Media Coverage of the Israel-Hellenic Forum, Convened by the B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem in Athens
The Jerusalem Post, in multiple pieces, covered the Israel-Hellenic Forum, convened by the B’nai B’rith...
The B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem
The B’nai B’rith World Center in Jerusalem is the hub of B’nai B’rith International activities in Israel. Since 1980, the World Center has served as the key link between Israel and B’nai B’rith members and supporters around the world.
Today, the World Center plays a critical role in strengthening B’nai B’rith’s global diplomatic initiatives by maintaining relations with leading representatives and government officials. It also works to combat anti-Semitism and strengthen Israel-Diaspora relations via an extensive array of informative programming, awards, seminars and missions, as well as through internationally recognized educational programming and Holocaust remembrance events.
The World Center utilizes its position and access to enhance Israel’s image by working closely with local academic and civic organizations to promote Israeli advancement and innovation. The World Center also furthers B’nai B’rith engagement with Israel’s leading Zionist nongovernmental organizations, nurturing vital partnerships for the benefit of Israel, her people and the global Jewish community.
The establishment of the World Center was B’nai B’rith’s answer to United Nations Security Council Resolution 478, which, in 1980, called on all member states to remove their diplomatic missions from Jerusalem. Established that same summer, the World Center is an ongoing expression of B’nai B’rith’s active commitment to the State of Israel.
In advancing its mission, the B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem:
The World Center is instrumental in facilitating B’nai B’rith’s connection to Israel and its government.
We arrange missions to Israel that introduce key United Nations diplomats and members of the European Parliament to the reality of life in Israel.
These visits promote the Jewish State as an influential leader in education, technology, agriculture and medicine. It also allows participants to immerse themselves in Israel’s culture by touring the Old City of Jerusalem and visiting the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, Yad Vashem. Additionally, the visits spotlight the widespread inattention to regular terrorism targeting Israelis and provide the diplomats with direct exposure to Israel’s extraordinary security challenges, diverse democracy and global humanitarianism.
B’nai B’rith International plays a prominent role in promoting ties between the State of Israel, Greece and Cyprus. We helped facilitate numerous visits, along with Conference of Presidents leaders, and with leaders of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) and American Hellenic Institute (AHI), on tri-lateral relations among Israel, Greece and Cyprus. The purpose of these trips is to evaluate the critical and developing relationship between these three countries on security, energy, economics and political areas.
International Conference in Kigali, Rwanda
In 2020, marking 75 years since the end of the Holocaust and 25 years since the Rwanda massacre during which three quarters of the Tutsi tribe in Rwanda was murdered, B’nai B’rith held an international conference in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, entitled: “Incitement and Dehumanization as Precursors to Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity.” The conference was held with the support of the new Israeli embassy in Rwanda and in cooperation with Aegis Trust that operates the Kigali Genocide Memorial. The World Center initiated the conference and organized the program together with David Michaels, B’nai B’rith International’s Director for U.N. and Intercommunal Affairs and the Aegis Trust team. Six experts from Israel participated in the conference along with Rwandan government officials, academics and local activists. The conference was aimed at deepening the relationship between Israel and Rwanda in particular and between Israel and Africa in general.
Participants in the conference included Rwandan Chief Justice Dr. Faustin Ntezilyayo, Minister of Justice and General Prosecutor Johnston Busingye, President of the Genocide Survivors Association Professor Jean Pierre Dusingizemungu, Israel Ambassador in Rwanda Ron Adam, US Ambassador in Rwanda Peter Vroman and Executive Secretary of the National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide Dr Jean Damascène Bizimana.
The Israeli delegation included Mr. Itamar Marcus, Director of Palestinian Media Watch, Rabbi Seth Mendel, founder and President of “Kobi Foundation”, Dr. Charles Small, founder and President of the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Senior Researcher at the Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University, Dr. Naftali Halberstadt, Academic Director at Y.N.R Center and Dr. Ronnie Stauber, Academic Director of the Wiener Library for the Study of the Nazi Era and the Holocaust at Tel Aviv University. French intellectual Bernard Henry Levi, former Canadian Minister of Justice and Attorney General Prof. Irwin Cotler and former Chief Rabbi of Britain Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks delivered video lectures. Following the conference, discussions ensued regarding future Israel-led humanitarian activities in Rwanda in cooperation with Aegis Trust.
B’nai B’rith Advocates on Israel-Africa Ties
Following the international conference in Kigali, World Center Director Alan Schneider and B’nai B’rith International Director of United Nations and Intercommunal Affairs David Michaels traveled to Uganda, Zambia and Ethiopia to advocate for closer Israel-Africa relations. They met with Ugandan Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, Zambian Foreign Minister Joseph Malanji and Minister for Presidential Affairs Freedom Chomba Sikazwe, and with Ethiopian Foreign Ministry officials including Birhanu Gibiril, Acting Director-General for Middle East Affairs and Endaweke Tesfaye, Acting Director-General for Public Diplomacy Affairs. Issues raised included ensuring equality for Israel in multilateral organizations such as the U.N. and the African Union – which just concluded its annual high-level summit that provided a public platform for Palestinian, but not Israeli, leaders. They also met with Abune Mathias, Patriarch and Catholicos of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, with prominent Christian Zionists and members of the parliamentary pro-Israel caucus in Zambia, and with key journalists, local rabbis and ranking American and Israeli diplomats. Schneider and Michaels also held discussions with senior Rwandan officials.
Center Stage: Periodic News from the B’nai B’rith World Center
Perhaps one of the least-told stories of the Holocaust is the story of Jews who rescued fellow Jews. Jewish rescuers put their own lives in jeopardy to help other Jews escape the Nazi killing machine.
The B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem and the Committee to Recognize the Heroism of Jewish Rescuers During the Holocaust (JRJ) created the Jewish Rescuer Citation in 2011 to honor and pay respect to Jewish rescue of other Jews. B’nai B’rith had been involved in promoting the recognition of Jewish rescuers in other ways long before the citation’s creation.
The citation also shows a side of Jewish reality not often discussed in conversations about the Shoah: that of Jewish resistance.
Thousands of Jews were saved by other Jews across Europe during the Holocaust. Many of these rescuers, rather than flee to ensure their own safety, chose to help other Jews escape. Forgery, smuggling and concealment were all called into play by scores of rescuers in their efforts to save fellow Jews.
Watch: B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael – Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) hosted the 20th annual ceremony commemorating the heroism of Jewish rescuers during the Holocaust, on Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day, April 8, 2021, at Scroll of Fire monument. The Jewish Rescuers Citation was conferred at the ceremony on 13 heroes from across Europe and North Africa.
Since its establishment in 1992, the B’nai B’rith World Center Award for Journalism Recognizing Excellence in Diaspora Reportage in memory of Wolf and Hilda Matsdorf has recognized excellence in reporting on contemporary Diaspora-Jewish communities and on the State of Israel-Diaspora relations in Israeli print and electronic media.
The award is widely recognized as a prestigious prize in the Israeli media industry and was established to help strengthen the relationship between Israel and the Diaspora. It was established to highlight the important contributions the media can make toward increasing the ties between Israel and world Jewry—so essential for the resilience of both—by encouraging quality reporting on Diaspora communities and Israel-Diaspora relations.
The B’nai B’rith Edith ‘Pat’ Wolfson and Roselle and ‘Benjamin’ Bernard Roseman Endowment Fund for Israeli Youth was created in 2005 to provide aid to Israeli children in need.
The B’nai B’rith World Center in Jerusalem uses its vast contacts and resources to identify emergency relief projects, after natural disasters and terror attacks on Israel.
B’nai B’rith International President Charles O. Kaufman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin visited the city of Lod, Israel, in 2021 with B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem Director Alan Schneider for a meeting with municipal CEO Aharon Attias. The meeting focused on the unprecedented violence directed against Jews and Jewish targets by many Arab residents of the city in a show of support for Hamas during Operation Guardian of the Walls in May.
In November 2016 B’nai B’rith International opened its Israel Emergency Fund to provide aid to the victims of the devastating fires raging in Israel. The fires spread throughout northern Israel, and especially in and around Haifa. Other fires also reached cities near Jerusalem. Tens of thousands of people were forced to evacuate, and many of them have lost their homes and businesses.
B’nai B’rith also launched its Israel Emergency Fund in response to events in Israel and the Gaza Strip in July 2014. It raised funds to assist Israeli residents who are dealing with a barrage of rocket attacks from Hamas.
Nearly 11 months after the 2011 Great Carmel Fire in northern Israel, B’nai B’rith and the Haifa Fire Department inaugurated the B’nai B’rith Fire Scouts Clubhouse at the central Haifa Fire Station. The clubhouse includes space for meetings, training and recreation. B’nai B’rith CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin spoke at the event.
In spring 2013, the B’nai B’rith Young Leadership Network (now called B’nai B’rith Connect) took part in a nationwide mitzvah project to create kids’ activity kits for children in Israel affected by terrorism.
The kits were shipped to Israel by B’nai B’rith and delivered to community leaders in Sderot. Young leaders in Israel added messages of support to the packages.