B’nai B’rith Award for Journalism Recognizing Excellence in Diaspora Reportaģe for 2012 to be Presented on June 24
Keynote Speaker: Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstat, former U.S. Under Secretary of State and Deputy Secretary of the Treasury
Journalist Lee Abramovich of Channel 2 News will receive the 2012 B’nai B’rith World Center Award for Journalism Recognizing Excellence in Diaspora Reportaģe in Memory of Wolf and Hilda Matsdorf on June 24 in Jerusalem. Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstat, former U.S. under secretary of state and deputy secretary of the Treasury will deliver the keynote address entitled “The Future of the Jews: How Global Forces are Impacting the Jewish People, Israel, and its Relationship with the United States.”
B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs and Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin will attend the event, which will take place at Beit Avi Chai, 44 King George Street, Jerusalem at 7 p.m. (doors will open at 6:30 p.m.). B’nai B’rith World Center Chairman Dr. Haim V. Katz will chair the event.
Abramovich will receive the award for her report “American Jewry makes living kidney donations to Israeli patients” broadcast on the Channel 2 weekend news edition on July 9, 2011. The moving report reveals the little-known phenomenon of Orthodox American Jews who make live kidney donations to Israelis, their motivations and support structure.
For the first time in the award’s 20-year history Foreign Correspondent Citations will also be presented. AP correspondent Diaa Hadid will be awarded the citation in the general media category in memory of Luis and Trudi Schydlowsky for her June 18, 2011, article about the ruins of the Dar al-Bishi synagogue in Tripoli. Hadid visited Tripoli during the revolution in Libya, and the synagogue served as the article’s backdrop to the illustrious past of that country’s Jewish community.
Jana Beris (Jerozolimski), editor of the Uruguayan Jewish weekly newspaper Semanario Hebreo, will receive the citation in the Jewish media category for her interview with Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky, published on March 24, 2011. The citation will also recognize her longtime commitment to Diaspora Jewish journalism. Semanario Hebreo was established in 1960 by Beris’ father, Joseph Jerozolimski. Since his death in 2004 Jana has edited the newspaper from Israel. It is distributed in Uruguay 50 weeks a year.
Since its establishment in 1992, the B’nai B’rith World Center Award for Journalism has recognized excellence in reportaģe on contemporary Diaspora Jewish communities and on the state of Israel-Diaspora relations today in the Israeli print, electronic and online media. It is widely acknowledged by the media industry as the most prestigious prize of its kind in Israel.
Members of the distinguished award jury are: Prof. Yehudith Auerbach, head of the Communication and Journalism Studies Division, Bar Ilan University; David Horovitz, founding editor, The Times of Israel; Sara Frenkel, diaspora reporter, Broadcast Authority and Lifetime Achievement Award winner for 2002; Shalom Kital, former general director, News Company, Channel 2; Bambi Sheleg, founder and editor-in-chief, “Eretz Acheret” and award winner for 2011 and Asher Weill, publisher and editor of “Ariel” The Israel Review of Arts and Letters (1981-2003).
The B’nai B’rith World Center Award for Journalism is named for the late Wolf Matsdorf, former editor of the B’nai B’rith World Center publication “Leadership Briefing” and a journalist in Israel and Australia; as well as his wife the late Hilda Matsdorf, a pioneer in social work in both Australia and Israel. The award is made possible through donations from Prof. Daniel Schydlowsky, a member of the B’nai B’rith World Center International Board of Governors (Lima, Peru and Washington, D.C.), and the Matsdorf family.
The public and the media are invited to attend. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information please contact: Golan Yossifun, spokesperson at 052-562-5135 or Alan Schneider, director of the B’nai B’rith World Center, at 02-6251743 or email@example.com.
B’nai B’rith International commends the Republic of Panama for suspending diplomatic ties with Syria. Panama is so far the only Latin American country to do so.
“We are pleased that Panama has taken this crucial stand against the systematic human rights violations that continue to plague a Syria riddled by violence,” said B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs.
Since the beginning of the uprising against Bashar al-Assad 13 months ago, an estimated 12,000 Syrians have been killed. Most recently, 100 civilians were massacred in the Syrian town of Houla.
“Panama’s decision to suspend diplomatic relations with Syria sends a strong signal to Assad and his followers that the slaughter must end. The Assad policy is, in the end, a one-way street to oblivion. We hope other countries in the region will also follow suit and choose to sever diplomatic relations with this dictatorship,” said B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin.
Organization of American States Secretary-General Responds to B'nai B'rith Request on Anti-Discrimination Convention
At a meeting for nongovernmental organizations at the Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly in Cochabamba, Bolivia, B’nai B’rith International called for the swift approval of the Inter-American Convention against Racism and All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance, which has been under discussion since 2004.
B’nai B’rith Director of Latin American Affairs Eduardo Kohn noted that the convention is an indispensable tool in the fight against discrimination and racism, both of which are on the rise in the region.
OAS Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza directly responded to B’nai B’rith International’s request, saying that not only does he agree that discussions on this matter have taken too much time, he also backs the convention and committed his office to call for a special meeting to push this convention forward.
B’nai B’rith has been collaborating with OAS member states in the drafting of this convention for the last eight years and—thanks to B’nai B’rith’s involvement—the draft includes a specific reference to anti-Semitism.
“We are encouraged to receive such a strong response from the secretary-general with the support of the other NGOs to move forward with this crucial piece of legislation,” said B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs. “We remain committed to promoting anti-discrimination legislation wherever we can. Here in the United States B’nai B’rith supported the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act that was passed in 2009 and will continue to speak out against discrimination and hate crimes worldwide.”
Kohn also participated in a human rights working group with other NGOs, where he once again posed the need for the passage of the anti-discrimination convention. This language was later shared with the foreign ministers. Additionally, he and other NGO representatives spoke out against the tolerance of hate speech in certain countries, which prompted a harsh response from the representative of Venezuela, a country with a problematic record when it comes to hate speech, particularly toward the Jewish community.
“B’nai B’rith International is active in almost 20 countries in Latin America, and we communicate regularly with government officials, religious leaders and community members,” said B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin. “Though this legislation was first discussed eight years ago, we are hopeful that the OAS will finally vote in favor of this legislation which will help protect the region from hatred, discrimination and intolerance of all forms.”
B’nai B’rith Praises Netanyahu’s Continued Commitment to Border Security, Work to Determine Legitimate Refugee Status
B’nai B’rith International is deeply concerned about the disturbances that erupted during anti-African migrant demonstrations that took place over the last week in Tel Aviv.
B’nai B’rith is hopeful that the Israeli government and leaders of civil society will work together to do everything in their power to secure the country’s borders, while meeting their international obligations to ensure the safety of legitimate refugees and treating all migrants humanely.
On May 23 a riot against African migrants resulted in 17 arrests after African passers-by were attacked and property was destroyed. On May 30 an Israeli of Ethiopian descent was mistaken for an illegal migrant and verbally attacked then hit, resulting in five arrests.
Because Israel is a country of such economic opportunity and tolerance, it has been faced with a large influx of migrants—many from failed states in Africa including Sudan and Eritrea, a country whose conscription involves 20 years of service. While many of these people can legitimately claim refugee asylum status, many of those migrants who are coming to Israel seeking economic opportunity cannot. Israel should meet its international obligations to determine how to distinguish those who are legitimate refugees from illegal migrants and how to properly treat illegal migrants until such time as they can return to their home countries.
B’nai B’rith welcomes the actions of the Netanyahu administration in denouncing the riots and in working to develop solutions to border security. While we understand the anxiety and frustration of those Israelis personally faced with consequences of unchecked illegal immigration into the country, this should never be allowed to deteriorate into violence.
B'nai B'rith International condemns the actions of the Palestinian Authority in receiving the remains of 91 Palestinian terrorists from the State of Israel. The PA celebrated the return of the "martyrs'" remains with an official ceremony in Ramallah complete with a 21-gun salute and laying wreaths on the Palestinian flag-wrapped coffins.
"Essential to long-term peace in the Middle East is Israel and the Palestinians' sitting down to peace negotiations. This is dependent upon each side showing respect for the other," said B'nai B'rith International President Allan J. Jacobs. "The actions of President Abbas in glorifying terrorists demonstrated anything but respect."
Among the remains transferred from an Israeli military cemetery were suicide bombers responsible for the deaths of more than 200 Israelis including Ramez Aslim, the suicide bomber who attacked Jerusalem Café Hillel in 2003, killing seven and injuring 50. Also among the remains transferred was Raed Abdel-Hamed Misk, the Hamas suicide bomber who attacked Israel's No. 2 bus in Jerusalem in 2003, killing 23 and injuring more than 130.
"As long as the Palestinian side continues to celebrate terror, incite violence and delegitimize the Jewish state, Israel will lack a partner in the peace process," said B'nai B'rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin.
A Brooklyn high school student took first prize in the 2012 B’nai B’rith International Diverse Minds Youth Writing Challenge for the book “A Dragon of Inn.” As first place winner, Daria Chernysheva, a student at Brooklyn Technical High School, receives a $5,000 college scholarship and will have her book professionally published.
In the story, which Chernysheva wrote and illustrated, the Isle of Inn is inhabited by dragons from four different tribes—Moon, Sun, Wind and Water. They don’t interact or trade due to a dispute generations ago. Hallie the dragon is the only one who does not belong to a tribe. When the Great Storm comes, Hallie convinces the tribes to help each other and share their various resources. In the end, the tribes reconnect and are once again happy. As Hallie says, “Alone, your gifts were only so powerful. Together, they were mighty.”
At the award ceremony, B’nai B’rith International also honored Bonnie Hammer, chairman of NBC Universal Cable Entertainment and Cable Studios, for her commitment to initiatives confronting racism and bigotry. Toby Graff, senior vice president of USA Networks, accepted the award on Hammer’s behalf.
The second place award went to Yashoda Persaud from Queens High School who wrote “Color Coded.” The book was illustrated by classmate Angela Chen. The pair took home a $2,000 scholarship. Third place went to Iris Dai of Townsend Harris High School in Flushing, N.Y., for her book “Unmasked.” Dai earned a $1,000 scholarship.
In addition, Timothy Ree, the teacher who oversaw the creation of “A Dragon Inn” earned a $500 stipend to use for classroom or organizational materials, and Brooklyn Technical High School also took home a $500 grant.
“These students have demonstrated that they recognize and appreciate the multicultural and diverse world we live in,” B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said. The contest—now in its sixth year—challenges teens to write and illustrate children’s books that explain diversity and tolerance to elementary school-aged children. This education and awareness initiative was created in conjunction with B’nai B’rith programs that promote tolerance and communicate a message of equality. The contest aims to enlighten, inspire and educate America's young people and their families in an effort to destroy prejudices and strengthen the future of our youth.
The winners were announced May 31 at the New York Stock Exchange. A panel of judges from the New York worlds of education, the arts and government, as well as the executive vice president of B’nai B’rith International, reviewed the submissions and selected the winners.
“I had the great honor of reading all of these creative and meaningful submissions. It is clear that acceptance and tolerance are already at the core of these students’ lives,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “These authors succeeded in bringing B’nai B’rith’s core values and ideals to life.”
The New York Stock Exchange Foundation and the USA Network’s Characters Unite campaign, two organizations that are dedicated to promoting diversity, tolerance and acceptance, generously provided the philanthropic support necessary for B’nai B’rith to again offer the program in New York City.
For photos from the event, click here.
See where B'nai B'rith International stands on the issues.