The San Marcos Record previewed a conversation B'nai B'rith International President Charles Kaufman will be having with the Rotary Club of San Marcos, Texas on the challenge of tackling rising anti-Semitism.
Charles Kaufman, president of B’nai B’rith International, will discuss the continuing challenge of antisemitism at the May 12 meeting of the Rotary Club of San Marcos. Rotary meets at noon at the San Marcos Academy and visitors are welcome.
B’nai B’rith, founded in 1843, has fought against various forms of antisemitism, from the blood libels of centuries past and pogroms of Europe, to negative narratives about the state of Israel. B’nai B’rith is also a service and humanitarian organization with chapters in more than 50 countries on five continents. It is a major sponsor of nonsectarian, affordable senior housing in the U.S., and has engaged in disaster relief services for 150 years.
In addition to his leadership role at B’nai B’rith, Kaufman is on the faculty of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Texas State University. His early career was in newspaper journalism, from which he transitioned to owning a public relations firm in Austin. He teaches public relations and advises a student public relations agency at the University. He also co-authored a textbook titled, “Engaging Public Relations.”
Rotary is a nonprofit, nonpolitical, and nonreligious service organization. The San Marcos Club celebrates its 100th Anniversary on Dec. 1, 2021. The club provides scholarships and does a wide range of local service projects, as well as participating in international projects sponsored by Rotary International and the Rotary Foundation.
For more information about B’nai B’rith: https://www.bnaibrithorg/aboutus.htmland the Rotary Club of San Marcos: https://smtxrotary.com/.
The Algemeiner included B'nai B'rith International's response to the U.S. administration's decision of continuing not to attend any events celebrating the 20th anniversary of the infamous Durban Declaration in its roundup of responses from Jewish and pro-Israel organizations.
Leading Jewish organizations welcomed the Biden administration’s decision to stick to the US policy of not attending any events to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Durban Declaration in September due to their “anti-Israel sentiment.”
A US State Department spokesperson told The Jerusalem Post Monday that the US would not take part in planned Durban anniversary events, saying that it “remains deeply committed to combating antisemitism at home and abroad. Furthermore, the United States stands with Israel and has always shared its concerns over the Durban process’s anti-Israel sentiment — used as a forum for antisemitism and freedom of expression issues.”
Commenting on the decision, B’nai B’rith International said it “salutes the US administration for taking a principled decision, like its predecessors, to deny legitimacy to a UN framework that purports to fight prejudice but is fundamentally marred by it.”
“The 2001 conference was poisoned by manifestations of virulent anti-Zionism and open antisemitism. We urge all countries of goodwill to do similarly — and we will continue to insist that all forms of hate, including those targeting Jews, not be given a platform by foremost international institutions,” B’nai B’rith stated.
The UN is scheduled to hold a special “Durban IV” event on Sept. 22 to mark the 20th anniversary of the World Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa, from which the US and Israel previously withdrew over objections of anti-Zionism. Israel was singled out from the Durban conference declaration and was depicted as being racist and as committing “crimes against humanity,” “ethnic cleansing,” “apartheid” and “genocide” against the Palestinians.
“Kudos for rejecting hate. The 2001 Durban Conference was an orgy of hate so vile that the US and Israel pulled out in disgust,” Avi Mayer, Managing Director of Global Communications at the American Jewish Committee (AJC), tweeted in response to the US decision. “It was so bad that even the UN’s Mary Robinson, who chaired it, said there was ‘horrible antisemitism present.'”
New York, NY, May 5th, 2021 . . . Dianne Lob, Chair, William Daroff, CEO, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Vice Chair of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, issued the following statement:
“We applaud the Biden Administration’s decision to refuse to participate in commemorations of the 20th anniversary of the UN World Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa, which openly embraced antisemitism and anti-Israel extremism.
Michal Cotler-Wunsh, a former member of Knesset for Israel’s Blue and White Party, said: “Durban was the ecosystem for declared escalation in the war waged on Israel, weaponizing international law and it’s institutions. The orchestrated, systematic implementation of this strategy threatens not only Israel, but shared values and foundations of democracy and human rights.”
“In declining to participate in celebratory events, the United States is rightfully rejecting the despicable hatred that was leveled against the Jewish State and the Jewish people twenty years ago. We encourage other nations to join the US in continuing to fight racism, bigotry, and antisemitism, while rejecting and not participating in such odious proceedings,” said Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Chair Dianne Lob, CEO William Daroff, and Vice Chair Malcolm Hoenlein, in a statement.
The Jewish Link covered B'nai B'rith International CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin's meaningful conversation with the Torah Academy of Bergen County's (NJ) Israel Advocacy Club.
Israel Hayom quoted B'nai B'rith International President Charles Kaufman in its coverage of the Holocaust Museum of Oporto (Porto) opening its doors, something B'nai B'rith has been encouraging for several years.
The Holocaust Museum of Oporto (Porto) opened its doors to the public on April 5th, the first day after Portugal eased lockdown measures and allowed cultural institutions to reopen, all the while adhering to coronavirus restrictions.
Within two days, 500 visitors made it to the museum, among them young people, senior citizens, Jews, and members of other religions. This is the first time a museum dedicated to the Holocaust is inaugurated in Portugal.
The museum portrays Jewish life spanning decades, from before the Holocaust, during the Nazi era, including life in ghettos, labor and concentration camps, the Final Solution, the death marches, and the liberation, all the way to the establishment of the State of Israel.
The museum has reproductions of Auschwitz barracks, a name room, a flame memorial, a study center, and photographs and screens showing actual footage of before, during, and after the genocide.
It also exhibits archives relating to refugees who passed through Oporto, including official documents, testimonies, letters, and hundreds of individual files.
Moreover, the museum has signed a cooperation protocol with Oporto's Jewish Museum to combat antisemitism in Europe.
"These museums in Oporto should serve as a beacon of light to the rest of Europe, a land darkened today by resurgent antisemitism," President of B'nai B'rith International Charles Kaufman said.
"For the growing Jewish community of Portugal, we urge you to teach future generations the glory of our past and the Holocaust as they repel attempts to disparage us in the future," he said.
The Jewish Link quoted B'nai B'rith CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin in its coverage of Jewish organizations that called out NBC for airing anti-Semitic programming on two recent occasions.
B’nai B’rith International CEO Daniel Mariaschin called it “a cheap shot at Jewish customs” that plays into “blood libel” stereotypes, while the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s (SWC) associate dean and director of global social action Rabbi Abraham Cooper expressed outrage and frustration that in the media “no one else is fair game except our community.”
Their anger was directed at NBC, which has received significant backlash in the Jewish community for airing programming on two recent occasions that has been labeled by many as promoting “classic anti-Semitic tropes.”
One of the two offending incidents occurred on Feb. 9 airing of the drama, “Nurses,” which featured a young hasidic or Orthodox boy named Israel who injured his leg and is warned by his father not to accept a bone graft because it might come from a woman or Arab donor; and the Feb. 20 airing of the Weekend Update segment of Saturday Night Live (SNL) where host and chief writer Michael Che quipped, “Israel is reporting that they vaccinated half of their population. I’m going to guess it’s the Jewish half.”
In the “Nurses” episode Israel asks, “You want to put a dead leg inside me?” and the father responds, “A dead goyim leg from anyone—an Arab, a woman” and tells his son that the “Creator” will heal him. The son ultimately refuses the graft. There are no prohibitions in Judaism against receiving a bone graft from a cadaver.
In response to the controversy, NBC has pulled the “Nurses” episode from all its digital platforms but has not commented on either show.
“Nurses” is a Canadian series that was picked up by NBC in late 2020 to fill holes in its original programming schedule caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The two incidents engendered swift and strong response from both national and local Jewish organizations that accused the network of spreading lies about Jews and Judaism, particularly Orthodoxy and Israel.
“There needs to be recognition and sensitivity in media outlets to the Jewish community and community practices,” Mariaschin told The Jewish Link in a phone interview from his Washington office. “It’s not humor and it’s not even good drama.”
He said NBC pulling the “Nurses” episode was insufficient and the network needed to apologize for its portrayal of the Orthodox community and its failure to research Jewish practices, although he said there is an industry-wide problem of insensitivity to the concerns and practices of the Jewish community.
“This is a blood libel and what Michael Che was able to do was what has been done since the Middle Ages about blood libels, that what we want to do is harm others,” said Mariaschin of the SNL piece. “There are millions of people in those audiences. What they heard was not only wrong, but outrageously wrong and we don’t want them learning about our community through off-handed comments.”
However, he expressed optimism the negative publicity resulting from these incidents might serve as a wake-up call to the industry.
Read the full article here.
Jewish Scene Magazine covered our donation, together with members of the Sam Schloss Lodge, of 100 COVID-19 relief kits to Wendy and Avron B. Fogelman Jewish Family Service (FJFS) at the Memphis Jewish Community Center (MJCC) and Plough Towers.
Members of the Sam Schloss Lodge #35 of B’nai B’rith presented Wendy and Avron B. Fogelman Jewish Family Service (FJFS) at the Memphis Jewish Community Center (MJCC) and Plough Towers with 100 COVID-19 relief kits. The kits, provided by B’nai B’rith International, contained a cloth face mask and travel-sized hand sanitizer both imprinted with the B’nai B’rith logo.
“Sam Schloss Lodge and B’nai B’rith have a long history of helping people in need,” said Harold Steinberg, a member of the B’nai B’rith International Executive Board of Directors. “This is just the latest example of our organization’s disaster relief efforts that began over 150 years ago.”
Memphis was one of only a dozen cities selected.
Recipients include seniors who are part of the FJFS home-delivered kosher meals program and those who ride the FJFS Shalom Shuttle, as well as seniors in the Memphis Jewish Community Center/Memphis Jewish Federation’s Scheidt-Hohenberg Hot Meal Program and participants of other MJCC programs.
“We’ve been so very careful in planning for our MJCC members for the past 11 months, especially our seniors,” said Marcy Stagner, program director for Cultural Arts & Senior Services at MJCC. “This is another great way to help protect them.”
“Anything we can do to help ease the stress of this global pandemic is important,” said Leigh Hendry, executive director of Plough Towers. “We would never have dreamed it would still be going strong 10 months later! Support from B’nai B’rith and others in our community has meant so much.”
This donation is one of many made as part of B’nai B’rith’s project to provide 3,000 COVID-19 relief kits to communities around the United States.
“Every community in America is facing the challenge of responding to the needs of vulnerable populations,” said Rebecca Saltzman, senior vice president and chair of the B’nai B’rith Disaster and Emergency Relief Committee. “We want to be part of the solution and help make sure everyone stays safe.”
The Algemeiner noted our condemnation – along with other American Jewish organizations – of the International Criminal Court’s ruling that it has jurisdiction to investigate Israel and the Palestinians for supposed "war crimes."
American Jewish organizations spoke out strongly against the International Criminal Court’s ruling that it has jurisdiction to investigate war crimes in Gaza and the West Bank, calling the ruling “politically and ideologically motivated” and the result of “systemic bias in multilateral organizations.”
The decision, released Friday, would place both Israel and the ruling Gaza terror group Hamas under possible investigation should the court choose to pursue one. In particular, Israeli officials are worried about war crimes charges related to Israel’s 2014 defensive war against Hamas.
Chairman Arthur Stark, CEO William Daroff, and Vice Chair Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations released a statement saying they “reject” the court’s ruling, calling it a “politically and ideologically motivated attempt by the ICC to impose itself into matters that are well beyond its mandate.”
In doing so, they said, the court “violates its purpose, distorts international law, and undermines its own legitimacy as an unbiased judicial forum.”
The statement accused ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda of “demonstrated anti-Israel bias” and asserted that “Palestinian leaders are attempting to dictate a political end through judicial means and thereby avoid negotiations.”
“These actions serve to exacerbate existing tensions, and will not achieve progress toward a viable and lasting resolution to a conflict that can only be resolved through direct negotiations between the parties,” the statement said.
The American Jewish Committee said in a statement that it “deeply regrets” the ICC’s decision. The Palestinian Authority, it said, “is not a state” and as such “the ICC is an inappropriate forum to adjudicate its claims.”
The AJC lamented that formal submissions by Australia, Austria, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, and Uganda asserting that “Palestine” is not a state were “not given due weight” by the court.
“It is only by reaching a negotiated settlement with Israel that the Palestinian people can fulfill their legitimate national aspirations,” the AJC stated. “Reverting to the old ways of confrontation, such as promoting one-sided UN resolutions or seeking the indictment of Israelis in the ICC, will only prolong the conflict and the suffering of both peoples.”
Citing criticism of the ruling by the US State Department, the Anti-Defamation League said, “We are deeply concerned by the problematic ruling from the @IntlCrimCourt as it has the very real possibility of leading to abuse against Israel with implications for the wider international community. We welcome the @StateDept’s ‘serious concern.’”
B’nai Brith International President Charles O. Kaufman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin said “we reject” the ruling, and added, “We see again that Israel is subject to systemic bias in multilateral organizations.”
They also expressed anger that “the ICC puts Hamas and Israel on the same playing field, even though Israel’s actions were defensive in the face of Hamas attacks.”
The World Jewish Congress said it was “dismayed” by the ruling, “which sets a dangerous precedent and does nothing to promote peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”
The Simon Wiesenthal Center called the ruling, “Another wholly political decision by International Criminal Court targeting #Israel.”
The SWC claimed the international community, including the ICC, holds Israel to a double standard, saying, “Here’s how it works. When it comes to Covid, #Israel is occupying power allegedly responsible for vaccines for Palestinians. When it comes to attacking Israel, Palestinian territories = independent entity. Making up new rules as long as Israel demonized.”
“Instead of serving justice #ICC politicizes and corrupts it,” the group asserted. “#Israel haters call Israel an occupying power when it comes to Covid vaccinations and #Palestine a state when they can demonize Israel!”
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.
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.
The Jerusalem Post published an op-ed by B'nai B'rith International President Charles O. Kaufman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin B'nai B'rith's hand in establishing the National library in Israel.
As anticipation builds for the opening of Israel’s new National Library sometime next year, it is important to recall its more-than-a-century long antecedents.
B’nai B’rith established its first lodge in Jerusalem in 1888, when the organization, founded in New York, was already 45 years old. The lodge attracted a mix of rabbis, academics, translators and other professionals to its mission of fostering Jewish identity and public service. Indeed, the first mazkir – or secretary – of the Jerusalem Lodge was none other than Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, the father of the modern Hebrew language.
Early attempts to found libraries in Jerusalem were short lived, due in no small part to a lack of funding. In 1884, several residents of the city, who would become members of the B’nai B’rith lodge, organized a small 1,200-volume library. In a letter published in the July 1889 issue of the B’nai B’rith publication The Menorah Monthly, Ben-Yehuda, then-editor of Hazevi, informed readers of the existence of the library, and tactfully solicited donations to support it.
In 1892, B’nai B’rith established the “Midrash Abarbanel,” Israel’s first permanent public library, named after the Sephardic Jewish scholar of the Middle Ages, Don Isaac Abarbanel. Five years before Theodor Herzl convened the first Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, the library served to promote the pioneering spirit afoot in the land, and the supremacy of Hebrew.
A decade after its founding, the library moved to a permanent home in a handsome, modern building on B’nai B’rith Street. The library’s collections grew to many thousands of volumes reflecting the collective Jewish academic and religious endeavor. The library was perhaps the one place in Jerusalem where one could find books on mathematics, science, secular philosophy, modern educational methods and other subjects.
The library’s reading and meeting rooms served as a cultural and educational center for the city’s residents. Herzl himself recognized the significance of the library when he wrote a letter to Joseph Chazanovich, who brought his personal library of 10,000 books from Bialystok, Poland, to Jerusalem. Herzl also made a 300 ruble contribution to the library. In honor of Chazanovich’s gift, the library’s committee renamed the library “Midrash Abarbanel Ginzei Yosef.” By 1903, the library’s collection topped 22,000 volumes.
A photograph of the library’s reading room, posted on the National Library’s website, shows readers surrounded by shelves of books and tables of newspapers and periodicals.
The names of those leaders of B’nai B’rith in Jerusalem who created and supported the library have become legendary figures in Jewish and Zionist history. In addition to Ben-Yehuda, the group included Zeev Hertzberg, David Yellin, Yosef Meyouchas, Yehiel Michel Pines, Aaron Masie and others. They understood that a modern Jewish state would need a strong intellectual and educational underpinning.
World War I saw the closure of the library by order of the ruling Ottoman authorities. At that point, the collection totaled more than 30,000 volumes. After the war, with a view toward the evolution of its library into a larger, national institution, B’nai B’rith’s Jerusalem Lodge ceded the library’s collection to the World Zionist Organization. Within a few short years – by 1925 – the collection was transferred to the Hebrew University. The rest, as they say, is history. In that act, the dreams of Ben-Yehuda, Chazanovich and others were realized with what would become the Jewish National and University Library.
The new National Library, with its expanded space, special programs and 21st century research facilities will not only be a well-received addition to Israel’s cultural scene and a monument to the tradition of Jewish scholarship but will surely attract scholars and visitors from around the Jewish world – and beyond.
We hope that as the library plans its permanent exhibition, it will suitably, and in perpetuity, honor those early B’nai B’rith leaders who, in the closing decade of the 19th century, shared Herzl’s prescience about the establishment of a Jewish state. They foresaw the possibility of a nation for “the people of the book.” The library they founded 128 years ago proved to be the seminal contribution, not only to what has become the National Library, but to the growth of academic and intellectual life in the State of Israel.
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.