B’nai B’rith Plays Key Role in Bipartisan Congressional Action
B’nai B’rith International played a pivotal role in a bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would recognize the nearly 1 million Jews displaced from their homes in Arab nations due to the Middle East conflict.
Under the bill, the president and other government officials would be urged to note Jewish refugees each time a reference to Palestinian refugees is made at international events.
This new bill takes a 2008 House resolution on the matter a step further, requiring the president to report on how the original resolution is being implemented. The State Department would be required to issue a report every two years explaining what the administration has done to advance the issue and offering recommendations for future action.
The plight of Jewish refugees is often overlooked. Jews living in Arab countries have had their human rights violated, their property and businesses confiscated and have been displaced from their homes. By most estimates, fewer than 5,000 Jews remain in Arab countries.
Not one of the more than 100 United Nations resolutions that refer to Palestinian refugees mentions Jewish refugees.
“We want to ensure that the United States makes the rights of Jewish refugees from Arab nations a priority in multilateral discussions about the Middle East conflict. Any time refugee issues are discussed in the context of the peace negotiations, the rights of Jewish refugees need to be given their proper place,” B’nai B’rith International Director of Legislative Affairs Eric Fusfield said.
B’nai B’rith wishes to thank the sponsor of the legislation, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), and the co-sponsors: Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, (R-Fla.) and Rep. Bob Turner (D-N.Y.).
B’nai B’rith International, in cooperation with the umbrella group Justice for Jews from Arab Countries, will continue to work with lawmakers to move this legislation through Congress.
B'nai B'rith Calls for Reinstatement of Assault Weapons Ban
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International calls for the renewal of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban.
Congress passed a 10-year ban on assault weapons in 1994. It was not renewed when it expired on Sept. 13, 2004. When the ban was on the brink of expiring, 1,100 police chiefs and sheriffs nationwide urged it be renewed and even strengthened.
We now encourage Congress to quickly enact a ban on assault weapons.
Assault weapons automatically expel and load ammunition with each pull of the trigger, enabling the shooter to fire multiple rounds without stopping to reload. The ability to fire large amounts of ammunition quickly should be limited to a military environment.
For nearly 40 years B'nai B'rith has supported effective national gun control legislation, passing resolutions favoring firearms control policies.
Mass shootings such as the July 20 movie theater attack in Aurora, Colo., remind us of the massive lethal force of these types of weapons. The gunman, armed with assault weapons, opened fire in a crowded movie theater, killing at least 12 and wounding at least 38. He had reportedly purchased 6,000 rounds of ammunition in the months leading up to his rampage.
B’nai B’rith International decries the naming of an elementary school in Gaza—reported to have been built by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)—after notorious terrorist Adnan al-Ghoul, one of Hamas’ senior operatives.
On July 8, at the official opening ceremony of the school, Hamas leader Ismail Haniya praised al-Ghoul for having been a top-ranking jihadist who specialized in the preparation of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and for developing the Qassam rocket system for Hamas.
“Hamas’ and other Palestinian groups’ practice of glorifying terrorists teaches the next generation that these are role models whose paths they should follow,” said B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs. “The Palestinian practice of naming institutions after terrorists is intolerably common and irresponsible, and it should be stopped.”
Al-Ghoul was behind bombings in Israel in the 1990s that killed more than 30 Israelis.
“Once again, a division of the U.N.—in this case an agency meant to help poor and developing countries—has found itself complicit with those seeking not peace, but never-ending atrocities,” said B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin. “If the UNDP truly wants to assist in local development, it should forcefully deplore and disassociate from terrorists bent on destroying the State of Israel.”
Notes Increased Participation of Israel in the European Union
At the latest in the B’nai B’rith International Diplomatic Encounter Series, Ambassador of Cyprus to the United States Pavlos Anastasiades said that the European Union is on target to upgrade Israel’s status in more than 60 areas of trade and diplomacy including migration, energy and agriculture. This package will expand Israel’s relations with the European Union.
Cyprus recently ascended to the rotating six-month presidency of the European Union. It is the first time Cyprus, an E.U. member since 2004, is assuming this role.
The ambassador also said “relations have gone from strength to strength” between Cyprus and Israel. Anastasiades noted centuries of agreeable relations between Cyprus and the Jewish people and spoke of maintaining and refreshing that relationship.
In his introduction of the ambassador, B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin noted that interactions between Israel and Cyprus flourish in many spheres, including commerce and tourism. Mariaschin welcomed Cyprus to a “historic E.U. presidency” that looked forward to growing cooperation between the governments of Cyprus and Israel.
Anastasiades said the motto of Cyprus’ presidency would be “a better Europe,” and that during its term, Cyprus would work to “bequeath a better Europe to the younger generation.”
Since 2002, the Washington Diplomatic Encounter Series has brought together diplomats, think tank experts and professionals from across the Washington spectrum to talk about domestic and international issues of the day.
Continues to Urge IOC to Designate Official Minute of Silence at Opening Ceremonies
B’nai B’rith International supports the World Zionist Organization’s “1 Minute for Munich” campaign calling on people “to stand in silence with us, and pay personal tribute to those who lost their lives in the 1972 Munich Massacre.” This minute of silence is scheduled for July 27—the day of the opening ceremonies—at 6:00 a.m. ET.
At the 1972 Summer Olympics, terrorists entered the Olympic village and captured 11 Israeli athletes, coaches and referees, who they later killed.
B’nai B’rith International has spoken out against the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decision not to hold an official minute of silence at the opening of the 2012 Olympic Games. B’nai B’rith has signed an online petition sponsored by Ankie Spitzer, the widow of one of the slain athletes, to encourage the IOC to hold the minute of silence and praises countries such as the United States, England, Australia, Belgium and Germany for supporting these efforts.
B’nai B’rith also has called on all global television networks with broadcast rights to the games to hold their own moments of silence.
The Washington Post has also called on the IOC to have a formal minute of silence. Click here to read the editorial.
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
We offer the people of Aurora, Colo., our condolences and support as they mourn the loss of family, friends and neighbors in the horrific movie theater shooting on July 20.
The gunman, armed with a rifle and other firearms, opened fire in a crowded movie theater, killing at least 12 and leaving 38 wounded.
We hope the shocking magnitude of this violence will serve to remind people of the need for civility and the necessity for communities to address the underlying causes of violence that is becoming more and more common in our society. For nearly 40 years B'nai B'rith has supported effective national gun control legislation.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families and we wish a full recovery to the injured.
B’nai B’rith International laments the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decision not to hold an official minute of silence at the opening of the 2012 Olympic Games to remember the 11 Israeli athletes, coaches and referees murdered at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich.
According to a report in the European Jewish Press, Ankie Spitzer, widow of one of the slain athletes, said that the president of the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games acknowledged that the 46 Arab and Muslim members of the IOC were responsible for rejecting Spitzer’s proposed “One Minute of Silence” campaign.
B’nai B’rith also calls on all networks with broadcast rights to the games to hold their own moments of silence.
“All these families want is recognition for the tragic deaths, but for 40 years they have been turned down,” said B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs. “This is unacceptable and discriminatory; it is the antithesis of the Olympic spirit.”
B’nai B’rith has signed Spitzer’s online petition—which currently has nearly 97,000 signatures—to encourage the IOC to hold the minute of silence and praises countries such as the United States, England, Australia, Belgium and Germany for supporting these efforts.
“Ignoring continued efforts to hold a memorial minute of silence of the 40th anniversary of this massacre sends a signal that Israel is not worthy of international recognition for its losses,” said B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin. “This is intolerable, and we hope the IOC will reverse its misguided and offensive decision.”
Click here to see the petition.
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International condemns in the strongest terms possible the July 18 terrorist attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria. Early reports indicate at least five Israelis have been killed and almost 30 people have been rushed to the hospital, some in critical condition. The situation is still unfolding.
The bombing occurred on a tour bus near the Sarafovo Airport in Burgas, a Bulgarian city on the Black Sea. While it is unclear who the perpetrators are, Israeli leaders are suggesting Iran and Hezbollah may be behind the attacks.
B’nai B’rith urges Bulgarian and international agencies to work together to determine who was responsible for this attack that targeted Israelis.
The attack occurred on the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the Argentine-Israelite Mutual Association Jewish center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and wounded 300.
This attack on Israelis, coming on the AMIA anniversary, is a chilling reminder that anti-Israel sentiment is alive and well worldwide. Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.
After 18 Years, Justice Still Not Served as B'nai B'rith Remembers Bomb Attack on Argentina's Jewish Community
B’nai B’rith International marks the 18th anniversary of the bomb attack on the Argentine-Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) building and notes justice has still not been served.
The July 18, 1994 terror attack on the heart of the Argentinean Jewish community killed 85 and wounded 300.
Iran’s ties to the attack are well known. In 2006, Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nissman detailed how top Iranian leaders including Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iran’s president at the time, and Ahmad Vahidi, today’s minister of defense, ordered Hezbollah to kill Jews in Buenos Aires. This makes the embrace of Tehran by some of Argentina’s neighbors, such as Venezuela, all the more troubling.
Interpol has requested that Iran turn over the officials responsible for the worst terrorist attack ever in Latin America.
Over the last five years at the United Nations General Assembly, Argentina has repeatedly requested that Iran cooperate with Interpol. The Iranians have not only rejected such overtures, but they have blamed the Jewish community and the State of Israel for supposedly inciting the Argentinean claims.
“The attack on AMIA should serve as a reminder of the danger of Iran’s increasing infiltration of Latin America,” B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said. “Though almost two decades have passed since this devastating and tragic attack, it is never too late for Latin American countries to support Argentina’s claims and demand that the terrorists are brought to justice.”
“It is long overdue not only for Iran—a country that abuses human rights, denies the Holocaust and seeks to destroy Israel—to cooperate with Interpol, but for the U.N. Human Rights Council to condemn the ongoing violations of human rights in Iran and demand that those perpetrators of the AMIA bombing be brought to justice for their crimes,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said.
For 18 years, B’nai B’rith, with its deep ties throughout Latin America, has called for those responsible for this attack to be brought to justice. B’nai B’rith Latin America chair Denis Herrnstadt, B’nai B’rith Argentina President Mario Wilhelm and B’nai B’rith Director of Latin American Affairs Eduardo Kohn will attend the main commemoration event in Buenos Aires on July 18.