B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
It is becoming increasingly evident that Judge Christian Tomuschat is not neutral in his role overseeing the implementation of the Goldstone report’s recommendations and he should step down.
The biased, controversial Goldstone report offered a highly skewed version of events during Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s defensive operation in the Gaza Strip that ended in January 2009 and Tomuschat’s panel is following a similar pattern of bias.
It was recently revealed that in 2002 Tomuschat, a law professor and jurist, reportedly said Israel’s retaliation against “presumed terrorists” was, in effect, another form of terrorism. Compounding this, according to a Jerusalem Post report, in 1996 Tomuschat prepared an advisory analysis for Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat. Furthermore, he wrote in 2002 that states are fundamentally unable to investigate themselves effectively.
It is impossible for him to review and evaluate how Israel is conducting its own investigation into its Gaza actions when he has already concluded that Israel commits acts of “state terrorism.”
Tomuschat should step aside in order for Israel to have any chance of a report without a predetermined outcome.
The panel is scheduled to submit a report on its findings in October.
In Letter, B’nai B’rith Expresses Deep Disappointment with Gaza Characterization:
B’nai B’rith International has sent a letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron to express “strong disappointment” with his characterization of Gaza as a “prison camp.” This kind of language is used regularly by those who seek to demonize and delegitimize Israel. Sadly, Israel’s enemies can now quote the British prime minister in their efforts to undermine the Jewish state.
Speaking in Ankara, Cameron also condemned Israel’s actions in May as a Turkish ship attempted to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.
The letter from B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick, Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin, and President of B’nai B’rith Europe Graham Weinberg notes: “To blame Israel for the situation of the Palestinians in Gaza is both simplistic and unfair. It ignores the fact that Gaza is under the rule of Hamas, a terrorist organization whose declared purpose is to destroy Israel and who regularly fires rockets against Israeli civilians.”
With full control over Gaza, the power to ease the blockade rests with Hamas.
In the letter, B’nai B’rith reminds Cameron that the blockade is meant to keep weapons to be used against Israel from being smuggled into Gaza. Glick, Mariaschin, and Weinberg also note that humanitarian aid passes into Gaza on a regular and consistent basis.
“It is our sincere hope that your government will recommit to a more balanced and fair approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, something that will certainly favor the efforts for stability and reconciliation in the Middle East.”
Click here to read the full letter.
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International condemns the hateful statements made by Hollywood film director Oliver Stone in a July 25 interview with the British newspaper, the Sunday Times.
Stone’s rhetoric about the Holocaust, U.S. foreign policy toward Iran, and “Jewish control” of the media is a result of a seriously misguided view of history and contemporary geopolitics.
Stone’s belief that “Jewish control” of the media prevents an open debate of the Holocaust in the U.S. is a centuries-old canard that parrots the anti-Semitic rants of today’s hatemongers. It gives a disturbing hint of what Stone plans for a movie that will put Hilter and Stalin “in context” and helps to explain how he can defend the actions of Iran.
Unfortunately, these are not the first inflammatory remarks Stone has made—in January, he defended Hitler by labeling him “an easy scapegoat throughout history.”
These types of hateful remarks are harmful and must be denounced.
B’nai B’rith International and The Koby Mandell Foundation have announced a partnership to provide 100 Gush Katif youngsters an exciting 10-day camp experience this summer.Since 2002, The Koby Mandell Foundation has operated Camp Koby, a therapeutic camp for Israeli children suffering from the trauma of terror and other crises, offering a much needed respite from the campers’ everyday pressures. Since 2005, the foundation has operated overnight or day camps for children of Gush Katif, who were uprooted in the 2005 “Disengagement” and live today in temporary housing. This year’s camp will feature a five-day day camp and three days of camping and touring in northern Israel. The B’nai B’rith-Koby Mandell Foundation collaboration was fostered by the B’nai B’rith World Center in Jerusalem.
Since 2003, B’nai B’rith has provided a traditional summer camp experience for Israeli children whose families have been touched by terrorist attacks or wars in Israel through its Camp Passport program, which brought children to B’nai B’rith camps in the United States.
“B’nai B’rith International is committed to assisting Israeli children in need and is honored to partner with The Koby Mandell Foundation for this vital program,” B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick said. “We have been proud to bring 69 children to the United States over the last seven years for a camping experience, and now 100 children who will have this amazing experience at camp in Israel.”
The 2010 Camp Koby-B’nai B’rith program will be fun and exciting, where Gush Katif kids can escape the everyday pressures of life. Professional therapists will be employed in part of the program to guide children in expressing their emotions and anxieties through art, drama, music, and other forms of play in a safe, constructive, creative, and natural way.
Camp activities will include swimming, hiking, arts and crafts, drama, kayaking, carnivals, and more. Up to 100 children in first through eighth grades will participate as campers. American teenagers from Camp Nesher of the New Jersey Y Camps will volunteer as counselors. The camp is scheduled to take place July 25-August 3 on Kibbutz Ein Tzurim near Kiryat Gat.
“This is an incredible camp for kids who really need a break from their circumstances,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “I cannot think of a better way to honor Koby than through this camp filled with fun, friendship, and life.”
Rabbi Seth and Sherri Mandell established The Koby Mandell Foundation in 2001, several months after their 13-year-old son Koby was brutally murdered by Palestinian terrorists near their home in Israel. The Koby Mandell Foundation provides emotional support to people who have lost an immediate family member to war, terrorism, or tragedy in Israel, while also strengthening Jewish identity and pride among American Jews. Each program offers a unique combination of therapy and fun activities, in a supportive environment to help participants learn to cope with their grief, heal from their pain, and grow beyond previous limitations.
For more information about the summer 2010 Camp Koby-B’nai B’rith program or to assist with funding, contact Rhonda Love at email@example.com.
Media interested in tours of the camp should contact Alan Schneider, Director, B’nai B’rith World Center at +972-2-625-1743 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or The Koby Mandell Foundation Executive Director Reuven Angstreich at +972-2-648-3758 or e-mail at email@example.com.
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International has carefully followed the debate over recent proposals to amend the existing Israeli laws pertaining to conversion and citizenship.
Although B’nai B’rith completely supports Israel’s sovereign right and responsibility to determine its future on these critical issues, Israel’s leadership must recognize that these issues also directly impact Diaspora Jewry.
The Knesset adjourned for summer recess and will revisit the issue when it reconvenes on October 11.
We are hopeful that upon reconvening to debate the issues, the Knesset will be presented with a compromise proposal that will help preserve the Jewish character of the State of Israel while not alienating any religious community in Israel or in the Diaspora. While controversial, these decisions should be aimed at promoting the unity of the Jewish people and not divisiveness.
B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick and Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin wrote a letter to Fox News Channel’s Glenn Beck expressing “deep concern” in regards to a reference he made to Jews and the death of Jesus.
Here is the full text of the letter.Dear Mr. Beck:
On your July 13th program broadcast on the Fox News Channel, during a discussion of various forms of “liberation theology,” you said: “Jesus conquered death. He chose to give his life. Jesus didn’t come back from the dead and make the Jews pay for what they did. That would have been an abomination.”
We write to express our deep concern over what appears to be the casual, and potentially very misleading, way in which you referenced “the Jews,” with the suggestion that “they” carried out the killing of Jesus.
This was not only insensitive to your Jewish viewers – and an ostensible echo of the deicide charge that led to such unimaginable calamities among the Jewish people historically – but inconsistent with Christian teaching that Jews collectively must never be portrayed as responsible for the death of Jesus. This teaching, and the related reflection on the need to present religious scripture with great thought and care, has allowed the development of unprecedented reconciliation, in our day, between Christians and Jews.
In this spirit, we strongly urge you to clarify your aforementioned remark.
Dennis W. Glick Daniel S. Mariaschin
President Executive Vice President
B'nai B'rith Calls for Renewed Attention to AMIA Bombing 16 Years After Attack on Jewish Center
B’nai B’rith International is urging Congress to pass a bipartisan resolution that strongly condemns the July 18, 1994 attack on the Argentine-Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) building that killed 85 and wounded 300. The savage attack, on the heart of the largest Jewish community in Latin America, was carried out by the terror group Hezbollah, on orders from its patron Iran.
After years with no progress in the investigation, the last four year years have been promising. In 2006, an Argentine prosecutor detailed how top Iranian leaders including Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iran’s president at the time, ordered Hezbollah to kill Jews in Buenos Aires.
“In recent years, Argentina has demonstrated a renewed commitment to bringing the attackers to justice,” B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick said. “There is no statute of limitations on justice. Acts of terror must be answered with acts of law.”
B’nai B’rith supports H.Con.Res 295, which honors the terror victims and their families, and commends the Argentine government for continuing to investigate the bombing. The resolution also urges western governments to “draft, adopt, and implement legislation designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.” This includes banning fundraisers and recruitment activities and imposing penalties on Hezbollah supporters. The measure also calls on U.S. law enforcement to assist the Argentine government’s investigation.
“In the 16 years since the attack, Tehran has become an even greater threat to the world through its efforts to acquire nuclear weapons,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “This act of terror should have served as a clarion call to the global community. Investigators must now make up for lost time.”
With its deep ties throughout Latin America, B’nai B’rith has been urging a thorough investigation of the attack.
B’nai B’rith International Director of Legislative Affairs Eric Fusfield took part on the July 8 edition of NPR’s “The Michael Eric Dyson Show” to discuss the implications of President Obama’s July 6 meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House. Click here to visit the show’s website and listen to the program.
At a White House meeting between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the president acknowledged Israel’s “unique security requirements,” and noted that its security must come first in any discussions of Middle East peace.Obama and Netanyahu discussed Gaza, the West Bank, security, and Jerusalem. And there appeared to be some points of agreement going forward.
Iran was described by both leaders as posing a profound danger to peace in the region and the world. Obama and Netanyahu discussed U.N. sanctions against Iran as well as the bill the president recently signed into law ratcheting up U.S. sanctions against the Tehran regime. The president made clear that the international community must not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. The president said, “And so we intend to continue to put pressure on Iran to meet its international obligations and to cease the kinds of provocative behavior that has made it a threat to its neighbors and the international community.”
“This recognition by the United States of Israel’s security needs is a testament to the common understanding of the complexities of the Middle East situation,” B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick said.
“The discussion about Iran demonstrates the two countries are committed to ensuring Iran does not develop and use nuclear weapons,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “We also hope today’s meeting will serve as a precursor to the resumption of direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians.”
B’nai B’rith International looks forward to working with the Vatican’s newly appointed president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and its Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. Bishop Kurt Koch of Switzerland was officially appointed to the position that is the main conduit between the Catholic Church and the Jewish community.In a letter to Koch, B’nai B’rith President Dennis W. Glick and Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin noted that B’nai B’rith has “been especially committed to the development of genuine friendship between Christians and Jews. In particular, through both ongoing dialogue and practical cooperation at all levels, and with clergy as well as laity, we have maintained Catholic-Jewish engagement as a foremost imperative.”
Koch assumes the post being vacated by Walter Cardinal Kasper, who retired in June. B’nai B’rith enjoyed a positive working relationship with Kasper and credited the “bold introspection and positive, proactive outreach of Catholics” with the dramatic improvement of Catholic-Jewish relations in less than half a century.
“Notwithstanding all difficulties—and some do persist—the remarkable transformation of Catholic-Jewish relations, surpassing reconciliation, mutual regard and even close partnership,” has been historic, Glick and Mariaschin wrote.
The letter concluded by noting Koch has been serving the Catholic Church in Basel, Switzerland, where Theodor Herzl first articulated his vision for a Jewish homeland, and expressed the hope that the good will of the past would continue.