B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International applauds the Senate Appropriations Committee for passing a bipartisan bill targeting the discriminatory Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The Combating BDS Act of 2016 will allow state and local governments to divest from entities that boycott Israel.
The bill passed on June 29 with 21 committee members voting in favor. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) sponsored the legislation; Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) was the original co-sponsor.
This bill is an important tool in combating the anti-Israel hatred of BDS supporters, whose ultimate purpose is to eliminate the Jewish state. We call on the full Senate to promptly pass the legislation.
B'nai B'rith International expresses its deepest concerns following the terrorist attack at the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey. Our condolences and prayers go out to the victims and their families.
B'nai B'rith Geneva Representative Addresses UNHRC, Rejects Common distortions Used When Discussing Israel
B’nai B’rith International welcomes the agreement between Israel and Turkey. We see it as a positive development, likely to boost regional stability and Israel’s security. We hope the bilateral relationship, which has an important history, can continue to progress in a favorable direction.
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International is dismayed by another series of recklessly distorted resolutions adopted on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict at the 222nd biennial General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
The mainline Protestant denomination again displayed a stunningly overt preoccupation with demonizing just one side of one complex conflict. It approved an endlessly defective internal "report," entitled "Israel-Palestine: For Human Values in the Absence of a Just Peace," that questioned the viability of a two-state solution, blaming this on Israel.
The Church also, among other steps, decided to "prayerfully study," not reject, the discriminatory, punitive BDS campaign of economic warfare against the Jewish state. Furthermore, the PCUSA urged against the sale of homes only in Jewish communities in Palestinian-disputed territories that happen to be the historic heartland of the Jewish people. Additionally, the PCUSA expressed special alarm over the welfare of Palestinian children—this at a time of relentless, unreciprocated Palestinian terrorism against Israeli civilians, who have increasingly been targeted by Palestinian minors whose societal leaders, political and religious, openly glorify such atrocities.
By showing disregard for facts, nuance and fairness, ideological activists in the PCUSA have continued to make the denomination an agent of division, wholly irrelevant to promoting genuine peace and reconciliation.
Abbas States Israelis Are Poisoning Palestinians
B’nai B’rith International is outraged over Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas’ repeating a false and malicious allegation that an Israeli rabbinical council and rabbi asked the Israeli government to poison Palestinian water sources. Abbas made this heinous declaration today, in Brussels, when he delivered an appeal to the European Union (EU) Parliament addressing the two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.
“Accusing Israel of this appalling crime is unfounded, and only furthers the Palestinian narrative and Abbas’ political agenda,” B’nai B’rith International President Gary P. Saltzman said.
During his speech, Abbas also asserted that if Israel were to leave the West Bank, terrorism would cease to exist, not only in the Middle East, but around the world. Given the state of chaos in the Middle East this statement flies directly in the face of reality.
“To use Israel as a scapegoat for terrorism that occurs all over the world is quite simply, slanderous. Abbas’ rhetoric sets back any prospects for peace, as his appeal only encourages incitement against Israel and its people,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “Abbas’ classic anti-Semitic canards harken back to the dark days of the Middle Ages.”
B’nai B’rith International is pleased to announce Chip Kahn, president and CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals, as the recipient of the 2016 National Healthcare Award, which has recognized exceptional trailblazers in the health care industry for more than 30 years. A gala award dinner was held in his honor on June 22 at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Washington, D.C.
For the last three decades, B’nai B’rith has underscored the outstanding work of health care leaders and corporations that established the standards for health and education initiatives. The standards implemented by these renowned experts have improved the lives of so many people and their communities around the world.
“Chip Kahn has used his leadership in the health care industry to help Americans get the hospital care they desperately need. Throughout his long career, Chip has played a key role in health care reform—that and his passion for the industry is why I am very pleased to have B’nai B’rith honor him with this award,” B’nai B’rith International President Gary P. Saltzman said.
Kahn, having served as president and CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals (FAH) since 2001, leads a trade association that has been instrumental in reforming several health care policies throughout the United States and has represented more than 1,000 investor-owned or managed community hospitals nationwide. Kahn has used his skills as a health care expert and his extensive knowledge of Capitol Hill to create successful health care campaigns that have changed the industry for the better. Kahn has appeared on Modern Healthcare’s annual “100 Most Influential People in Healthcare” list, and is one of only six health care leaders who have been included every year since its inception.
Prior to working at the FAH, Kahn served as president of the Health Insurance Association of America (HIAA) from 1999 to 2001. As president, Kahn spearheaded the push for national attention that targeted medical patients who are uninsured, and advocated for solutions that would extend health coverage. In 2003, the HIAA merged with the American Association of Health Plans to form America’s Health Insurance Plans.
From 1995 to 1998 Kahn worked for the Health Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee as the staff director, and helped develop the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Medicare provisions of the Balanced Budget Act 1997. Kahn started his career in politics when, in 1974 and 1976, he managed two campaigns for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. He also worked for Mayor Moon Landrieu of New Orleans in 1975.
“Chip Kahn’s successes in the health care industry and on Capitol Hill have been monumental in shaping the health care industry. Chip and the Federation of American Hospitals equip and prepare hospitals for when they must deal with infectious diseases, environmental disasters and warfare attacks, as well as advocating for patient quality and safety and providing health care to our nation’s veterans. Fighting for these advocacy issues combined with his expertise in the health care field make Chip a well-deserved recipient of this award,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said.
The recipients of the B’nai B’rith National Healthcare Award have shown a history of dedicated leadership and outstanding civic involvement in the health care field and in the broader community. Award winners support philanthropic causes benefiting health, youth, seniors and education programs.
To learn more about the Federation of American Hospitals, visit http://fah.org.
Click here to learn more about Chip Kahn’s distinguished career.
In Recognition Of His Contribution to Israel-Diaspora Relations Through The Arts
A citation will be conferred by the B’nai B’rith World Center upon Israeli musician and composer Idan Raichel in recognition of his contribution to fostering Israel-Diaspora relations through the arts. The citation will be presented at B’nai B’rith World Center’s 24th annual Award for Journalism Recognizing Excellence in Diaspora Reportage in Memory of Wolf and Hilda Matsdorf.
The event will take place on Thursday, July 7 at 6:30 p.m. Israel time (reception and light refreshments 6:00) at Gilbert de Botton Auditorium, Konrad Adenauer Conference Center, Mishkenot Sha'ananim, Yemin Moshe, Jerusalem.
Raichel is very influential in the Israeli cultural world. In a relatively short period of 15 years, this multi-talented artist has become one of the most outstanding musicians in Israel, and one of the most successful Israeli artists abroad. As a producer, keyboardist, lyricist, composer and performer—Raichel created a unique and superb stage presence that was new to Israeli stages. The worldwide collaborations that Raichel has created throughout his career have made him a cultural ambassador for millions of fans, representing a hopeful world, in which artistic collaboration breaks down barriers between people of different backgrounds and beliefs.
He fuses inspiring biblical and original texts with Jewish, African, Latin, Indian melodies and other rhythms to create a winning combination of Israeli and world music in numerous languages. He has sold nearly 650,000 albums in Israel and around the world, generated over a million digital downloads and has had more than 50 million views on YouTube.
The Idan Raichel Project represents the beating heart of a conflicted region that has become a source of inspiration for younger generations, aiming for a better future. This is true for international audiences who are enriched by Raichel’s energy and see in him an exceptional vision of Israel open to the world. Their excitement during the many performances Raichel has made to “Birthright” and “Masa” audiences is contagious. This is a testimony to their familiarity with the vast body of his work that has already entered the pantheon of Israeli music.
The special citation for fostering Israel-Diaspora relations through the arts was established by B'nai B'rith World Center in 2014. To date, citations were conferred upon Norit Hirsh (2014) and David D'or (2015).
For further information:
Golan Yossifon, Spokesperson 052-5625135, Alan Schneider, director, B’nai B’rith World Center, tel. 02-6251743, fax. 02-6258097; 052-5536-441; firstname.lastname@example.org
Book Writing Scholarship Contest Focuses on Tolerance and Diversity
The winner of this year’s Diverse Minds Writing Challenge in the New York area is “From the Heart” written and illustrated by Sylvia Yu from Stuyvesant High School in New York. Diverse Minds is a contest where high school students write and illustrate children’s books to help elementary school children celebrate tolerance and diversity. Yu was announced the winner on June 21.
This education and awareness initiative was created as part of B’nai B’rith programming that promotes tolerance and communicates a message of equality among all citizens. The contest aims to enlighten, inspire and educate America's young people and their families in an effort to eradicate prejudices and strengthen ties among today’s youth.
In Yu’s story, “From the Heart” a classroom of bears worry about giving out cards on Valentine’s Day. Some of the bears are concerned they can’t give a card to someone of the same gender, or if they have a different ethnicity or if they’re disabled. Their teacher, Ms. Frost, tells her students that “love is blind—gender, race and imperfections are not important. What matters the most is that you love them for their heart.”
Yu was congratulated by B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin and B’nai B’rith Director of Corporate Partnerships Melanie Marconi.
“Originally the Challenge was created with the concept that we must encourage and celebrate diversity — diversity in our communities, in our workplaces, in our schools. And 10 years later, I think we can see in society that there is a richer diversity than ever before,” Mariaschin said.
By placing first, Yu won a $5,000 scholarship and her book has been professionally published. It will be distributed to local schools, libraries and community organizations, as well as to the annual TODAY Show Holiday Toy and Gift Drive. Her book will also be accessible in an e-book format and will be available on iTunes and Amazon as a free download.
Second place winners Lydia Jang and Bailey Chan from Townsend Harris High School in Queens, N.Y. wrote and illustrated “Picnic Day” and received a $2,000 scholarship. Third place winner Nadia Kossman also from Townsend Harris High School wrote and illustrated “The Story of Malina” and obtained a $1,000 scholarship. In addition, Yu’s teacher who oversaw the creation of her winning book received a $1,000 grant to use for classroom or organizational materials. Stuyvesant High School received a $500 grant.
The Challenge is celebrating its 10th anniversary, and including this year’s contest, B’nai B’rith has now published 33 original children’s books, in two different languages (English and Spanish), awarded more than $300,000 in college scholarships and grants and donated more than 39,000 books to public schools, libraries and community organizations across the country.
A diverse panel of judges from the worlds of education, the arts, business and government, along with B’nai B’rith International leaders, reviewed the submissions and selected the winners. Judges this year include: Rhonda Love, B’nai B’rith International vice president of programming; Lawrence J. Krule, president of the Jewish Book Council; Kristina Rodulfo, associate editor of ELLE.com and 2008 winner of Diverse Minds; Naomi Kleinberg, editorial director of licensed publishing at Random House Children’s Books; Andrea Louie, executive director of Asian American Arts Alliance; Josalyn Moran, interim executive director of Children’s Book Council; Stacey Eliuk, program manager of the Museum of Tolerance New York; and Ryan John Koch, director of New York Public and International Affairs at LDS church.
This year’s New York City contest was generously supported by the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group.
Click here to read the winning book.
B’nai B’rith International Deeply Concerned By Administration Opposition To Increased Missile Defense Funding For Israel
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International is deeply concerned by the Administration opposition to increased missile defense funding for Israel. On June 14, the Administration released a statement criticizing a bipartisan Congressional spending bill: “the Administration opposes the addition of $455 million above the FY 2017 Budget request for Israeli missile defense procurement and cooperative development programs.”
The Administration has threatened to veto the bill if changes aren’t made. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the $576 billion defense appropriations bill last week. The bill provides $635 million to Israel’s missile defense systems.
Israel faces a daily threat of rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza. A missile defense system such as Iron Dome has proven invaluable in protecting the lives of Israeli citizens. The U.S. and Israel have shared invaluable information about military defense programs. This cooperation benefits both countries.
Israel’s fight against a relentless barrage of rocket attacks needs a steady and unwavering commitment to this funding.