B'nai B'rith International and multinational leaders met with Pope Francis on Thursday at the Vatican.
B'nai B'rith’s was the first international Jewish audience with the pope since the Vatican announced an agreement on church issues with “the State of Palestine,” and the pope separately acknowledged non-recognition of Israel as amounting to anti-Semitism.
Before he was known around the world at Pope Francis, then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio hosted B’nai B’rith’s Kristallnacht commemoration in Buenos Aires in 2012.
Learn more about the latest visit from the international media coverage recap, below:
I am pleased to greet you during your visit to the Vatican. My predecessors met with delegations of B’nai B’rith International on several occasions, and today I offer you my welcome with renewed respect and affection.
Your organization has enjoyed relations with the Holy See since the promulgation of the Conciliar Declaration Nostra Aetate. This document constituted a milestone on the path of mutual knowledge and esteem between Jews and Catholics, based on the great spiritual patrimony that, thanks be to God, we share in common.
Looking back on these fifty years of regular dialogue between the Catholic Church and Judaism, I cannot help but thank the Lord for the great progress that has been made. Many initiatives fostering reciprocal understanding and dialogue have been undertaken; above all a sense of mutual trust and appreciation has developed. There are many areas in which we as Jews and Christians can continue to work together for the good of the peoples of our time. Respect for life and creation, human dignity, justice and solidarity unite us for the development of society and for securing a future rich in hope for generations to come. In a particular way, we are called to pray and work together for peace. Unfortunately, there are many countries and regions of the world that live in situations of conflict – I think in particular of the Holy Land and the Middle East – and that require a courageous commitment to peace, which is not only to be longed for, but sought after and built up patiently and tenaciously by everyone, especially believers.
During these moments together, I wish to recall with heartfelt gratitude all those who have fostered friendship between Jews and Catholics. I particularly want to mention Saint John XXIII and Saint John Paul II. Saint John saved many Jews during the Second World War, met with them numerous times, and greatly desired a conciliar document on this theme. Regarding Saint John Paul, his various historical gestures remain very much alive in our memories, such as his visit to Auschwitz and to the Great Synagogue of Rome. With the help of God, I wish to walk in their footsteps, encouraged too by the many beautiful encounters and friendships I enjoyed in Buenos Aires.
May the Almighty and Eternal One bless our dialogue abundantly, especially during this year in which we celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Nostra Aetate, so that our friendship may always grow deeper and bear abundant fruit for our communities and the entire human family.
B'nai B'rith International is a proud member of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which recently organized a strategic mission to Europe and Israel to meet with political leaders.
B'nai B'rith International President Allan J. Jacobs and Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin were notable members of the mission, introducing key speakers in Europe and meeting with senior leadership in Israel.
Below is a recap of some of the news items to surface from the mission:
The following letter was sent to the editor at Reuters, following their publication of an article entitled “Palestinian woman stabs Israeli, shot by security forces.”
To the Editor:
From top to bottom, “Palestinian woman stabs Israeli, shot by security forces” follows Reuters ongoing bias against Israel.
Starting with your carefully crafted headline, Reuters displays a false equivalence between the Palestinian terrorist who attacked an Israeli civilian and the fate of the attacker.
Through your selective memory, you are fueling a false narrative of Israel oppressing Palestinians, with no regard for relentless terror attacks by Hamas and other Palestinian terrorists.
This story fits in with a long-standing Reuters narrative, casting Israel as the aggressor and Palestinians as victims. Where is any mention of the recent spate of attacks on Jews at train stations and street corners? Where is a recap of the four rabbis murdered as they prayed at a synagogue last month by axe-toting terrorists? Where is discussion of constant Palestinian incitement?
This summer, Israel embarked on a defensive military operation, launched in the aftermath of relentless Hamas rocket attacks into Israel. But the Reuters narrative omits that fact and focuses on a false game of casualty counting.
As a global news agency, Reuters has a powerful platform. Unfortunately, it continues to shape global public opinion according to its own narrative rather than the facts.
Allan J. Jacobs Daniel S. Mariaschin
B’nai B’rith International President B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President
Caption: B'nai B'rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin discussed “Issues Facing World Jewry Today” at the October B’nai B’rith Real Estate luncheon at the The Cornell Club in New York City.
Pictured (L-R): Robert Shapiro, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, Gerald Morganstern,Goetz Fitzpatrick LLP, Pres. Allan Jacobs, B'nai B'rith International, Mariaschin, Lydia Sklar, Sklar Realty Group, Greg Kraut, Avison Young, Jeff Mitzner, First American Title Insurance, and Harry Zlokower, Zlokower Company Public Relations.
The arrival of Elie and Marion Wiesel was greeted with explosive applause by the German consular staff. Wiesel was led to the podium next to a window overlooking a breathtaking sunlit view of Manhattan with St. Patrick’s Cathedral nearby.
Touting the presentation of the medal as “a humble gesture of my country showing gratitude for your lifetime achievements and relentless efforts to keep the memory alive of the worst crime in all of history—the Shoah– against the Jewish people,” minister Steinmeier declared: “With this order of Merit we want to honor the writer, the philanthropist, historian, professor, the outstanding Mentsch that you are!” During the presentation Marion Wiesel never took her eyes off Elie.
“Thank you for your words of kindness,” responded a contemplative Wiesel. “To receive a medal of recognition from Germany is not a normal thing in my life,” he said softly.
“The past is here. The past is not absent from the present. We remember things that happened two thousand years ago as if they happened yesterday. Every day in our prayers we remember the good, we remember the bad. The choice, is always ours — ultimately.”
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."
Fox News Latino, a subsidiary of Fox News focusing on news in the Latin American community, covered B'nai B'rith International's statement from earlier this week deriding the outrageous comments made by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro on the Gaza conflict.
In condemning Maduro's reckless incitement of anti-Semitism, B'nai B'rith also reinforced its commitment to the Venezuelan Jewish community.
Read an excerpt of the Fox News Latino article below:
A major Jewish rights group has called out Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro for what they allege is inciting fear and violence against Jews in the South American nation in the midst of a bloody war in the Gaza Strip.
B’nai B’rith International asked Maduro and other Venezuelan officials to cease making inflammatory remarks against Israel, including ones that accused Israel of “a war of extermination against the Palestinian people,” and reportedly comparing Israel’s incursion into the Gaza Strip to the Nazis at Auschwitz concentration camp.
While Maduro is a strong supporter of a Palestinian state, B’nai B’rith claims that the Venezuelan leader has gone too far and his remarks have sparked anti-Semitic graffiti in Caracas, attacks against Jews on social media and a Jewish newspaper’s website being hacked.
“The comparison of Gaza to Auschwitz alone is a dangerous trope and an outrageous falsehood. When Maduro combines these explosive comments with his own state-media machine and a dangerous political agenda, it creates an alarming situation for the Jewish community in Venezuela,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said in a statement. “B’nai B’rith expresses its solidarity with the Venezuelan Jewish community. We will continue to call attention to and monitor the hate-filled environment that Maduro is intent on fostering.”
B’nai B’rith also criticized the Maduro government for ignoring the Israeli soldiers and civilians killed by rockets fried by the pro-Palestinian group Hamas and added that Maduro is perpetuating hatred against Jews in Venezuela.
“B’nai B’rith, and the Jewish community as a whole, has always been concerned with the Venezuelan government’s incendiary statements and actions against Israel. But in recent weeks we’ve seen Maduro promoting a whole new level of hatred,” B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said. “The climate he has created is dangerous to the Jews in his country and wholly out of line with a government’s duty to protect its citizens.”
B'nai B'rith International made headlines in the financial world this week, signing off on an encouraging annual Social Security and Medicare Trustees Report.
The statement was picked up by InsuranceNewsNet.com, "the leading, Web-based trade publication for insurance agents, home office personnel, and other professionals in the life, health and property/casualty industries."
Read an excerpt, below:
B'nai B'rith International issued the following news release:
B'nai B'rith International is encouraged by the relative stability outlined in the 2014 Social Security and Medicare Trustees Report, but concerned about the immediate need to address the funding challenges facing the Social Security Disability Insurance program (DI).
The big news out of the trustees report was the overall health of Social Security with a surplus of about $2.8 trillion, and income to the program set to exceed expenditures in 2014. These numbers are in line with last year's projections and this year's report expects Social Security's surplus to grow to $2.9 trillion by 2020.
The other important but unsurprising "news" out of the report is that the DI trust fund is at risk of being depleted by 2016. B'nai B'rith International urges Congress to increase the DI's allocation from the payroll tax--a measure which has been routinely carried out 11 times over the life of the program--or many vulnerable or impoverished people face dire consequences in their everyday lives.
"We've actually been aware that this would happen in or around 2016 since the DI's tax allocation was last adjusted in 1994. But in the current political environment, adjusting the split between the two funds for the 12th time in Social Security's history may be harder to do than it should be," B'nai B'rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said.
In choosing B’nai B’rith for this honor, AHEPA specifically cited the organization’s work providing affordable housing for the elderly and humanitarian efforts to enhance development in the eastern Mediterranean countries of Israel, Cyprus and Greece, which is of utmost interest to the American Hellenic and American Jewish communities.
Both organizations participated in a historic three-country visit to Israel, Cyprus and Greece in January, the strategic and emerging relationship between the three countries.
For more than 22 years, the B'nai B'rith Bagel Brigade has been hard at work in southern California, making sure underserved children start the day with breakfast.
Every day, more than 160 volunteers collect bakery and pastry products, driving them to low-income school districts during the school year, and homeless shelters on the weekends and during the summer. In a given month, the group distributes approximately 84,000 loaves of bread and 54,000 bagels.
The program accounts for more than 65,000 donated hours each year, and was recently featured by NBC-4 in Los Angeles, both online and on-air. The program was one of a handful highlighted as part of the I Am A Volunteer campaign.
Last week, a delegation from B‘nai B‘rith International, including President Allan J. Jacobs and Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin, visited Latin America, meeting with local B’nai B’rith leadership and Latin American government officials.
Click on the presentation below to see a visual recap covering the important business accomplished during the week-long visit:
Shalom TV Daily News featured B'nai B'rith International's statement praising the decision by an Argentine federal court to strike down the agreement between Argentina and Iran to create the “Commission of Truth.”
The agreement called for an “independent” group that would investigate the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) Jewish center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and wounded 300. The court ruled the agreement unconstitutional.
B’nai B’rith opposed the agreement the moment it was signed in January of 2013. As recently as this week, President Allan J. Jacobs and Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin met with the Argentine foreign minister to express their concerns over the agreement.
Read the full press release here.The story begins at the 3:08 mark in the video:
Astori recibió, por separado, a Laborde, director ejecutivo del Comité contra el Terrorismo de la ONU, al presidente mundial de la organización B´nai B´rith, Allan Jacobs, y a su vicepresidente, Daniel Mariaschin, y al embajador de Corea del Sur en Montevideo, Hanjun Yoo. Posteriormente hizo lo propio con el presidente de la Unión de Exportadores del Uruguay, Álvaro Queijo, y su secretaria ejecutiva, Teresa Aishemberg.
Sobre las 15:00 horas fue el turno de la primera audiencia, al reunirse Laborde en lo que fue su segunda visita de seguimiento para analizar las medidas contra el terrorismo en el país.
Tras la primera visita realizada en 2012 se evaluó la estrategia de seguridad del Gobierno en materia de lucha contra el terrorismo, para determinar si Uruguay está en posición de integrar el Consejo de Seguridad de Naciones Unidas durante el período 2016-2017.
Laborde explicó que esta reunión es para apoyar al Gobierno uruguayo para transformar a la realidad las recomendaciones realizadas en la primera visita.
Explicó que, con el fin de controlar la amenaza del terrorismo en el mundo, el lapso entre una visita y otra se redujo, ya que antes se volvía a un país tras cinco o seis años de la primera visita.
"La comunidad judía sufre los mismos problemas que todos los argentinos. En 2001, iniciamos un programa de ayuda comunitaria a personas necesitadas. Puede ser que hoy la comunidad judía aquí esté algo mejor, pero cuando estamos mal, estamos todos mal." Es la apreciación de Allan J. Jacobs, presidente de B'Nai B'rith Internacional, que hizo una visita al país en su gira a Uruguay y Chile.
Líder de una de las organizaciones dedicadas a la asistencia social no sólo de la comunidad judía sino abierta a otras realidades, Jacobs viajó acompañado por el vicepresidente Daniel S. Mariaschin y el director para América latina con sede en Montevideo, Eduardo Kohn.
En Buenos Aires, además de dialogar con autoridades nacionales como el canciller Héctor Timerman, la cúpula de B'nai B'rith asistió a la ceremonia de asunción de las autoridades locales, encabezadas por Mario Wilhelm, que renovó su mandato, y de Jorge Burkman, como vicepresidente.
Primera organización judía en adquirir status de ONG ante la Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA), B'nai B'rith funciona en 60 países y está reconocida por las Naciones Unidas y la Unión Europea.
En diálogo con LA NACION, Jacobs sostuvo que "B'nai B'rith trabaja muy bien en el campo social en la Argentina tanto dentro de la comunidad judía como fuera de ella". Y destacó que desde la crisis de 2001, la institución ha sido una de las principales entidades junto con organizaciones no gubernamentales norteamericanas que asistió a quienes necesitaban. "Con la Fundación OSDE tenemos un proyecto exitoso de entrega de medicamentos desde hace 12 años. Ya hemos repartido más de 80 millones de dólares en medicamentos en todo el país. Cuando fueron las inundaciones en Santa Fe como cuando comenzó la crisis en 2001, hicimos una ayuda abierta a todo el país", añadió.
This week, a delegation including B'nai B'rith President Allan J. Jacobs (left) and Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin toured Latin America, visiting local branches of the organization and meeting with Latin American officials.
Their visit was covered in the Iton Gadol, a Spanish-language Jewish newspaper in Buenos Aires, an excerpt of which appears below with a link to the full story.
The pair discuss a wide range of issues impacting the Jewish world in Latin America and beyond, including Iran and the AMIA bombing:
Durante una visita a la Argentina esta semana, el presidente de la B’nai B’rith, Allan Jacobs, y su ejecutivo, vicepresidente y CEO, Daniel S. Mariaschin criticaron al memorandum de entendimiento sobre el atentado a la AMIA con Irán, en diálogo con la Agencia Judía de Noticias. "Dijimos públicamente este acuerdo es un error porque los iraníes están entre los expertos en engaños, y es exactamente lo que han hecho con el memorandum, no tienen más intenciones que firmarlo, y tal vez aumentar su aceptación en la comunidad internacional", expresó Mariaschin.
"Fue un gran error que no ha producido nada. Irán es lo que sabemos que es: un esponsor del terror, un violador de derechos humanos, un productor de armas nucleares", dijo. Además se refirió al 20º aniversario del atentado a la AMIA, en el que fallecieron 85 personas en 1994, y puntualizó que la institución decidió visitar al país y su comunidad judía para expresar su solidaridad sobre este crimen.
"Lamentablemente este capítulo de la actividad terrorista no está más cerca de resolverse. Estando tan cerca del aniversario vimos que era una buena oportunidad para venir y mostrar nuestra solidaridad. Si se hubiese tratado el tema del atentado, si los culpables hubiesen sido extraditados, si los cómplices locales hubiesen sido enjuiciados, tal vez se hubiese mandado un mensaje al terrorismo. Después de 20 años no tenemos ninguna resolución y estamos trabajando para ello", destacó.
Los líderes de la B’nai B’rith también expresaron que otra de las razones de su visita al país era para mostrar su solidaridad con la comunidad judía argentina. "Tenemos la obligación de unir al pueblo judío bajo el paraguas que cubre a todos, sin importar donde viven ni sus conexiones. Buscamos construir esta relación. Tenemos una B’nai B’rith en Argentina de la que estamos muy orgullosos", dijo Jacobs.
Por su parte, Mariaschin expresó que luego de esta visita irán a Montevideo y Santiago. "Debido a nuestra gran presencia en Latinoamérica venimos regularmente para interactuar con nuestra familia y también con la comunidad", dijo.
Shalom TV Daily News featured B'nai B'rith International's statements against the U.N. Human Rights Council’s actions to fill the role of departing anti-Israel special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories, Richard Falk, with former Indonesian U.N. Ambassador Makarim Wibisono.
B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said: “The position [Falk] occupied is inherently discriminatory, and with the appointment of Wibisono, based on his previous comments, it doesn't look like the situation will improve significantly.”
Read the full press release here.The story begins at the 6:17 mark in the video:
In "Applause for the academic boycott of Israel" (Perspective, Jan. 30), George Bisharat, a professor at the University of California's Hastings College of the Law, is trying to have it both ways — exercising his own academic voice while silencing other voices. The American Studies Association's outrageous vote to boycott Israel is antithetical to the fundamental ideals of education. Academia thrives on talking about issues and engaging all sides. You can't do that if you choose to boycott a portion of your colleagues.
The ASA boycott vote aims to silence cooperation with scholars in the only democracy in the Middle East — one with academic freedoms that are the envy of much of the world. If the aim of academia is to debate, discuss and enlighten, a boycott has the opposite effect.
The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement comes in many forms, but its mission is the same: Organizers grasp at ways to delegitimize Israel. BDS supporters hide behind the myth that they are aiming for openness when, in fact, their methods are disingenuous.
— Allan J. Jacobs, president, B'nai B'rith International, Washington
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.
Jewish groups organized relief efforts following Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded. Authorities said it is possible that more than 10,000 people died from the storm.
The American Jewish Committee and B’nai B’rith International are both contributing to Israeli relief organization IsraAID for humanitarian efforts to assist the victims of Typhoon Haiyan.
“It’s hard to even imagine the widespread devastation they’re experiencing in the Philippines. Each disaster has its own unique challenges and this one will truly be a giant undertaking,” B’nai B’rith President Allan J. Jacobs said in a statement...more.
B’nai B’rith International recognized Dr. Jeremy Levin for his commitment to improving global health care, having worked for numerous health care innovators such as Novartis, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Teva. His solid commitment to philanthropy, community service and industry leadership are to be commended. Here are excerpts from his acceptance speech.
Your Excellency, Ambassador Ron Prosor, Mr. Allan Jacobs, My Friend Mr. Dan Mariaschin, My Friend George Aaron, Friends and Family, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am honored to be here tonight to accept this prestigious award. I would like to thank you all for coming and for the generous support many of you have given to this event and to the B’nai B’rith. Allow me also to express my appreciation for the exceptionally kind words of George Aaron and allow me also to say how difficult it is to speak after the eloquent oratory of Ambassador Prosor.
This award is indeed prestigious and bestows a great honor on those who receive it. It is an incredible accolade, an indication of making it to the top of one’s profession.
At its very core Israel is a country imbued with the values you so generously support, values that can never be forgotten, ignored or taken for granted. Some of you may not know my background. My parents vigorously opposed apartheid in South Africa and Rhodesia in the 1960's, and twice we were forced to leave our home and country. On one occasion the family was forced to flee in the middle of the night when my father received word that he was to be arrested the next morning. As someone who fled Apartheid and political oppression and who is part of a family that has committed itself to human rights, I know exactly why those values mean so much.
…To make this economy a world‐leading economy, I believe Israel must commit itself to focusing on unique internal challenges. These include educating all sectors of the society and continuing that education through higher grades, bringing into the economy the minorities including the Haredi, the Arabs, Druze, Bedouin and Ethiopians, creating the economic opportunities and conditions to reverse the current brain drain, stopping the hemorrhage of intellectual property out of the country, resolving the tensions that exist between the free market economy and the socialist based institutions, cultivating conditions for the young families of Israel to own homes, driving for best practices in corporate and government operations including adopting more rigorous and accountable governance standards, developing and implementing a clear philosophy of taxation and capital allocation, and elevating the level of the press.
This array of goals may sound daunting. But I believe that they are key to achieving a sustainable Israeli economy, an economy that will generate growth though high value jobs , one that will have sufficient revenues to underwrite its defense and domestic
needs, one that will have enough educated workers with the knowledge of core subjects required to staff those jobs and one that will have enough democracy and fairness embedded in it to secure the stability of the economy. All sectors of the Israeli economy must flourish for Israel to flourish.
Israel, a democratic nation, is important not just for Jews but also for all those who believe in democracy. And Jewish values are at the heart of this nation – the values that B'nai B'rith supports and encourages. The values we all should stand for. B'nai B'rith has stood as the voice of the Jewish people worldwide and as a staunch supporter of the State of Israel. Your impact on the citizens and the State of Israel is profound. And it is because of this that I would like to thank Dan and the organization for this award tonight – I am proud to receive this recognition from an organization that so fundamentally supports and cherishes core values that so closely match mine.
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