B’nai B’rith Decries Rote Anti-Israel Resolutions at the Human Rights Council and Commission on the Status of Women
B’nai B’rith Also Outraged Over Appointment Of Michael Lynk As U.N. "Special Rapporteur" On Palestinians
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International is outraged over the nomination and subsequent appointment of Canadian labor lawyer Michael Lynk as the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) new special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories. We are not, however, surprised by this nomination as the UNHRC has long exhibited an undisguised prejudice against Israel.
Lynk has consistently been vocal in displaying his own bias toward Israel. In the past he has promoted Israel Apartheid Week at Western University, where he teaches law, and has stated that he would like to “isolate Israel.” In 2009, Lynk even participated in a “one-state solution” conference, which was co-sponsored by the Trans Arab Research Institute, implying a vision that excludes the world's only Jewish state.
This position again shows the institutionalization of bigotry at the United Nations. Even when given an opportunity to finally elect a more impartial candidate, the UNHRC still chooses to be prejudiced, ensuring that an agenda of singling out Israel for hostility will continue. The post of special rapporteur on Palestinian rights—explicitly ignoring Israeli rights—is inherently discriminatory and illegitimate, and Lynk’s record of open anti-Israel bias only confirms B’nai B’rith’s view of the rapporteur role and of the UNHRC, which sadly contributes to defamation and tensions, not peace and human rights, in Palestinian-Israeli relations.
The Council, in fact, voted on five ritualistic anti-Israel resolutions this week. A resolution on settlements asks the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to “produce a database of all business enterprises” deemed involved in settlement activity to be reported to the council next year and updated annually. This would favor one-sided economic warfare over the meaningful peace diplomacy to which the United Nations should be committed, and turn the body's human rights apparatus into a secretariat for radical Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activists.
The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), for its part, also met this week in New York to ostensibly discuss gender equality and the fight against gender-based violence and discrimination. However, like every year, the CSW singles out for criticism the only democratic nation in the Middle East and the only one genuinely championing women's rights, Israel.
B’nai B’rith will continue to monitor U.N. activities in New York, Geneva and around the world. It is imperative that we continue to call attention to the anti-Israel bias and discrimination that the U.N. models to dire effect.
B'nai B'rith Writes Committee on Foreign Affairs Expressing Deep Concern over Omission of Israel on U.S. Visa Website
B’nai B’rith International President Gary P. Saltzman and Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin wrote to members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), expressing deep concern over the omission of the State of Israel on the U.S. visa website.
Saltzman and Mariaschin write:
The United States Visa Services website ... names the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv and the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem as places where visa appointments can take place. Neither one of those U.S. diplomatic outposts, however, is identified as being located in Israel. In fact, the word "Israel" does not appear on the website. Nor does the Israeli flag appear alongside the flags of other countries.
Read the full letter below:
B’nai B’rith World Center And Keren Kayemeth Leisrael To Hold A Unique Holocaust Day Ceremony Marking The Heroism Of Jewish Rescuers
Ceremony Dedicated To Commemorating the Rescue Efforts of Shmuil Markowitz Pevzner
The B’nai B’rith World Center in Jerusalem and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL-JNF) will hold, for the 14th consecutive year, a unique joint Holocaust commemoration ceremony on Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah), May 5. This is the only event dedicated annually to commemorating the heroism of Jews who rescued fellow Jews during the Holocaust. About 200 border patrol cadets—who will provide an honor guard—and 200 high school students will participate in the ceremony together with Jewish rescuers and survivors. The ceremony will take place at the B’nai B’rith Martyr’s Forest “Scroll of Fire” Plaza (arrival map) at 10:00 a.m. Israel time.
This years' event will memorialize the rescue efforts of Jewish educator and Leningrad resident, Shmuil Markowitz Pevzner (1912-1991). According to survivors’ testimonies Pevzner was serving as the director of the Polish troupe in the Soviet Pioneers Camp in Druskininkai, Lithuania, when on June 22, 1941, the Nazis launched “Operation Barbarossa” and attacked the area. Pevzner succeeded in rescuing all 300 children from the camp, including about 140 Jewish children from Bialystok, Poland, and the surrounding region, and retreating with them by train to the safety of the Soviet Far East. For the 12 day journey, they were under repeated German aerial attack.
Pevzner established a home for the children in the Udmurtia Republic under the Soviet government’s patronage, caring for them through extreme weather conditions and shortages until World War II ended. The children—only four of whom found any surviving parents after the war—were repatriated to Poland in 1946, and most immigrated to Israel. The “Bricha” organization transferred the children to France, and after a training period the first group of 50 children left for Mandatory Eretz Israel on the illegal immigrant ship “Theodor Herzl.” The ship was intercepted at sea by a British war ship and several passengers, including some of the children, were wounded while resisting the British. The ship was towed to the Atlit detention camp in Mandatory Eretz Israel, where the wounded were taken ashore. The remaining passengers were transferred to a detention camp in Cyprus until they were allowed to immigrate to Israel in December 1947. About 120 of the "Bialystok Children" made aliyah over time. Pevzner was decorated by Poland and the Soviet Union for his rescue of the children. The director of the Lithuanian troupe at the camp, Stasys Sviderskis, was recognized in 1997 by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations for his role in the rescue.
Pevzner will be represented at the ceremony by his son Dr. Mark Pevzner and grandson Boris Pevzner, both are residents of Udmurtia. Russian Ambassador to Israel Alexander Shein will be guest of honor. B’nai B’rith World Center Chairman Haim V. Katz and KKL/JNF World Chairman Danny Atar will also address the event.
During the ceremony a “Jewish Rescuers Citation” will be posthumously conferred on Pevzner by the Committee to Recognize the Heroism of Jewish Rescuers During the Holocaust (JRJ), and the B’nai B’rith World Center and on six other Jewish rescuers from Greece, Poland and Hungary. Since the establishment of the Jewish Rescuers Citation in 2011, honors have been awarded to some 100 rescuers who operated in France, Germany, Holland and Hungary.
"Through the ceremony and citation, the organizers seek to right the historical record by giving due recognition to Shmuil Markowitz Pevzner for rescuing these vulnerable children, some as young as seven, and all but four of whom where orphaned by the war's end. Pevzner was exceptionally devoted to the safety, education and well-being of the children throughout World War II, and thanks to him they survived. He acted with bravery and heroism to save the children from an active battlefield and led them to a safe haven. We salute his dedication to the children, supporting them through emotional and physical hardships' to become upstanding adolescents and adults," B'nai B'rith World Center Director Alan Schneider said.
The event will be held at the Martyr's Forest—a joint Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL-JNF) and B’nai B’rith project which memorializes the victims of the Holocaust with six million trees planted in the picturesque Jerusalem mountains near Moshav Kesalon. At the pinnacle of the forest stands the “Scroll of Fire” created by renowned sculptor Nathan Rapoport, which invokes the destruction of the Jewish people in the Holocaust and their redemption in the State of Israel. The event will commence with personal testimonies by Holocaust survivors to classes of soldiers.
The phenomena of Jewish rescue and the instructive stories of thousands of Jews who labored to save their endangered brethren throughout Europe have yet to receive appropriate public recognition and resonance. Many who could have tried to flee preferred to stay and rescue others; some paid for it with their lives. With great heroism Jews in every country in occupied Europe employed subterfuge, forgery, smuggling, concealment and other methods to ensure that Jews survived the Holocaust there, or assisted them in escaping to a safe place, and in doing so foiled the Nazi goal of total genocide against the Jews. The organizers of the ceremony view it as especially important to expose Jewish youth to Jewish rescue during the Holocaust as a model for Jewish solidarity and courage.
09:00-09:30 Personal testimonies by Holocaust survivors to soldiers in the Forest
09:45 Coalesce in “Scroll of Fire” Plaza
10:00 Siren peal and ceremony commencement
11:00 Ceremony conclusion
11:00-11:30 Personal testimonies by Holocaust survivors to students in the Forest
For further details, please contact: B’nai B’rith World Center Director Alan Schneider at 052-5536441 or firstname.lastname@example.org
B’nai B’rith International is outraged over the horrific terrorist attacks that occurred in Brussels on Tuesday morning. Two explosions occurred at about 8:00 a.m. local time at the Brussels airport, and the second took place at a subway station about an hour later. The attack has killed at least 30 people and has injured more than 200.
“What happened today is horrifying and tragic, and we must continue to condemn this unbridled violence, not only in Brussels, but also around the world,” B’nai B’rith International President Gary P. Saltzman said.
It is deeply troubling that these attacks are occurring on a regular basis all over the globe.
“These horrific attacks are an ongoing reminder of deep-seated evil that motivates those who have carried out this wanton bloodshed,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel. S. Mariaschin said.
Governments must focus on the conditions that lead to violent extremism to ensure the security of their citizens. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Brussels and Belgium at this difficult time.
Attack Saturday in Istanbul and a Week Ago in Ankara Latest In Wave Of Terror
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith decries a terror attack Saturday morning on an area popular with tourists in Istanbul, Turkey, that has killed at least four people. At least 36 were also injured by the suicide bomber.
At least two of the dead were dual American-Israeli citizens. The injured reportedly included citizens from Israel, Ireland, Germany, Iceland, Iran and Dubai.
Turkey has experienced a series of terror attacks in recent months, including an attack a week ago in Ankara that killed 35.
While we send our condolences to the victims and their families, we also reflect on the global use of terror tactics. Governments of good standing must unite in solidarity to fight the extremism that leads to such barbaric terrorist acts.
B’nai B’rith International Great Lakes Region will honor B’nai B’rith Chairman of the Executive (COE) Peter Perlman with its prestigious 2016 International Guardian of the Menorah Award on March 16. This award is given to someone who preserves and protects B’nai B’rith’s greatest symbol—the menorah. B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin will be the guest speaker.
Perlman was appointed to his current post—the number two volunteer leadership position—by B’nai B’rith’s president in November. It is the COE’s responsibility to serve as the direct liaison with volunteers and carry out other internal and external responsibilities.
“B’nai B’rith is very grateful for all the work Peter has done on behalf of the organization over so many decades. His commitment to B’nai B’rith’s mission of advocating for Israel and Jews around the world has been exemplary. This award is well-deserved,” B’nai B’rith International President Gary P. Saltzman said.
Perlman joined B’nai B’rith’s Detroit lodge in 1970 and has been involved at the local and international level ever since. In addition to serving as the chairman of the executive, he also currently sits on B’nai B’rith’s Board of Governors. Perlman has also held several other leadership positions in B’nai B’rith over the years including past president of B’nai B’rith Great Lakes Region, the president of the Metro Detroit area, a lodge president, a District 6 president and has served twice as the national fundraising chair.
In 1988, Perlman received the Label A. Katz Young Leadership Award, which recognizes its members under 45 who have demonstrated exceptional service to B’nai B’rith and its mission, as well as accomplishing the goals of the B’nai B’rith Young Leadership Network.
“Peter’s dedication to B’nai B’rith and the Jewish community has been steadfast. For more than 45 years Peter has helped B’nai B’rith spread global awareness about the important work B’nai B’rith does. I am proud to honor him with this award,” Mariaschin said.
The Great Lakes Region has been presenting this exceptional honor since 2000, and at least 11 other dedicated B’nai B’rith members and leaders have received this award. The Guardian of the Menorah Award will be presented at an annual fundraising dinner in West Bloomfield, Michigan.
The wave of Palestinian terrorist attacks in Israel continued this week with violent assaults in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Petah Tikvah. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has appallingly referred to the violence as a "justified popular uprising." Unfortunately the European Union's response has been disturbingly timid.
In a statement noting that "terror attacks took place," the spokesperson for the European External Action Service (EEAS) weakly concludes, "Once again, hatred and violence have taken innocent lives. Once again, we call on all parties to work together and do their utmost to immediately calm down the situation and prevent further escalation." Not only does the EEAS fail to identify the attacks as part of a systematic campaign of Palestinian terror against Israel—it fails to even mention the word "Israel." Nor does the EEAS condemn the terror; rather, it calls "on all parties to work together and do their utmost to immediately calm down the situation," as though Palestinian attacks on Israelis are not calculated and can be halted by a handshake and a kind word.
Urge the EU's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, to unambiguously condemn Palestinian terror and make clear that Palestinians cannot achieve peace until they stop inciting violence against Israelis. The democratic world must stand united against terrorism.
Her Excellency Federica Mogherini
High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Dear Madam High Representative:
The Palestinians have stepped up their deliberate campaign of terror against Israelis with attacks this week in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Petah Tikvah. These murderous episodes are calculated to terrorize Israel's population and undermine the peace process. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has made this strategy clear by referring to the violence as a "justified popular uprising."
The democratic world must not tolerate or turn a blind eye to this terrorist assault on the Middle East's only democracy, Israel. Failure to condemn terrorism only invites more violence and harms the cause of peace. This is why I was so concerned by the EEAS spokesperson's recent statement, which fails to condemn Palestinian terror and even omits any mention of Israel's name.
I urge you to unequivocally condemn these unconscionable terrorist attacks on Israelis. Make clear to Palestinians that they cannot achieve peace until they abandon their systematic campaign of terror against the Israeli population.
Group Advocated Against Anti-Israel Bias at UNHRC
B’nai B’rith International has concluded its annual leadership delegation visit to Geneva, where the group advocated on critical issues facing the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). The delegation discussed the persistent bias against Israel at the UNHRC.
From March 6 to March 11, nearly 20 B’nai B’rith International leaders and supporters met with senior diplomats from 35 countries including the United States, Brazil, Germany, Greece, Japan, Jordan and Russia.
Three representatives from the national Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) also participated in the mission. The delegation was led by B’nai B’rith International President Gary P. Saltzman and B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin.
“Facing constant unfair treatment of Israel, it is imperative that B’nai B’rith maintains close scrutiny of the Human Rights Council. The Council relentlessly accuses Israel—the only democracy in the Middle East—of human rights violations, even while unsurpassed human rights abusers, such as Syria and Iran, get minimal attention,” Saltzman said. “We need to hold the Council accountable for its hypocrisy.”
Throughout the week the delegation conducted private meetings with ambassadors and discussed the UNHRC’s ritualistic condemnatory resolutions and reports under the Council’s Item 7—which singles out Israel for scrutiny—as well as human rights crises in Iran, Syria and other countries. The delegation also hosted a diplomatic reception at the U.N. headquarters in Geneva. Michael Møller, director-general of the U.N. Office at Geneva, Israeli Ambassador Eviatar Manor and U.S. Ambassador Keith Harper addressed the audience, which included some two-dozen ambassadors and other diplomats.
“The systemic bias against Israel at the Human Rights Council is unacceptable. B’nai B’rith conducts bilateral meetings with ambassadors and other key diplomats because the Council's prejudiced resolutions against Israel obstruct truth and distract from genuine human rights calamities,” Mariaschin said. “These resolutions only act as one more obstacle to peace in the region.”
In addition to Saltzman and Mariaschin, B’nai B’rith was represented by: Chairman of the Executive Peter Perlman, Detroit, Mich.; Senior Vice President Eric Engelmayer, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg; B’nai B’rith Europe President Daniel Citone, Rome, Italy; Director for EU Affairs Ben Naegele, Brussels, Belgium; Treasurer A. Michael Gellman, Potomac, Md.; David Matas, Winnipeg, Canada; Stéphane Teicher, Paris, France; Zary Acher, Geneva, Switzerland; Nurit Braun, Geneva, Switzerland; Klaus Netter, Geneva, Switzerland; Ada Sadoun, Geneva, Switzerland; Richard Sadoune, Geneva, Switzerland and Anita Winter, Zurich, Switzerland. Eden Adler, Ezra Gontownik and Jonathan Kamel represented AEPi.
B’nai B’rith International’s Director of United Nations and Intercommunal Affairs David Michaels coordinated the visit in Geneva together with U.N. Affairs Program Officer Oren Drori, from New York.
Deeply Concerned About Rising Incitement Against Jews World Wide
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International is outraged over the anti-Semitic attack in Uruguay resulting in the murder of a beloved Jewish community leader. On Tuesday, 54-year-old David Fremd, an outstanding leader in the Jewish community, was stabbed more than 10 times and died in Paysandu, Uruguay. One of Fremd’s sons was also stabbed; his injuries are not life-threatening.
The assailant, who has been arrested, reportedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” just prior to the attack. According to Israelite Central Committee President Sergio Gorzy, the attacker stated during his police interrogation that he was targeting Jews.
We are very concerned about the increasing incitement to anti-Semitic attacks around the world. Jews are being targeted where they pray, where they go to school, where they shop and where they walk.
B’nai B’rith calls on our world leaders to condemn these horrific attacks and to recognize and condemn incitement against Jews and Israel.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Fremd family.
Three New Attacks Add to Already High Level of Violence Against Jews
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International strongly condemns the ongoing wave of violent terrorist attacks that have killed one person today and injured more than 12 people.
At the Jaffa Port in Tel Aviv a Palestinian man stabbed more than 10 people and killed one.
Separately, a Palestinian man opened fire near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City wounding two Israeli border police officers; the assailant was shot during a police chase. Yet another attack occurred in Petach Tikvah where an Arab man stabbed another Israeli. The victim was able to grab the attacker’s knife and defend himself from the attacker.
It is absolutely unacceptable that Jews in Israel have to be on guard against such terrorism as they go about their day-to-day lives. World leaders must denounce these inexcusable terrorist attacks. Silence too often sends a message of condoning these horrendous actions.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.