B’nai B’rith International Appreciates Monaco Prince’s Official Admission of Government’s Nazi Collaboration, Asking for Forgiveness
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International appreciates Monaco’s Prince Albert II’s appeal for forgiveness for his government’s role in the rounding up and deportation of at least 66 Jews during the Holocaust.
On the night of August 27, 1942, the government of Monaco surrendered to the demands of the Nazi puppet regime in France, the Vichy government, and allowed its police to raid Jewish homes.
Last week, on Aug. 27, Albert apologized before members of the Jewish community and unveiled a monument engraved with the names of those Monegasque Jews who perished in the Holocaust. Out of the 66 who were deported, only 9 survived.
B’nai B’rith welcomes the prince’s first official acknowledgement of Monegasque complicity in the Holocaust. The damage done by his government is certainly irreparable, but admission of the crime is necessary if true introspection and healing are to be had.
B’nai B’rith Opposes Palestinian Push To Have Flag Flown Outside U.N.; Privilege Reserved For Member States
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International opposes the Palestinian Authority’s campaign to have its flag flown outside of United Nations headquarters with the flags of U.N. member states. The Palestinians secured status as a U.N. non-member observer “state” in 2012, but are not actual members of the world body.
This push comes as the Palestinian mission to the U.N. reportedly plans to submit a resolution calling for the flying of all “observer state” flags. An early draft of the resolution named both the Palestinians and the Vatican as non-member observer states that should have their flags flown. The draft resolution was apparently circulated without the Vatican’s authorization and the Holy See has asked the Palestinians to remove any mention of the Vatican from the draft.
The flags outside the United Nations represent U.N. member states and the Palestinian territories do not as of yet comprise a state, owing to the Palestinians’ consistent refusal to reach a meaningful, negotiated two-state solution that includes recognition of the Jewish state.
It would furthermore be inappropriate to fly the Palestinian flag as part of the Palestinian territories are illicitly ruled by the terrorist group Hamas, which is openly committed to the destruction of an existing U.N. member state, Israel.
The Palestinians cannot be the only one of the world’s countless communities with nationalist aspirations to be unilaterally and superficially afforded the trappings of sovereignty. The United Nations has long joined in insisting that the Palestinian conflict with Israel be settled exclusively through direct talks and agreement with Israel. Unrequited political concessions to the Palestinians only further remove any incentive for Palestinian leaders to finally enable their constituents to live alongside Israelis in peace.
B’nai B’rith to Honor Boston Red Sox and President/CEO Larry Lucchino with Community Achievement Award
B’nai B’rith International has selected the Boston Red Sox and club President/CEO Larry Lucchino to receive its Community Achievement Award, which recognizes the positive impact of key corporate leaders in their respective communities.
The award ceremony will take place on Nov. 17, 2015, at historic Fenway Park in Boston.
“The Boston Red Sox ownership group led by John Henry, Tom Werner, Larry Lucchino, and their partners are known around baseball for winning championships and their successes off the field, positively impacting the greater Boston area. The Boston Red Sox and Lucchino are most deserving recipients of the Community Achievement Award,” B’nai B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said.
Lucchino was instrumental in pulling together the ownership group that joined John Henry and Tom Werner in their successful effort to purchase the Red Sox in December 2001. Among all the potential suitors for the team, Henry, Werner, Lucchino, and their partners were the only ones committed to saving and improving Fenway Park.
Together, they oversaw a decade-long project of major improvements that have enhanced the fan experience while respecting the integrity of the park and its surrounding neighborhood.
Lucchino has been President/CEO of the Red Sox since February 2002, managing the franchise on a day-to-day basis with the active involvement of, and in collaboration with, Henry and Werner. Lucchino is a 36-year veteran of Major League Baseball and previously occupied the same roles for the San Diego Padres from 1995 to 2001, and the Baltimore Orioles from 1988 to 1993.
In addition to running championship franchises and setting attendance records, Lucchino has earned a legacy for creating ballparks that have transformed downtown areas and impacted the greater civic community. His vision for Oriole Park at Camden Yards—a traditional, old-fashioned, asymmetrical ballpark with modern amenities—ushered in an era of revolutionary ballpark architecture, while his leadership in building Petco Park saved baseball in San Diego and revitalized an under-utilized 26-block area in the city.
During their time with the Red Sox, the ownership group has established the Red Sox Foundation and distributed more than $77 million.
Embedded in the fabric of New England’s philanthropic community, the foundation emphasizes five cornerstone programs: the organization’s 62-year relationship with the Jimmy Fund in the fight against pediatric cancer; the Red Sox Scholars program, which gives college scholarships to academically-talented but economically-disadvantaged middle school students from Boston; RBI Youth Baseball and Softball programs; the Home Base Program, which treats veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who are facing post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries; and the team’s ongoing relationship with the Dimock Community Center, a leader in opioid treatment and provider of comprehensive health care, shelter, and security.
In November of 2010, the Red Sox Foundation received Major League Baseball’s first-ever Commissioner’s Award for Philanthropic Excellence.
Since arriving in Boston, Lucchino, a two-time cancer survivor, has been a board member and co-chair of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute’s $1 billion “Mission Possible” Capital Campaign. He has also served on the board of Special Olympics International.
“As a baseball fan, it’s easy to see how ingrained teams are within their communities. The camaraderie that baseball builds within a fan base is one of the best parts of the game,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “B’nai B’rith is honored to bestow the Community Achievement Award on Boston Red Sox. It’s amazing to find a franchise that is so hands on, so passionate about building up the neighborhood and cities that surrounds this team. The team of Henry, Werner, Lucchino, and their partners are one of those extraordinary teams of executives, and I congratulate them and the entire team on this award.”
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International is disappointed by Israeli-born actress Natalie Portman’s questioning of Holocaust education’s emphasis within a Jewish education, especially in comparison to other genocides.
In a recent interview with Britain’s The Independent, Portman said she was shocked to learn there was genocide occurring in Rwanda while she was in school, yet, only the Holocaust was taught inside the classroom.
An emphasis on the Holocaust in a Jewish education is extremely important as it is tied to our identity as a people. Furthermore, the memory of the Shoah must continue to be perpetuated, especially as the number of survivors continues to diminish. The focus does not come at the expense of learning about other tragedies, such as those in Rwanda and Bosnia. The Holocaust is a necessary cornerstone in Jewish education because of its unique nature, and the universal message that untrammeled evil can lead to immense tragedies.
B’nai B’rith agrees with Portman’s sentiments that we must not be silent or turn a blind eye to contemporary genocides, and that we should empathize with others facing hatred and violence. However, questioning the prominence of Holocaust education within a Jewish education is not the way to increase overall awareness of these heinous crimes.
B’nai B’rith International was honored to receive a grant from Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) for $100,000, to be used for disaster relief efforts.
The first installment of the grant, which will be paid out over five years, was bestowed at a special luncheon during the fraternity’s 102nd annual conference, held this year in Cleveland, with some 500 AEPi brothers and alumni in attendance.
“We extend our deep appreciation to our partner AEPi for this generous grant, which will allow us to continue to support communities reeling from disasters around the world. This is a very generous award toward our humanitarian aid efforts around the globe,” B’nai B’rith International President—and honorary AEPi brother—Allan J. Jacobs said.
B’nai B’rith was one of 10 organizations selected during the Jewish fraternity's annual international convention in 2014 to receive part of its new $1 million philanthropy initiative.
“Alpha Epsilon Pi is so proud of the brothers and chapter's fundraising efforts that helped us exceed the fraternity's goal of $200,000 a year over five years for 10 beneficiaries. This is the first year of a $ 1,000,000 pledge dedicated to give back to Jewish organizations around the world," AEPi Executive Director Andy S. Borans said.
“We are thrilled to be included in the philanthropy group receiving funds from AEPi for the B’nai B’rith Disaster Relief Fund,” B’nai B’rith Chairman of the Executive Board of Directors Gary Saltzman, an honorary AEPi brother, said. “These funds allow us to continue the important work we do in our disaster relief efforts. As partners with AEPi, the members help provide necessary local volunteer support to assist communities in need.”
“Our partnership with AEPi continues to be strong and reliable,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin, also an AEPi brother, said. “AEPi brothers have put in countless, back-breaking hours, volunteering their time and muscle to clean up and rebuild communities that B’nai B’rith has worked in for disaster relief. It is always impressive to see the enthusiasm these young men exhibit in all the projects they tackle.”
The B’nai B’rith-AEPi partnership also extends to Holocaust awareness, where the two groups unite for Unto Every Person There is a Name and We Walk to Remember. With the help of these programs, victims of the Holocaust will never be forgotten.
B’nai B’rith Deeply Disappointed by U.S. Government’s Petitioning on Behalf of PA, Urging Decrease in Financial Awards to Terror Victims
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International is deeply disappointed by the U.S. government’s intervention on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA) as it petitions a New York federal court that ruled the PA and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) liable for terrorist attacks that killed 33 Americans and injured more than 450 during the Second Intifada.
The administration filed a “statement of interest” expressing its concerns of a PA financial collapse should the Palestinian government be forced to pay out $665.5 million in damages to 10 American families.
The historic ruling was announced in February when the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York jury sided with the plaintiffs, awarding them $218.5 million in damages, a figure that triples to $655.5 million under the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act. It was the first case successfully prosecuted under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
There needs to be a price paid for committing acts of terror and the means available to prosecute those responsible. While the victims’ families cannot bring their loved ones back, they can go to the courts to achieve redress. That is the process that led to the court’s ruling.
If the Palestinian leadership, and those who plan and give the orders to carry out terrorist acts, know they can escape any punishment in the United States, what barrier would there be to additional attacks against American citizens?
The judgment of the court should stand.
After careful study, B’nai B’rith International has concluded that the Iran nuclear agreement is unlikely to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. We therefore call on Congress to reject the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
As we noted when the deal was announced on July 14, it is impossible to look at Iran’s track record and trust the regime to adhere to the terms of this pact.
The JCPOA requires an unprecedented suspension of disbelief that Iran has only peaceful intentions for its nuclear program. Given its decades of dissembling, it is infeasible to conclude that Tehran will honor its obligations under this agreement.
To be sure, the P5+1 (the United States plus China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and Germany) worked hard during the long negotiating period to secure a deal. The goal of preventing an Iran with nuclear weapons is one shared by much of the world. But this deal is unlikely to fulfill that ambition.
B’nai B’rith appreciates the opportunities given us to meet with administration officials, to hear their explanation of the plan's details and to understand the reasoning behind some of the provisions of the agreement.
How to respond to Iran's nuclear weapons program is one of the most significant national security questions to face the United States in the past decade. It is unsurprising, therefore, that the issue has aroused such passion among so many. We respect that both Democrats and Republicans have approached this issue with great seriousness and have reached varying conclusions that sometimes cut across party lines. We further acknowledge that those who share the goal of blocking Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons may differ about the policy most likely to achieve that outcome.
Still, our reading of the agreement and our understanding of the political and historical context in which the JCPOA would be implemented have heavily influenced our decision to oppose it.
“We listened, we read, we analyzed and we have concluded that we cannot support this deal with Iran,” B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said. “We have doubts about elevating the international status of Iran, which has done nothing to prove it will keep its word.”
Even in the days leading up to the agreement, on “al-Quds Day,” government supported crowds shouted, “death to America” and "death to Israel," as U.S. and Israeli flags were burned across the country. These are not the actions of a nation ready to find common ground with the world’s democracies.
Our concerns about the lifting of sanctions also have not been adequately resolved. Iran is the largest state-sponsor of global terror with its proxies such as Hezbollah the world over. Tehran is likely to use the cash that will flow from the absence of sanctions to fund the regime's ongoing terrorist ambitions. The specter of "snapback sanctions" provides little comfort, as measures that took the international community years to coalesce around are unlikely to be rejuvenated once they have been dismantled.
Nor are our questions about the verification process satisfied by the JCPOA. Verification remained a sticking point throughout the labored negotiating process and, in the final document, is still not addressed to our comfort. In light of the deal's significant verification loopholes and Iran’s history of concealing its nuclear program and turning away inspectors, it is logical to conclude that inspectors will never obtain the unmanaged, unfettered or spontaneous access necessary to monitor Iran’s nuclear sites.
“There is no middle ground here. Iran’s credibility is illusory. The stakes are far too high to ignore Tehran’s history of deception by accepting this deal,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said.
At no point during the nearly two years of negotiations has Iran lessened its support for terrorist organizations, its goals of hegemony in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East or its continued abuse of human rights.
Just days after the deal was announced, Iran again invoked its practice of deception. News reports indicate that Qassem Soleimani, the leader of the secretive, terror-orchestrating Iranian Quds Force, met with senior Russian leaders in Moscow, even though he was barred from leaving Iran by a U.N. Security Council resolution. The Quds Force reports directly to Iran’s supreme leader and has exported terror throughout the Middle East and beyond.
These are not the actions of a regime capable of demonstrating the transparency and cooperation required of it by the terms of this deal.
We firmly reject the notion that the only alternative to this agreement is war. We have long advocated that the best means of ensuring Iran's compliance with international demands is pressure—in the form of ever-tightening sanctions, combined with diplomatic isolation and the credible threat of military force. The international community should respond to Iran's continued pursuit of nuclear weapons by increasing, rather than relieving, pressure on the regime until it has produced meaningful results.
B’nai B’rith International urges Congress to vote next month to disapprove of the agreement.
The 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act has arrived, but those rights President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law in 1965 are threatened.
Unfettered access to vote is one of the most basic and cherished freedoms in America. Ensuring free and fair access to the voting booth for all Americans is a vital component of our democracy. We need voting rights reform to guarantee full access to the ballot box.
In 2013, B’nai B’rith spoke out against the 5-4 Supreme Court ruling Shelby County v. Holder, which eliminated the requirement that nine states and numerous counties must seek federal approval before changing their election laws.
At the time, we expressed deep concern that the ruling could pave the way for state and local efforts to suppress voting by minorities. We noted then that it was time for Congress to act again to extend the requirement that these states and localities get pre-approval to change their voting laws.
In June Congress began to push ahead on a bill that would restore provisions of the Voting Rights Act, which was passed 50 years ago and has been weakened by several federal court decisions over the years.
The Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 would enact new voting protections and expanded federal oversight of voting rules, updating key protections against voting rights discrimination to respond to current challenges.
The 50th anniversary of the original Voting Rights Act presents a historic opportunity to honor the advances won by the civil rights movement a half century ago by passing legislation in our own time that ensures the hard-fought gains they achieved will not continue to erode.
B’nai B’rith urges both parties and both chambers to work together to pass a measure restoring voting protections for all Americans.