B’nai B’rith Strongly Condemns Palestinian U.N. Ambassador Riyad Mansour For Comparing Israel To Nazi Germany
B’nai B’rith International strongly condemns United Nations Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour for his outrageous comments comparing Israel to Nazi Germany during a news conference yesterday. Mansour said, “All colonizers, all occupiers, including those who suppressed the Warsaw [Ghetto] uprising, labeled those who were resisting them as terrorists.”
This type of rhetoric has no place anywhere, least of all in the corridors of the United Nations. If the Palestinian Authority were truly interested in pursuing peace with Israel, its ambassador would not be making such statements. The inherent message in the kind of language used yesterday can only be labeled as incitement against Israel and its people.
B’nai B’rith strongly agrees with Israeli United Nations Ambassador Danny Danon, who told reporters that, “any equalization between the Nazis and Israeli democracy is despicable and is worthy of denunciation from the international community.” Sadly, to date, there has been no international outcry.
AJ+ Accuses Israel of Detaining Girl Without Plausible Cause
B’nai B’rith International is outraged over a video released by AJ+, whose parent company is Al Jazeera Media Network, asserting that Dima al-Wawi, a 12-year-old Palestinian girl, was detained in Israel without probable cause. The video does not mention why she was in custody, or that al-Wawi was armed when she was apprehended. Al-Wawi was arrested on Feb. 9 for attempting to stab an Israeli security guard in the West Bank near Hebron.
“This video story is incomplete and should be regarded as anti-Israel propaganda. B’nai B’rith condemns AJ+ for not providing accurate information to its followers,” B’nai B’rith International President Gary P. Saltzman said.
A member of the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs stated in the video that “[Israel is] an ugly state. A state that doesn’t respect childhood and violates Palestinian childhood.” Both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, for years, have been manipulating children, raising whole generations who glorify suicide bombers by dressing toddlers in fake explosive belts. Schools teach children to call Jews “monkeys and pigs.” B’nai B’rith asks if AJ+ has reported on Palestinian incitement and the exploitation of their own children.
By omitting the whole story of Dima al-Wawi in its video, AJ+ sends a deceiving message, resulting in the take away that it’s acceptable to tell a supposed news story without all of the facts.
“There are many different ways Palestinians have tried to delegitimize Israel, some are in the form of protests, like the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, and others, like this one, are through the media. It is imperative for the world to realize that global anti-Semitism is growing, and that AJ+ is trying to pass off an anti-Israel agenda as news,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said.
B’nai B’rith International has also written directly to AJ+ to complain about the video. Click here to read the letter.
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
New York University President Andrew Hamilton is forthrightly rejecting the call of a graduate student union for the school to sever ties with Israel.
In a statement, Hamilton wrote: “A boycott of Israeli academics and institutions is contrary to our core principles of academic freedom, antithetical to the free exchange of ideas and at odds with the University’s position on this matter, as well as the position of [the student group]’s parent union.” Further, he notes: ““NYU will not be closing its academic program in Tel Aviv, and divestment from Israeli-related investments is not under consideration,” the statement continued. “And to be clear: whatever ‘pledges’ union members may or may not have taken does not free them from their responsibilities as employees of NYU, which rejects this boycott.”
The vote by the Graduate Student Organizing Committee (part of the United Auto Workers) passed with more than 66 percent in favor of the measure that includes a demand for NYU “to close its program in Tel Aviv University,” among other things.
B’nai B’rith recognizes Hamilton’s strong and unequivocal rejection of the student-led effort to delegitimize the Jewish state. The global BDS campaign does nothing to advance peace and calls into question the real objectives of those who push the BDS agenda.
Will Continue to Provide Support to Japan
B’nai B’rith International is opening its Disaster Relief Fund to provide aid to the victims of the catastrophic earthquake that occurred April 16 in Ecuador. B’nai B’rith will also provide continuing support to Japan, after it suffered two earthquakes last week, one on April 14 and the other on April 16. That fund originally opened in March 2011 after an 8.9 earthquake and tsunami devastated parts of Japan.
The 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Ecuador Saturday killed more than 400, and has injured more than 4,000 people. Many are still trapped beneath rubble, and thousands of businesses and homes have been destroyed. On Monday, Ecuador was also hit with several aftershocks, with the biggest having a magnitude of 5.1. Hundreds of people are without homes and clean drinking water, and reconstruction will take years.
“We are eager and ready to help the citizens of Ecuador and Japan rebuild,” B’nai B’rith International President Gary P. Saltzman said. “B’nai B’rith has been providing disaster relief support since 1865, and will continue to offer assistance to those in need.”
The fund will also continue to support Japan by providing medical supplies and other basic necessities, after it suffered through two earthquakes and aftershocks in recent days. More than 40 have been killed and more than 1,000 injured. The first earthquake—6.4-magnitude—and the second earthquake—7.3-magnitude—caused extreme damage to bridges, roads and tunnels; and has caused landslides that have isolated outlying communities.
“Providing humanitarian aid is one of our core missions as an organization, and countries around the world can count on us to help,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the people in Ecuador and Japan.”
We will also be assisting those who have been impacted by extensive flooding in Houston and nine surrounding counties in Texas, including areas where the Jewish community is concentrated. B’nai B’rith will utilize its contacts in coalition with other agencies to provide long-term rebuilding plans for Ecuador, Japan and Texas.
To help, donate online at our secure website by clicking here.
You can also call 800-573-9057 to make a credit card contribution over the phone. Or, you can send a check payable to the B’nai B’rith Disaster Relief Fund to:
B’nai B’rith International
Disaster Relief Fund
1120 20 Street NW, Suite 300N
Washington, DC 20036
B’nai B’rith International is outraged over a terror attack on a bus in Jerusalem on Monday. An explosive device set off on a first bus ignited a fire on a nearby bus. At least 20 people aboard the second bus have been injured, and two are in critical condition.
It is absolutely deplorable that Jews in Israel must live on constant alert, knowing that Palestinian terrorist violence targets them in the streets, their homes, schools, grocery stores, playgrounds, restaurants, hospitals or office buildings. This latest attack comes in the wake of seven months of stabbings and car rammings of Israelis.
“These terrorist attacks are fueled by hatred and by a denial of the right for the Jewish people to a state of their own. B’nai B’rith will continue to stand in solidarity with Israel and advocate globally for the Jewish state,” B’nai B’rith International President Gary P. Saltzman said.
The international community does not regularly condemn these horrifying terrorist attacks on the people of Israel, even though they condemn similar acts of violence when they occur in other parts of the world.
“It is absolutely necessary for us to take a stand and to demand that international leaders and the United Nations, once and for all, acknowledge and denounce incitement that causes these terrorist attacks in the first place,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel. S. Mariaschin said.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.
B’nai B’rith International denounces anti-Israel motions authorized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) executive board’s Programme and External Relations Commission. The executive board’s plenary will likely rubberstamp the resolutions, focused on “Occupied Palestine” and education in Gaza, at the close of the board’s session at the end of the week.
In October 2015, the “Occupied Palestine” draft resolution caused a furor with a clause stating that the Western Wall (the Kotel, in Hebrew) was an “integral part” of the Al Aqsa Mosque. The executive board ultimately stepped back from complete moral and historical irrelevance by removing the offensive clause. While this year’s “Occupied Palestine” resolution does not try to go so far as to claim the Kotel as part of Al Aqsa, it repeatedly refers to the plaza containing the Kotel as “Al-Buraq Plaza ‘Western Wall Plaza.’” Putting the Western Wall Plaza in quotation marks (after using the Muslim name for the site) seems to be a disrespectful effort to belittle the Jewish people’s eternal connection to this holy site. Meanwhile, Temple Mount, the single holiest site in Judaism, is referred to only by its Muslim name throughout the resolution.
This session’s “Occupied Palestine” motion expressed disapproval of Israel’s plans for an expanded section at the Kotel for non-Orthodox streams of Judaism who wish to have an egalitarian space for prayers. It also makes the preposterous claim that Israel is “planting fake Jewish graves,” thus “banning” Muslims from using those cemetery plots.
“With this resolution, UNESCO has seemingly lowered itself to the depths of bizarre conspiracy theories,” B’nai B’rith International President Gary P. Saltzman said.
The “Occupied Palestine” resolution did not pass by consensus. Only the United States, Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom voted against it, while 17 countries abstained and 33 countries voted for it, including France, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
“These one-sided resolutions are being used to further the Palestinian narrative, which only prolongs the conflict and which, once again, speaks to the continuing bias of the U.N. and its agencies,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said.
The resolutions voted on at these UNESCO sessions are damaging to the peace process in the Middle East, and will only further serve to discredit the agency and divert it from its own stated mission.
Incident at Stanford University Part of Troubling Pattern
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International is deeply concerned over the latest incident of anti-Semitism on a college campus. Earlier this week, the Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) held a senate meeting discussing a bill that would “reaffirm the fight against anti-Semitism.” At the meeting, a Stanford student, running for re-election to the senate, said that it’s not anti-Semitic to question if Jews control the media, banks and government. Other members of ASSU have asked that he not be allowed to run for office again.
To find such ignorance and bigotry on a college campus, displayed by a supposed campus leader, is extremely distressing. And this sort of anti-Semitism too often begets even more wide-spread delegitimization of Jews and Israel.
The rise of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activities on college campuses is disconcerting. Every year, dozens of colleges and universities throughout the world participate in Israel apartheid week, where students hold rallies protesting the State of Israel. In March, swastikas were found on the campuses of Purdue University and the University of Indianapolis.
These acts of anti-Semitism must be taken seriously, and university leadership should not disregard such behavior. It is imperative for the well-being of Jewish students across the world that they feel safe and secure when pursuing higher education. Critical thinking skills and respect for others are the hallmarks of a strong college education. Someone trading in such stereotypes should have no place in a position of leadership at Stanford.
Spring 2016 Issue Also Features a Second Generation Shoah Memory
Tired of cooking and cleaning for Passover? Many Jewish families have found a way to sidestep the stress of the holiday preparations: travelling to exciting locations around the globe and letting someone else set up the Seder. These pricey Passover-themed trips are hosted in places ranging from the desert and mountains of Utah to tropical destinations in the Caribbean.
Also in this issue, Elaine Sneierson Leeder’s father, Samuel, immigrated to the United States from Lithuania in 1939. Years later, he learned of the perilous fate of his close relatives but never shared it with his children. After his death, Elaine and her brother travelled to Lithuania to educate themselves on their roots and move past this horrifying period in their family’s history.
In his inaugural column, B’nai B’rith International President Gary P. Saltzman discusses the important issues B’nai B’rith will face during his tenure.
B’nai B’rith Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin dedicates his column to Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese consul in Lithuania who bravely issued 2,139 exit visas to Japan for Jewish refugees during the Holocaust.
And read about B’nai B’rith at the World Fair at the start of World War II: In September 1940, two months after a bomb smuggled into the British pavilion at the New York World’s Fair killed two police officers, B’nai B’rith Supreme Grand Lodge President Henry Monsky, speaking at the fair’s Temple of Religion, underscored the importance of service and unity.
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International has just learned that the United Nations reversed its decision to censor an exhibition about Zionism. Earlier today, B’nai B’rith sent a letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemning the U.N.’s decision to censor the exhibition that focused on Israeli-Arabs, Jerusalem and Zionism. The exhibition was sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Israel, and was displayed at the U.N.’s headquarters in New York. The U.N. originally described those panels as “inappropriate,” and B’nai B’rith is pleased that the U.N. realizes that censorship is not the answer to handling diplomacy.
In the letter, B’nai B’rith International President Gary P. Saltzman and Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin wrote: “There is nothing inappropriate in pointing out that Israel’s Arab population—a minority that makes up 20 percent of the entire Israeli population—enjoys equal rights as citizens in a vibrant democracy. The rights that Arab citizens of Israel enjoy far exceed those of Arabs in any neighboring country in the Middle East. This is an indisputable fact. It is only a controversial notion for those for whom Israel can do no right.”
Saltzman and Mariaschin also stated that the controversy lies within the U.N, “the real scandal is that the U.N. General Assembly continues to pass, on an annual basis, a resolution that states that Israel’s proclamation of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is, ‘null and void and must be rescinded forthwith.’ No amount of U.N. censorship can change the fact that Jerusalem is as key a capital of the nation-state of the Jewish people as Paris is to France or London is to the United Kingdom.”
They closed by explaining that “the U.N. is once again working to delegitimize Zionism by censoring an exhibit on it. We trust that you will do the right thing and restore the exhibit so it can be complete and cohesive.”
See where B'nai B'rith International stands on the issues.