latest conflagration began. In his revision of the facts, he writes how Hamas “began firing more accurate and deadly missiles in response to the Israeli offensive that had begun the day before.” In fact, more than 700 rockets had been fired from Gaza into Israel this year--before this crisis began. Mr. Pexton fails to acknowledge both the rocket fire from Gaza that preceded the crisis and the remarkable Israeli restraint in the face of such an onslaught. He overlooks the fact that Israel was responding to Hamas rockets fired into Israel from Gaza. Israel’s operation was a reaction to relentless terror attacks.
“In addition to the [Hamas] rockets being weak, Israel’s defenses are strong,” Mr. Pexton writes. Here, he is offering an outrageous justification for the Hamas terror attacks. Israel’s defenses are so strong because it is surrounded by enemies out to destroy it. Because Israel has had to develop strong defenses, its death and casualty toll isn’t higher.
Mr. Pexton seems to follow the Post’s basic canard: Israel started this situation.
Daniel S. Mariaschin
B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President
Las organizaciones buscan el fortalecimiento de la capacidad de respuesta frente al consumo de drogas, a través de proyectos de “prevención y edición de material preventivo sobre el abuso de sustancias”.
Otro de los objetivos es el fortalecimiento de las “redes de recursos sobre la temática a todo nivel, tanto local como regional y nacional”.
El convenio realiza especial énfasis en contribuir al “proceso de abordaje de las poblaciones vulnerables con consumos problemáticos de drogas”. La firma del convenio se realizó este miércoles en la Torre Ejecutiva...more.
La firma del convenio de cooperación entre la Junta Nacional de Drogas y la B'nai B'rith Uruguay se enmarcará dentro de las acciones de apoyo a la sensibilización sobre el consumo problemático de sustancias...more.
by Sandy Rashty
Gilad Shalit has made his first visit to Britain since spending five years as a prisoner at the hands of Hamas.
The former Israeli soldier thanked British Jews for their efforts to campaign for his release, took part in a conference and watched a Premier League football match during his four-night trip which ended earlier this week.
The visit came just days after the Israeli strike which killed Hamas military leader Ahmed Jabari, who masterminded Mr Shalit’s capture in June 2006.
Mr Shalit, 26, travelled to London to take part in a conference organised by B’nai B’rith UK. On Friday, Mr Shalit met members of the community, including London cabbies who had publicised his plight by putting his image on their taxis...more.
NBC made a poor choice and left an unfair image in using the loaded word “assassinate” in reference to Israel’s defensive actions in Gaza: "It's estimated that nearly 40 Hamas militants have been assassinated in the last six days as the fighting escalates between Gaza and Israel. NBC's Richard Engel reports."
All of Israel’s military actions in the last week have been in response to more than 700 Hamas rockets fired into Israel. After showing incredible restraint for days as a good portion of the Israeli population hid in bomb shelters from the terror onslaught, the Israeli government moved to protect and defend its people. Israel’s military response has been a reaction to a Hamas offensive.
The people who were targeted were Hamas operatives who ordered, organized and carried out rocket and other attacks on Israeli civilians.
Using the word “assassinate” in reference to Israel’s actions casts Israel as the aggressor. This leaves viewers with a distorted view of the situation.
Daniel S. Mariaschin
B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President
A couple of thousand people gathered outside the Israeli Embassy in Paris Tuesday evening in a peaceful demonstration supporting the country during Operation Pillar of Defense.
As dozens of policemen in riot gear patrolled the adjacent Champs Elysees, Jewish community leaders, local politicians and representatives of pro-Israel groups took to the stage to denounce Hamas rocket attacks and call for the French government to back the Jewish state.
The demonstration was organized by the French Jewish umbrella organization, CRIF, and several other community groups, including B’nai B’rith...more.
by Daniel S. Mariaschin, executive vice president of B'nai B'rith International
It’s a shame to have to re-visit history for the umpteenth time, but Palestinian revisionism forces us to provide a reality check.
The Palestinian National Authority has announced it will seek to upgrade its status at the United Nations to non-member state (the status the Vatican now enjoys) on Nov. 29. The choice of date is no accident.
The date, of course, relates to the partition vote at the United Nations in 1947, rejected by the Arabs, and now considered the origins of what the Palestinians call the “Nakba”—or “catastrophe” (the Palestinians actually “commemorate” the “Nakba” on May 15, which is when the State of Israel was declared).
Put bluntly, the Palestinians today are seeking to gain, on the cheap what they rejected in 1947.
Sixty-five years later, the world, and the Jewish people are in a far different place.
(It is unclear if the recent wave of Hamas rocket attacks into Israel and Israel’s defensive response will have an impact on the Palestinians’ efforts at the U.N., but the latest word is the Palestinians will stick with the plan to seek a change in status on Nov. 29.).
Part of the problem is that Palestinian leadership is both in denial, and is also emboldened, by side-stepping Israel and taking these steps directly to the international community.
It is time for the countries the Palestinians either fear or respect to lay down the law and declare to the Palestinians: Don’t expect us to do your heavy lifting. Get to the negotiating table or lose your opportunity.
Now it may be that the Palestinians won’t listen to this advice, or more likely, really don’t care.
In the years since Oslo, what’s become increasingly clear is the impression that the so-called moderates of the Palestinian National Authority prefer the status of permanent victim, while still enjoying the trappings of statehood (e.g. an annual speech by Mahmoud Abbas before the U.N. General Assembly). They’d rather continue on both of those fronts than concede the right of Jewish sovereignty to Israel and assume the responsibilities and obligations of running a state.
For nearly four years, the Palestinians have refused to commit to negotiations notwithstanding Israel’s offer to meet without pre-conditions. Logic would have it that the onus for this failure to move forward would lie with the Palestinians. But that is not the way it plays out in real life. The fingers of blame are often pointed in Israel’s direction: The settlement freeze wasn’t long enough, there are too many checkpoints, the Gaza blockade—the list goes on and is well known.
With a full agenda of contentious issues, how can anyone expect unilateral moves by the Palestinian National Authority will produce anything other than a perpetuation of the conflict?
Having cast Israel into the corner at every turn, and with a good part of international public opinion at his back, Abbas is now gambling on doing the ultimate end-run, but being accorded increased international recognition.
What makes this all-the-more hypocritical is that with the United Nations, where this vote will occur, and European Union, which is divided on this issue, we have two of the four parties to the Quartet— the international grouping which has pledged support for a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.
So far, according to an EU spokesman, nearly half of the 27 EU member states have expressed support for the non-member state status bid of the Palestinians. Hopefully, this will not be the case. The EU nations that do vote “for” will cast those countries as enablers of diplomatic oblivion for the peace process. All EU countries should adhere to their bloc’s own guidelines on a negotiated settlement and vote against the Palestinian move.
One would think that with the Middle East in the midst of what will be a long period of uncertainty (at best) and violent uncertainty (at worst) cooler heads would see the Palestinian initiative as counterproductive to a goal of stability in the region.
That appears not to be the case, as expediency—or issue fatigue—may very well, and most regrettably, carry the day.
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