by J.J. Goldberg
The Capitol Hill debate over authorizing new sanctions on Iran is getting pretty nasty. Administration officials are warning, anonymously so far, that passage of the Robert Menendez-Mark Kirk bill to stiffen the West’s negotiating terms and compel new sanctions will kill the diplomatic effort and make war more likely.
Ynet’s Yitzhak Ben-Horin reports that Joe Biden and John Kerry were on Capitol Hill warning that passage of the bill would be interpreted in Europe as a show of bad faith on Washington’s part and would shatter the existing sanctions regime that Obama managed to stitch together over the past five years.
The bill has been co-sponsored by a total of 26 senators, including 13 Democrats and 13 Republicans. Ten other senators came out against the bill Thursday night, writing in a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid that “new sanctions would play into the hands of those in Iran who are most eager to see the negotiations fail.” These aren’t just any 10 Democrats, though—they’re all committee chairs (the Senate has 20 standing committees in all). They asked Reid in effect to help them block the bill, specifically requesting that they “be consulted prior to any proposed unanimous consent or other agreement” to move the sanctions forward. By being warned of unanimous consent, they can be sure to show up and oppose it, which kicks off the long, tedious process of normal Senate rules.
Jewish organizations have come out overwhelmingly in favor of the bill, which will probably go a long way toward deterring a reprise of those 2003-era canards that the Jewish lobby was pushing America toward war. Here are the national Jewish organizations that have come out in favor as of tonight (Thursday 12/19) besides AJC: Anti-Defamation League, B’nai B’rith, Emergency Committee for Israel, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Republican Jewish Coalition, World Jewish Congress. No stampede there...more.
by Emma Silvers
Hannah, 25, looked like many other young women in San Francisco during an unusually cold week this month. Dressed in a purple down jacket, jeans and boots, she jiggled in place to stay warm as she waited in line outside the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. Beneath a fuzzy hat, her hair was tidily combed; in her arms was a small terrier.
At a venue where people ordinarily line up for rock shows, Hannah was waiting for something very different. “Let’s see,” she said, pulling a card out of her purse and running down a printed checklist of services. “I want to get my California ID. I’m going to see the dentist. [The dog] needs veterinary care … and, of course, I’m going to talk to employment services.”
Emil Knopf, 80, is a Holocaust survivor, a past president of the Jewish fraternal organization B’nai B’rith, and a repeat PHC volunteer. Working as a client escort on Dec. 11, he greeted everyone he was tasked with showing around — many of them men much taller and more physically able than him — with a warm smile. Earlier in the morning at the Jewish learning session, looking over the three passages of text, participants had been asked to share which resonated with them and why. Knopf had pointed to the words penned by Raphael:
“We Jews know what it means to be homeless. By the end of the Holocaust, 6 million Jews had been exterminated and millions more uprooted from their homes all over Europe … during the 15th to 18th centuries, 15 to 25 percent of the Jewish community were either paupers or unemployed...more.
by Ron Kampeas
For Jewish and pro-Israel groups, the congressional year is ending with an odd reversal: the prospect, however fragile, of bipartisan comity on budget issues coupled with a rare partisan disagreement on Middle Eastern policy.
The groups that deal with social welfare and justice issues are heartened, albeit warily, by the end-of-year budget forged by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Budget Committee, and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), his Senate counterpart.
Meanwhile, pronounced differences are emerging in the bipartisan coalition that over the last decade has shaped the tough sanctions that helped compel Iran to join talks aimed at ensuring it does not obtain a nuclear weapon.
Democrats are heeding White House pleas to lay low while the talks get underway, while Republicans are eager to advance legislation that would influence any final deal.
“Looking back at the year, to sum it up, it’s been a really bad year that just avoided getting a lot worse,” said Rachel Goldberg, director of aging policy at B’nai B’rith International, which operates 42 homes for the elderly across the United States...more.
CRIF: Le B’nai B’rith France dénonce la décision du Conseil Municipal de Bagnolet qui a adopté une motion décernant le titre « citoyen d'honneur de la ville » à Georges Ibrahim Abdallah (FRENCH)
En déclarant «Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, militant communiste, a fait partie de la résistance lorsque son pays, le Liban, a été envahi par Israël en 1978. Il est un défenseur acharné de la juste cause palestinienne», Monsieur Marc Everbecq, loin d’apaiser les actes antisémites, alimente le discours de ceux qui incitent à la violence contre les Juifs en France.
Georges Ibrahim Abdallah était le chef des Fractions Armées Révolutionnaires Libanaise dont il a dirigé les opérations en France sous les pseudonymes Salih al-Masri et Abdu-Qadir. Le 18 janvier 1982 le FARL assassine l’attaché militaire américain à Paris Monsieur Charles R. Ray, le 3 avril il assassine le diplomate israélien Yacov Barsimentov et blesse gravement le consul américain à Strasbourg Robert Onan Homme. Georges Ibrahim Abdallah a été arrêté à Lyon en 1984 et a été condamné à la prison à vie en 1987.
Le B’nai B’rith France dénonce la décision politique du maire communiste de Bagnolet qui, dans un contexte chargé d'incidents racistes et antisémites, souffle sur les braises de la haine et encourage les actes contre la communauté juive...more.
by Steve Linde
The US should be “very careful” in negotiating future nuclear deals with Iran to ease international sanctions, B’nai B’rith International president Allan J. Jacobs warned on Thursday.
“If we had a message to the administration, it would be that we have to be careful in reaching any further agreements with Iran,” Jacobs told The Jerusalem Post in an interview at the capital’s Inbal Hotel.
“They will push the envelope as far as they can, and once you’ve opened the door to some of these sanctions, it’s going to be very difficult to close the door back again if Iran violates the agreements.”
Jacobs this week headed what he termed a B’nai B’rith “fact-finding visit” to Israel as the organization celebrates its 170th anniversary, and met with, among others, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon...more.
Radio Jai 96.3: B'nai B'rith insta a Estados Unidos a ''tener cuidado en las negociaciones con Irán'' (SPANISH)
En una entrevista con el diario israelí The Jerusalem Post, Jacobs expresó que "una vez que Irán ha abierto la puerta a algunas de estas sanciones, va a ser muy difícil cerrar la puerta de atrás de nuevo si Teherán viola los acuerdos internacionales".
Jacobs se reunió en Jerusalem durante el 170 aniversario de la organización con el primer ministro Binyamin Netanyahu y el ministro de Defensa, Moshé Yaalon.
En cuanto a las negociaciones entre Israel y los palestinos, Jacobs resaltó que tenía la impresión de que los palestinos estaban "rechazando todo", incluyendo el más reciente plan de seguridad presentado por los EE.UU...more.
CRIF: Le Prix des Droits de l’Homme du B’nai B’rith France 2013 a été attribué à Monsieur Boualem Sansal (FRENCH)
Le Prix des droits de l’Homme du B’nai B’rith France «Amour Fraternel – Harmonie – Bienfaisance » a pour objectif de mettre à l’honneur des personnalités de la société civile disposant des qualités essentielles de tolérance et d’humanisme et qui œuvrent par leur engagement personnel à la défense des valeurs fondamentales de dialogue et de paix contribuant ainsi au rapprochement entre les communautés.
Né en 1949 à côté d’Alger, Boualem Sansal a une formation d’ingénieur et un doctorat d’économie. Après avoir été tour à tour enseignant, consultant et chef d’entreprise, il devient haut fonctionnaire en 1995 au ministère de l’Industrie, poste dont il sera limogé en 2003 à cause de ses prises de position critiques vis-à-vis du pouvoir. Il se dédie alors à la littérature...more.
by Sarah Trefethen
Sometimes, even if you’re not sure where the puck is going, you should skate for it anyway, Arthur Mirante told the members of B’nai B’rith at the group’s monthly luncheon last week.
“I can’t remember a time in my 35-year business career that has been so characterized by uncertainty,” Avison Young’s Tri-state president told the crowd.
Unlike in booms and downturns of the past, when everyone could at least agree on the way things are trending, today’s risks are harder to identify and quantify, according to Mirante...more.
The Times of Israel (op-ed): Israel’s inclusion in Western group in Geneva: A step in the right direction
by David J. Michaels, director of United Nations and Intercommunal Affairs at B’nai B’rith International
On Dec. 2, Israel was granted membership in Geneva of the Western European and Others Group (WEOG), one of the semi-official “regional groups” within the United Nations. Effective at the start of 2014, this step represents modest but important movement toward eroding systemic discrimination against Israel within the world body.
Regional groups largely control the election of members to important U.N. positions, and also engage in substantive coordination of policy at the United Nations. As a Middle Eastern state, Israel’s natural regional group would be the Asia-Pacific Group, which includes such powerhouses as China, India and Japan, as well as several of Israel’s most dependable friends at the United Nations, the Pacific island nations of Micronesia, Nauru and the Marshall Islands. However, a host of Arab and Muslim members of the Asian Group, including Syria and Iran, have insisted on excluding Israel.
Thus, for decades, Israel was the only member state to be deprived of a home in a grouping of counterparts within the U.N. system. By contrast, Turkey enjoys inclusion in both WEOG and the Asian Group. And the observer delegation of the Palestinians – now called the “State of Palestine” at the United Nations – has already been included as a full member of the Asian Group for 27 years.
In 2000, Israel was admitted as a member of WEOG in New York. Subsequently, an Israeli ambassador to the United Nations was elected as a vice president of the General Assembly for the first time in 53 years. However, Israel had not been granted inclusion in WEOG in Geneva, the U.N.’s European hub and home to the Human Rights Council, or elsewhere. (In 2010, meanwhile, Israel was invited to take part in sessions in Geneva, but not in New York, of the consultative group JUSCANZ, which convenes advanced democracies that are not European Union members.) For years, a series of WEOG states objected to expanding Israeli membership in the group.
In March 2012, Israel announced that it would discontinue engagement with the Human Rights Council. This followed an unending barrage of anti-Israel excoriations at the council dressed as probes, from the predestined Goldstone “fact-finding mission” on Hamas-controlled Gaza to condemnation of Israel’s interception of a Turkish flotilla set to breach a maritime closure on that territory.
In January 2013, Israel decided not to participate in the council’s “Universal Periodic Review” (UPR) process, an assessment of each country’s human rights performance. Past Israeli participation in the UPR involved being subjected to predictably negative scrutiny – while some of the world’s worst rights abusers use the same exercise to congratulate one another on their supposed commitment to human dignity.
Western countries, though, were concerned over the precedent that might be set in Israel’s “boycotting” of the UPR. Accordingly, quiet talks began with Israel on possible terms for its reengagement. Israel soon announced that it would resume cooperation with the council – and it proceeded to submit to the UPR. And, finally, Israel was invited to join WEOG in Geneva, while European governments also signaled that they would avoid discussing Israeli policies under the rubric of “item 7” – the council’s only permanent agenda item dedicated to scrutinizing a single country, Israel.
The longstanding burden of exclusion has symbolized Israel’s unparalleled mistreatment on the international scene – and its adversaries’ campaign to exploit the United Nations as a political tool for isolating, demonizing and even delegitimizing the only Jewish, democratic state.
To be sure, WEOG admission does not automatically give Israel a level playing field at the United Nations, nor does it guarantee meaningful participation, as the world body is rarely a meritocracy. Though Israel, which has never had a term on the Security Council, hopes to win a seat on that preeminent body in 2018, Germany says that it will again contend for the same spot.
There has been little relevant structural or attitudinal change at the United Nations, which routinely condemns Israel more than all other countries combined. Three U.N. bureaucratic bodies, and a Human Rights Council special investigator, are dedicated to the advancement of an extreme version of Palestinians’ political narrative and objectives. International officials were astonishingly silent when Iran’s supreme leader labeled Israel – even amid recent nuclear negotiations – a “rabid dog” doomed to “annihilation.” In commemoration of the very date in 1947 on which the United Nations had called for a Jewish state, the world body hosted an event at which the Arab League representative rejected recognizing Israel as such. Successive speakers also accused the country of “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing,” and a United Methodist Church official renewed his call for “boycott, divestment and sanctions” measures against Israel.
The General Assembly, meanwhile, decided to declare 2014 the “International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.” One can only hope that Palestinian leaders will not use the occasion to make good on threats to renew “internationalizing” disputes with Israel at the United Nations.
This said, after decades of suffering second-class-citizen status at the United Nations, Israel’s growing integration among fellow democracies there is both appropriate and encouraging.
We must advocate for more such progress – for the standing of the United Nations itself as much as for Israel.
La Comunidad Judía de Chile otorgará el premio "René Cassin" a la abogada y docente de la Escuela Latinaoemricana de Estudios de Postgrado (ELAP) de Universidad de Arte y Ciencias Sociales -ARCIS, Carmen Hertz, en una ceremonia que se realizó ayer martes 10 de diciembre en la sede de B'nai B'rith, ubicada en Avenida Ricardo Lyon 1933, a las 20 horas.
La distinción, que se lleva a cabo en recuerdo del Premio Nobel de la Paz (1968) y redactor de la Declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos, René Cassin, le fue otorgada a la abogada por su trayectoria en materian de defensa de los derechos humanos. La distinción es otorgada con el beneplácito de Bïnai Bïrith Internacional, que tiene presencia en 57 países del mundo y cuya sede se encuentra en Washington DC...more.
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