The Jewish Exponent covered our donation of COVID-19 relief kits to communities struggling with the effects of the pandemic in the Philadelphia area.
COVID-19 Relief Kits Donated
B’nai B’rith Community Coordinator Samuel Domsky of Huntingdon Valley presented Rabbi Sandy Berliner, chaplain and service coordinator for Federation Housing locations in the Philadelphia area, with 150 COVID-19 relief kits provided by B’nai B’rith.
Residents and staff of the Arthur and Estelle Sidewater House in Philadelphia and Florence E. Green House in Trevose received kits containing a cloth facemask and travel-sized hand sanitizer, both imprinted with the B’nai B’rith logo.
These kits will help ensure residents and staff stay safe during the pandemic.
The donation is one of many made as part of B’nai B’rith’s project to provide 3,000 COVID-19 relief kits around the U.S. Individual B’nai B’rith community coordinators will donate kits on behalf of B’nai B’rith to local agencies dedicated to serving the community.
The B’nai B’rith COVID-19 relief campaign has supported projects around the world since it began in March.
The B’nai B’rith Disaster Relief Fund has responded to manmade and natural disasters worldwide since 1865.
The Algemeiner quoted B'nai B'rith International in its coverage of a Pakistani court's immediate release of four men accused in the 2002 murder of WSJ journalist Daniel Pearl.
Media organizations and Jewish groups were among those reacting furiously on Thursday to the decision of a Pakistani court to immediately release four men accused of orchestrating the 2002 kidnapping and murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl.
Pearl, a 38-year-old Wall Street Journal reporter, was investigating Islamist militants in Karachi after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States when he was seized by terrorists connected to Al Qaeda.
His gruesome death by beheading was captured on video, and included Pearl saying the words, “My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, I am Jewish,” moments before he was killed.
The France-based organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF) denounced the Pakistani court’s decision on Twitter for symbolizing “the impunity of crimes against journalists.”
Separately, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) — another leading media freedom NGO — tweeted that the release of British-born Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who masterminded Pearl’s abduction and killing, would increase “the threats facing journalists in Pakistan.”
Jewish groups also rebuked the Pakistani court.
“We strongly condemn the order made by the Sindh High Court in Pakistan today to release the four men accused of orchestrating the kidnapping and murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002,” B’nai B’rith International said in a statement. “This decision is not only a miscarriage of justice, it is also an insult to the memory of Daniel Pearl and to his family.”
Jonathan Greenblatt — CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) — expressed similar outrage.
JNS mentioned our statement on the COVID-19 relief package deal reached by Congress.
(December 22, 2020 / JNS) Jewish and pro-Israel groups expressed appreciation to Congress for passing a 5,593-page spending package on Monday night that includes $1.4 trillion to fund the government, in addition to annual U.S. assistance to Israel, and as much as $900 billion in relief for those affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The bill now goes to U.S. President Donald Trump to sign it into law.
Relief includes $600 stimulus checks per adult and child. Single people earning up to $75,000 will receive $600, while married couples earning up to $150,000 will receive $1,200. Checks will be reduced by $5 for every $100 in income for those above those thresholds. Single people who earn more than $87,000 or married couples who earn more than $174,000 will not receive money.
The relief also allocates $300 per week in enhanced unemployment insurance for 11 weeks, more funds for vaccine distribution and COVID-19 testing.
It also consists of $319 billion for small businesses, including $284 billion in loans for the Paycheck Protection Program from the Small Business Administration (SBA). This included $20 billion through the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) program and $15 billion for theaters, live venues and museums.
The bill allocates $82 billion in education funding, including $2.75 billion to support Jewish, Catholic and other nonpublic schools.
The spending bill includes $180 million in funding for security for nonprofit institutions.
In a statement applauding the legislation ahead of it being passed, the Jewish Federations of North America said—citing a record number of anti-Semitic attacks in the United States in 2019— that “this bolstered funding will help to secure thousands of synagogues, Jewish community agencies and organizations, as well as other faith and communal groups who have too frequently been the victims of deadly attacks.”
The bill also includes the seventh year of funding for Holocaust survivors and older adults with a history of trauma and their families. JFNA said that its “Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care, which benefits from federal funding, will be able to continue to its work.”
In a statement ahead of the legislative package being passed, B’nai B’rith International expressed gratitude for the economic relief and extension of the Paycheck Protection Program, though said it was “disappointed that there were no provisions made for low-income senior housing in this stimulus bill.”
“As the largest national Jewish sponsor of low-income, nonsectarian housing for seniors in the country, we are focused on the urgent needs of this population,” continued the organization. “We would have appreciated funds for more supplies, staffing, service coordinators and Wi-Fi accessibility for subsidized housing for seniors.”
Ahead of it being passed, the Orthodox Union also applauded the government spending and relief package, especially for K-12 schools.
In the American Jewish community, almost 1,000 Jewish day schools educate approximately 300,000 students and employ many thousands of teachers and other staff. As with so many other institutions, the impact of the COVID-19 crisis has been terribly disruptive and costly to these schools, it explained.
“That is why it is essential for this latest federal relief package to include a great amount of support for these schools and, among them, America’s Jewish, Catholic and other nonpublic schools,” said OU executive director for public policy Nathan Diament. “We are all in this together. We cannot beat back the pandemic, much less educate children, in some schools but not others. Thus, we are very thankful that congressional leaders set aside $2.75 billion to help our schools in this emergency.”
‘Ensuring critical support for Israel’s security’
Moreover, the bill includes legislation protecting victims of terrorism and restoring Sudan’s immunity from terror-related lawsuits in the aftermath of the Northeast African nation recently agreeing to normalize ties with Israel.
The legislative package includes the annual $3.8 billion in assistance to Israel in accordance with the 2016 10-year $38 billion memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the United States and Israel. It consisted of $3.3 billion in security assistance and $500 million for U.S.-Israel missile defense cooperation authorized by the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which passed earlier this month.
The bill also allocates $47.5 million in anti-tunnel technology and $25 million for counter-unmanned aerial systems, two burgeoning areas of cooperation in addressing threats from tunnel attacks and drones.
Additionally, the legislation includes $2 million to fund a new U.S.-Israel cooperative initiative on COVID-related and health technologies research; $2 million to fund a new Israel-U.S. Agency for International Development international development cooperative program to support local solutions to address sustainability challenges; $4 million for the U.S.-Israel Center of Excellence in Energy and Water; $2 million for the Israel Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation supporting U.S.-Israel energy cooperative programs; and $2 million for U.S.-Israel cooperative efforts related to border security, maritime security, biometrics, cybersecurity and video analytics.
Finally, the bill allocates $2 million to fund a new strategic dialogue of the Eastern Mediterranean Partnership among the United States, Israel, Greece and Cyprus; and $50 million to fund and authorize the Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Fund aimed at investing in economic and people-to-people partnerships between Israelis and Palestinians, named for Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), who is retiring and has been known as a stalwart ally of the Jewish state in Congress.
Following the legislation’s passage, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee heralded Congress “for ensuring critical support for Israel’s security and strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship.”
The Times of Israel published an op-ed by B'nai B'rith International Director of EU Affairs Alina Bricman regarding the recent European Court of Justice ruling to allow member states to impose restrictions on ritual slaughter.
As a Jewish European, last week’s ruling to by the European Court of Justice to allow member states to impose restrictions on ritual slaughter was personal.
I say that as a secular Jew, one who does not eat kosher meat. I was raised in Eastern Europe, in Romania, where Communism nearly obliterated what was left of Jewish life after the Shoah. I was one of those Jews, who like many in the region had Christmas trees alongside their Chanukkiah. My parents – as their parents – are not well versed in Jewish liturgy. Our home – while deeply embracing our Jewish identity, was empty of regular Jewish practice.
Yet, Jewish religious freedom is personal to me; it’s personal to all Jews. We know the history of suffering and indignities that our ancestors have endured to preserve that freedom. And we know the richness of thought and culture, of philosophy and tradition that has stemmed and continues to stem out of Judaism, binding Jews of all stripes together worldwide, and shaping, without a shadow of doubt, the European ethos – it’s values and principles, as we know them today.
I, like most Jewish Europeans, love Europe. This is not merely anecdotal. Multiple surveys of Jewish Europeans confirm this attachment, which is often greater than that of non-Jewish Europeans. And how could that not be so? Post-WWII Europe is founded on a promise to safeguard Jewish life and to celebrate it as part of European life; a promise to nurture pluralism and diversity; a promise to protect fundamental freedoms. That is a Europe that the dwindling Jewish community after the war decided to embrace – that was our home, and in this new Europe we could bring forth a Jewish renaissance.
That is why today’s ruling bore down so heavily. The ruling grants EU countries the right to require further restrictions on religious slaughter of animals, a core tenant of Judaism – one that has animal welfare at its core. It comes on the back of a prior ruling in Belgium, that granted such restrictions, balancing religious freedom and animal safety and favoring the latter. Today’s ruling though, had to deal with another balancing act: this time, religious freedom was weighed against the member states rights and jurisdiction. This ruling too favored the latter. It went against the recommendations made by the Advocate General (AG) to the ECJ, that such a ruling would be a disproportionate infringement of fundamental rights. In both cases, the fundamental right to freedom of religion had a negligible weight.
At best, the decision shows an utter lack of understanding and empathy for the essential place that the preservation of certain religious laws – such as ritual slaughter – occupies in one’s religious expression, in one’s faith and sense of self, in one’s communal affiliation and feeling of belonging and of course, in the collective identity and manifestation of a community. At worst, it is a not-too-subtle message: “You don’t belong”, to Jewish as well as Muslim communities throughout Europe – ergo, to millions of Europeans.
The feeling I have today is one I’ve had too often – disappointment, otherness, frustration. Yet it is nothing compared to what practicing religious Jews are experiencing today. For them, Jewish life is, as of today, effectively limited. Families may choose to relocate. Their sense of safety in society will undoubtably be diminished.
Just the other week, the Council of the European Union produced a unanimous declaration reaffirming states’ commitment to safeguarding Jewish life in Europe. It’s worth repeating part of it here:
“Judaism and Jewish life have contributed considerably to shaping European identity and enriching Europe’s cultural, intellectual and religious heritage. We are grateful that 75 years after the Holocaust, Jewish life, in all its diversity, is deeply rooted and thriving again in Europe. It is our permanent, shared responsibility to actively protect and support Jewish life.”
If the Court of Justice ruling is to stand alongside the above declaration – we need a new framework for religious freedom in the EU.
The Jerusalem Post covered our joint virtual conference with the Jerusalem Institute for Security and Strategy (JISS) on the future of U.S.-Israeli relations.
The incoming Biden administration may waste sanctions leverage the US has against Iran simply because of an emotional reaction to undo everything the Trump administration did, former national security adviser Yaakov Amidror said Monday.
Speaking at a virtual conference sponsored by B’nai B’rith International and the Jerusalem Institute for Security and Strategy, he said President-elect Joe Biden will enter office with a major advantage.
The Trump administration has used a “maximum pressure” campaign dating back to May 2018, which has heavily pressed the Islamic Republic to make compromises regarding its nuclear program and terrorism activities, even if Iran has not caved until now, he said.
“It would be a huge mistake not to use this leverage made by the previous administration, only because it was built by the Trump administration,” Amidror said.
There appears to be a feeling among many Biden supporters that anything Trump did needs to be torn down, similarly to how Trump wanted to tear down all of Obamacare regardless of wide support for aspects of the law, he said.
“With the new administration, we might have another problem,” he added. “It is the symbol of destroying the legacy of Trump and going back to president [Barack] Obama’s legacy.”
“The Iranians built their policy on the assumption that, after four years, Obama’s people will come back, and they can go back to stage one and have the bad agreement, which for them was very good,” Amidror said. “If this administration will make it clear when coming in that it will not go back to square one – that when he [Biden] spoke about a new and stronger agreement, he meant it – they [Iran] will have to reconsider their whole policy. This might succeed.”
“If, on the contrary, the next administration will [remove] the sanctions and say, ‘Let’s go back to the old agreement, and then we will negotiate a new one, taking care of all of the loopholes of the old agreement’… there is no chance,” he said.
Amidror suggested a 50-year deal would be needed to limit Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The 2015 nuclear deal’s 10- to 15-year limit was far too short in the history of nation-states, he said.
The “All The World’s a Stage Theater” allows Palestinians merely to add to the list of anti-Israel resolutions and build on anti-Israel bias.
Who says the pandemic has killed theater in New York? It thrives at one of the world’s largest stages – the United Nations. In no other place in the world does comedy and tragedy mix with such demonic fanfare. While the ever-popular Lion King is scheduled to resume in June 2021 at the Minskoff Theatre, the Lying King continued its notorious run last week at the UN General Assembly.
Read B'nai B'rith President Charles O. Kaufman's Op-Ed in the Jerusalem Post.
The Jerusalem Post mentioned the B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem Award for Journalism in its coverage of award-winning reporter Dina Kraft’s podcast, The Branch. Kraft is a 2020 Award recipient for her outstanding diaspora reportage of Jews in America for Haaretz.
In India, a recent Netflix series featuring a romance between a Muslim man and a Hindi girl ignited nationalist outrage. In Israel, award-winning reporter Dina Kraft’s podcast The Branch, about Jews and Arabs forging connections has done the opposite – sparking a sense of optimism.
The upbeat, evocative podcasts, sponsored by Hadassah, have achieved acclaim in a fractured world that COVID-19 has made even more fractured, shining light on the everyday intertwined lives of Arabs and Jews who have developed deep bonds despite a complicated reality.
The podcasts “give people little postcards of hope,” Kraft, 49, explained in a recent Zoom interview, “and I don’t mean that in a cheesy, simplistic way.” They reveal relationships among Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Arabs, that are happening in small and large ways around Israel. Kraft combines her astute reportorial skills with sounds and voices to create fascinating narrative stories.
The podcast, which has just broadcast its 25th episode over the past two years, tells stories set in Hadassah Hospital, Jerusalem. One recent episode featured an Arab and Jewish midwife working together during the challenges of corona – as well as stories around Israel and the West Bank. Each podcast features Kraft’s observations that are woven into conversations with people, along with evocative music, allowing listeners, as Kraft says, to “parachute into people’s lives.” Israel has a wide variety of podcasts, including The Israel Story, started in 2011 and its English version in 2014, which shares unusual stories of ordinary Israelis. But The Branch is the only podcast that focuses on stories of cross-cultural exchanges among Arabs and Jews.
Born in Silver Spring, Maryland, Kraft said her parents were always news junkies. She grew up surrounded by newspapers. Her father worked as a journalist for many years, and she said it isn’t surprising that she became a journalist. At the University of Wisconsin, she worked at the school newspaper. Since then, Kraft has worked for The Associate Press in Jerusalem and Johannesburg and has also reported from Pakistan, Jordan, Tunisia, Russia and Ukraine. She was a 2012 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and a 2015 Ochberg Fellow at the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University. She is now the Israeli correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor. On November 25, she received a B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem Award for Journalism Recognizing Excellence in Diaspora Reportage for her work on Jews in America for Haaretz.
Kraft said that The Branch is a way for listeners to appreciate real communication between people that goes deeper than current social media and texting. She illuminates interpersonal relationships among people who are from different sides of the Arab-Jewish conflict. They care for one another despite what Kraft calls a historical divide that is often difficult to navigate.
There are episodes about the famous: “Love Wins,” for example, which explores the marriage of Jewish Michal Baranes and Muslim Yakub Barhum who live in Ein Rafa, a village 10 kilometers outside of Jerusalem and run “Majda,” a celebrated restaurant that captured the heart of Chef Anthony Bourdain.
Other episodes cover relationships that few people have heard about, for instance, a Jewish-Israeli soccer coach and an Arab-Israeli soccer player who plays for the team of Bnei Sahknin in the Galilee; a pair of Muslim and Jewish rappers who formed a hip-hop group, System Ali, in Jaffa; and an episode featuring Michal Zackai, owner of ShakShuk restaurant in Jerusalem’s Mahaneh Yehuda market, and Mahdi Martur, a Palestinian cook who, Kraft says, is Michal’s “right-hand man.” Kraft said that what makes their story so powerful is that neither of them are social activists who set out with a political agenda; their relationship developed naturally, despite all differences. In the episode, Kraft explores how Michal tried to help Mahdi through a labyrinthine bureaucracy when he built a house on land that is under neither Israeli nor Palestinian Authority jurisdiction (the house was eventually torn down).
Residing in Tel Aviv with husband Gilad Rosenzweig, an urban planner, and their two children, Kraft said that she loves the transition from print to broadcast journalism. She suspects that listening is what people always did, when they “sat around a fire telling stories.”
“There’s a joy to just listening,” she said, and what makes The Branch vibrant is the fluid, seemingly informal way the stories evolve. She explained that an episode does not begin when she sits down with someone to interview them. Rather, it starts when listeners hear the knock on a door, the laughter of someone’s child, the buzz of a drone flying overhead or a cow mooing. All these sounds give listeners an intimacy that they might not get from reading.
“Something about audio distills the moment,” Kraft said. “You can hone in on this one sense. Listening to people’s voices connects a different part of your heart.”
She believes that when you’re listening to a story, it feels as if it is just you and the person telling the story. Listeners are moved by the way a parent might talk to a child, let’s say, and they respond to the way another person hesitates, filled with emotion.
One episode is about two artists: Faten Elwi, an Arab-Israeli from the town of Umm al-Fahm, and Hadass Gertman, a Jewish-Israeli, who lives nearby. They met as mothers of young daughters at the height of the violence of the Second Intifada in 2003 and have collaborated on various art projects over the years. The women stitch together dresses in joint art projects that have been displayed in the Umm al-Fahm Art Gallery.
Kraft said that her biggest takeaway from doing the podcast is her realization that the most resilient relationships are the ones in which the people don’t ignore each other’s identities but rather “dive into what’s difficult.” In fact, she has received mail from both Israelis and Palestinians outside of Israel who thank her for the podcasts, telling her that these are the stories people need to hear.
Kraft works with producers who help her build the narrative storyline and develop the structure of the episode. Her current producers are Yoshi Fields and Julie Subrin. When Kraft speaks at her studio in Israel, Julie Subrin, in New York, reminds her, “Just speak as if you’re telling me the story.” “It’s a lot of work, but it’s a labor of love,” Kraft said.
She said she’s discovering more and more of these cross-cultural relationships and is no longer worried she’ll run out of material. Kraft also appears in another podcast, The Patient Is In, sponsored by the start-up company, Stuff that Works, which explores how people deal with chronic health issues with “grace and determination” and find answers.
When people ask Kraft how they can find time to listen to the podcast, Kraft laughed.
“Don’t you have to fold laundry?” she asked, adding that she can no longer wash a dish or take a walk without listening to a podcast.
“It’s a way to be transported into other people’s lives,” she said. “By listening, we’re journeying into the world that they inhabit.”
JNS quoted B'nai B'rith International CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin in its coverage of Morocco's decision to normalize ties with the State of Israel.
(December 10, 2020 / JNS) Jewish and pro-Israel groups reacted positively to Morocco’s announcement on Thursday of its intention to normalize ties with Israel.
It’s the fourth normalization deal in the past four months between Israel and Arab countries, after the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan. These nations follow in the wake of Egypt and Jordan, which made peace with Israel in 1979 and 1994, respectively.
In applauding what he called “another outstanding accomplishment for the current administration,” Rabbi Yaakov Menken, managing director of the Coalition for Jewish Values, highlighted the difference between those peace agreements and the four normalization deals with Israel that have been made this year.
“Normalizing ties with Israel is the new normal in the Middle East, which decades of expert commentary told us was the ‘impossible dream,’ ” he told JNS. “And instead of a cold détente attained via surrender to unreasonable demands, these new agreements promote true peace based upon common security needs and mutual medical, technological and financial benefits.”
“History has once again been made with the announcement that Israel and Morocco will normalize diplomatic relations,” said the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in a statement.
In a statement, American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris said, “Morocco’s announcement is further affirmation of the growing recognition by Arab leaders that establishing relations with Israel will be mutually beneficial.”
Republican Jewish Coalition national chairman and former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) called the announcement “historic” and an “important step towards greater stability and peace in the region.”
“Morocco and Israel have agreed to reopen their liaison offices, with the intention of opening embassies later. Official contacts, economic cooperation and direct flights between the two countries will also commence,” he said in a statement. “All of these steps—and we hope to see even more to follow—will enhance the security and prosperity of both countries.”
B’nai B’rith International CEO Daniel Mariaschin told JNS that “official ties between Morocco and Israel make sense for many good reasons, not the least of which is the storied history of the Moroccan Jewish community, and its many contributions to life in Morocco and Israel. We want to recognize the important role played by the United States in bringing this about. This is yet another vital building block in bringing peace and stability to the Middle East and North Africa.”
Nathan Diament, executive director for the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center, told JNS that the latest “agreement will help unite nations in the Middle East region to deter Iran’s aggression and improve Israel’s security and economic bonds with its neighbors.” He added that his organization looks forward to more countries joining the expanding circle of “peace and security.”
The agreement included the United States recognizing the disputed territory of Western Sahara as part of Morocco, becoming the only Western country to do so. The deal also includes agreeing to grant overflights and also direct flights to and from Israel for all Israelis. Israel and Morocco also agreed to open reciprocal embassies in Rabat and Tel Aviv, respectively, immediately.
‘A recognition of two historical realities’
“These landmark diplomatic agreements set the Middle East on a different path, where reconciliation replaces rejectionism and old enemies become new friends,” said a statement from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
“We salute the American, Israeli and Moroccan diplomats who achieved this historic agreement,” continued the organization. And “we look forward to the exchange of ambassadors and embassies, economic cooperation, and greater cultural bonds between Israel and Morocco in the days ahead.”
Christians United for Israel founder and chairman Pastor John Hagee said that “with each of these announcements, we get one step closer to true peace in the region. It is our sincere hope that the Palestinians see the benefit of ending their conflict with Israel and will one day soon choose to finally ‘beat their swords into plowshares,’” told JNS, citing a phrase from the Book of Isaiah.
There’s not only a political, but also historical, significance about the development, according to American Sephardi Federation executive director Jason Guberman.
He said the announcement “is a recognition of two historical realities: the Kingdom of Morocco’s territorial integrity, which includes sovereignty over the Moroccan Sahara, and the kingdom’s independent leadership in forging a decades-old relationship with Israel.”
In an email, Guberman said Morocco agreeing to establish diplomatic, economic and other ties with Israel “must be understood in its context,” as “900,000 Moroccan-Sephardic Jews live in Israel and keep the sacred chords of memory with the kingdom alive through their traditional observances, building bridges with Moroccan Muslims, and travels to Morocco.”
In fact, he noted, “Israel issued a postage stamp in honor of Morocco’s Chief Rabbi and the Rabbi of Jerusalem Hakham Yosef Massas that included praise (in four languages) for the royal family.”
Diario Judío México covered B'nai B'rith's joint project with the Instituto Cultural México Israel that sent youth to the region of Tabasco to support the community there, which has suffered from flooding.
Diario Judío México – Una delegación integrada por jóvenes de Israel y México organizada por la B’nai B’rith México y el Instituto Cultural México Israel realizan una misión especial de apoyo a los damnificados en Tabasco.
El equipo integrado tanto por jóvenes judíos como no judíos realizó primero una investigación de las necesidades de la gente en la zona afectada, para así eficientar la entrega, que se realiza actualmente mamo a mano para así apoyar a los afectados de la zona.
Sin duda deseamos a los damnificados que pronto puedan recuperar sus casas y su vida cotidiana en salud y bienestar.
(English) A delegation made up of young people from Israel and Mexico organized by B’nai B’rith Mexico and the Mexico Israel Cultural Institute made a special mission to support the flooding victims in Tabasco.
The team, made up of both Jewish and non-Jewish youths, first figured out the needs of the people in the affected area in order to streamline the delivery, which is currently being carried out by hand to support those affected in the area.
We hope the victims can soon recover their homes and return to their daily lives in good health and well-being.
JBS Coverage of B’nai B’rith Supporting EU Council Declaration on Mainstreaming the Fight Against Anti-Semitism
JBS covered our statement welcoming the EU Council Declaration on mainstreaming the fight against anti-Semitism across policy areas that was issued through unanimous agreement by EU member states. View coverage here (beginning at 3:42) or below.
The Jerusalem Post quoted B'nai B'rith International CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin in its coverage of Jewish organizations' legislative priorities for 2021, noting B'nai B'rith's domestic and foreign policy concerns.
WASHINGTON – As President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office and new members of Congress wait to be sworn in, Jewish organizations in Washington are working on their legislative agenda for 2021, thinking about what they should promote working with the incoming administration and what they should oppose.
While COVID-19 relief for nonprofits and security grants for religious institutions will continue to top the list of priorities for 2021, some organizations also voiced concern about the possibility the Biden administration will return to the nuclear agreement with Iran.
B’nai B’rith CEO Dan Mariaschin said the organization would focus on promoting the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program into law and provide a path to citizenship for those protected under the act, known as Dreamers.
Additional legislation priority is the NO HATE Act, he said, adding: “As hate crimes against Jews and other minorities continue to soar, we hope that Congress will pass the act, which would strengthen federal laws that combat hate speech, threats and attacks.”
B’nai B’rith also supports the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, Mariaschin said.
“We hope that the current executive order against antisemitism, which achieves these aims, will remain in place,” he said. “If it does not, a legislative remedy would be in order.”
In the past, B’nai B’rith called for the creation of an antisemitism coordinator at the Justice Department who could work across agency lines to combat the rising tide of domestic antisemitism, Mariaschin said.
“The recent FBI report identifying Jews as by far the religious community most frequently victimized by hate crimes is evidence of the need for such a position,” he said.
Regarding foreign policy, Mariaschin said a bipartisan bill would help ensure that Israel retains its qualitative military edge if the administration approves arms sales to Arab countries.
He said he hopes Congress will pass legislation to elevate the position of State Department special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism to ambassadorial rank. “Changing the title will send a clear message abroad that the fight against antisemitism will continue to be prioritized,” he said.
Regarding B’nai B’rith’s policy on Iran, Mariaschin said: “We call on the administration and Congress to apply concerted pressure on the Iranian regime to ensure that its nuclear program – as well as its ballistic-missile production, its support for terrorist organizations, its profligate human rights abuses and other malign behavior – are held in check,” he said.
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