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B’nai B’rith President Seth J. Riklin and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:

B’nai B’rith International vehemently condemns the United Nations’ reported intention to add Israel to a list of countries and entities of particular concern in an annual report on children in armed conflict. The report, by the office of Secretary-General António Guterres, reviews areas of conflict in which grave violations against children purportedly occur and will soon be presented to the U.N. Security Council.

Israelthe Middle East’s sole democracy and the world’s only Jewish statewould be the first democratic country to be stigmatized by inclusion on the list, alongside Russia, Somalia and terrorist groups such as ISIS and Al Qaeda.

Israeli children of all backgrounds have been relentlessly victimized by the country’s implacable enemies, even more so on and since the unprecedented terrorist atrocities of last Oct. 7. This has extended to Israel’s south, central region and north—where Lebanon-based Hezbollah has devastated and depopulated entire towns for nearly eight months. Yet Israel goes further than any country to alert civilians to military operations, often risking exposure and danger to its own troops as they fight for Israel’s survival against terrorists who seek to murder Israeli civilians while hiding behind Palestinian civilians.

Indeed, the U.N.’s own facilities in Gazaincluding schoolshave repeatedly been exploited by terrorists to harbor weapons, combatants, members of the extremist groups, inciting “educational” curricula and anti-Israel attacks.

Despite this, Israel has long worked cooperatively with the U.N. secretary-general’s office to address concerns about children’s welfare. The U.N. itself has been forced to quietly backtrack from false data provided by the Hamas-controlled Gaza “health ministry” about casualties in that territory.

Pro-Palestinian groups—which have long agitated to add Israel to the U.N. children’s blacklist—are riding the momentum of anti-Israel bias in the face of an ongoing war again initiated by Hamas. 

The equating of Israel with terrorists and some of the world’s worst violators of children’s rights would be an unforgivable outrage. It would also embolden those like Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah that have deliberately put countless children in harm’s way as part of a ruthless strategy of destruction. We have written to the secretary-general to appeal for rejecting this blatant political opportunism at such a fraught moment.