B’nai B’rith International participated in a historic three-country mission to Israel, Cyprus and Greece, together with a 15-member delegation of community leaders from two American-Hellenic organizations, as well as representatives from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs, Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin, Board of Governors member William Bram and B’nai B’rith World Center Director Alan Schneider participated in the visit that ran from Jan. 8 to 15.
B’nai B’rith and the Conference of Presidents were joined by representatives from the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA)—a leading membership-based grassroots association for American citizens of Greek heritage and Philhellenes—and the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) —a Greek American public policy center and think tank. The delegation met with high-ranking government, military and religious officials, exploring the major political, economic and security developments underway in the eastern Mediterranean.
“This trip made it evident that there’s a distinct commonality between the American Greek and Jewish communities,” B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said. “By coming to an understanding of the problems facing the eastern Mediterranean—and the democratic countries of Israel, Greece and Cyprus—we can now return to the United States and coordinate solutions to the problems facing both of our communities.”
The delegation began the trip in Israel, holding meetings with Minister of Defense retired Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya'alon; Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman; Minister of Strategic Affairs, Intelligence and International Relations Yuval Steinitz; Minister of Economy, Religious Services, Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett; Speaker of the Knesset Yuli-Yoel Edelstein; Minister of Tourism Uzi Landau; Deputy National Security Advisor Eran Lerman; and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Zeev Elkin. The joint delegation also held a round-table discussion with Israeli ambassadors and ambassadors-delegates to Greece and Cyprus as well as several officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and received a briefing from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
The delegation’s next stop was Cyprus, where participants met with Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides; Ambassador of Cyprus to the United States George Chacalli; and Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus.
The final leg of the three-country visit was Greece, where the delegation met with President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias; Prime Minister Antonis Samaras; Minister of Defense Dimitris Avramopoulos; Speaker of Hellenic Parliament Evangelos Meimarakis; Minister of Tourism Olga Kefalogianni; Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Kyriakos Gerontopoulos; Minister of Culture and Sports Panos Panagiotopoulos; American Ambassador to Greece David Pearce; and Israeli Ambassador to Greece Arye Mekel.
“We are extremely grateful that we were able to meet with so many high-level officials throughout our visit, all of whom were very receptive in continuing to develop a strong, trilateral bond between these countries,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said.
B’nai B’rith Welcomes MLA Rejection of Academic Boycott Against Israel; Urges Executive Council to Defeat Additional Anti-Israel Resolution
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International welcomes the Modern Language Association’s (MLA) rejection of a resolution boycotting Israeli academic institutions. The proposed boycott would have followed the footsteps of the American Studies Association (ASA), which enacted an academic boycott against the Jewish state in December.
B’nai B’rith praises those MLA members who voted against the one-sided resolution, as Israel’s universities are widely known for their openness and environment of academic freedom. Nearly 200 universities and academic associations have also spoken out against the boycott.
What remains distressing is the MLA’s passage of a resolution that criticizes Israel for “denials of entry to the West Bank by U.S. academics” en route to Palestinian universities. B’nai B’rith urges the MLA’s executive council to reject this biased resolution, which is an outright distortion of facts.
B’nai B’rith International is deeply saddened by the passing of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who died Jan. 11, eight years after suffering a stroke on Jan. 4, 2006.
“Israel lost a unique and unusual leader who demonstrated the ability to change his way of thinking and seeking out new paths,” B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said. “He was a brave and fearless soldier, a wise and brilliant leader, who left a lasting impact on Israel.”
The history of Ariel Sharon and the history of Israel could not be more intertwined. Sharon was present at the birth of a nation, when he commanded an infantry company in the 1948 War of Independence. Each time Israel was threatened with extinction, Ariel Sharon rose to defend her.
"He lived the Zionist dream as farmer, soldier and statesman, always mindful of the tremendous responsibilities cast his way on the battlefield or at the diplomatic table," B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said.
Sharon’s career in politics began when he was first elected to the Knesset in 1973. He was defense minister in 1981 and foreign minister in 1998. In September 1999 he was elected chairman of the Likud party and in 2001 he was elected prime minister.
B’nai B’rith International sends its deepest condolences to his family, and to the people of Israel.
B’nai B’rith International is participating in a historic three-country visit to Israel, Cyprus and Greece, together with representatives from two American-Hellenic organizations. The purpose of the trip is to analyze the strategic and emerging relationship between the three countries. B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs, Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin, Member of the Executive William Bram and B’nai B’rith World Center Director Alan Schneider will take part in the trip and will be joined by representatives from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
In an initiative that represents the ongoing organizational cooperation between the American Hellenic and American Jewish communities, B’nai B’rith and the Conference of Presidents will also be joined by representatives from the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA)—a leading membership-based grassroots association for American citizens of Greek heritage and Philhellenes—and the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) —a Greek American public policy center and think tank—to explore developments across various sectors in the eastern Mediterranean.
The 15-member delegation of community leaders will convene in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Israel, from Jan. 8 to 11, then continue on to Nicosia, Cyprus, Jan. 11 to 13, and wrap up in Athens, Greece, Jan. 14 to 15.
The delegation of American Hellenic and American Jewish community leaders aims to explore the major political, economic and security developments underway in the eastern Mediterranean with high-ranking government officials from each of the three countries. The joint delegation also represents broad Diaspora support for the emerging trilateral relationship.
B'nai B'rith Condemns the Modern Language Association for anti-Israel Discussion Planned for Annual Conference
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International condemns the Modern Language Association (MLA) for reportedly denying Hillel International and the Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC) a chance to present a discussion on Israel and academic freedom at the organization’s annual conference. Meanwhile, a “roundtable discussion” titled “Academic Boycotts: A Conversation about Israel and Palestine” will be held solely featuring academic supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
In addition to the one-sided program, the organization will consider a condemnatory resolution toward Israel. The MLA is seemingly following in the path of the American Studies Association (ASA), which enacted an academic boycott against the Jewish state in December. B’nai B’rith applauds the more than 100 colleges and universities that have rejected the ASA's discriminatory and unwarranted boycott.
By only hosting academics that support the BDS movement, the MLA is openly perpetuating an anti-Israel agenda. It is a perplexing decision, considering Israel’s universities are widely known for their openness and environment of academic freedom. Thus, it is even more incomprehensible that the MLA is not focusing its efforts on the long list of countries which inhibit academic freedom and have long records of human rights abuse.