B’nai B’rith Special Advisor on Latin American Affairs Meets Government and Jewish Community Leaders in Costa Rica
(Costa Rica, Oct. 21, 2021)--Adriana Camisar, B’nai B’rith International’s special advisor on Latin American and U.N. Affairs and deputy director of AJIRI-BBI (the American Jewish International Relations Institute, an affiliate of B’nai B’rith), recently met with Costa Rican government officials and leaders of the Jewish community to discuss issues of concern to B’nai B’rith and the Jewish community at large.
Camisar attended a reception at the residence of Israeli ambassador to Costa Rica Oren Bar-El, in honor of Isaac Assa, the founder of the Israel-Latin American Network (ILAN), an initiative aimed at strengthening ties between Israel and Latin American countries through Israeli innovation and entrepreneurship. The reception marked the beginning of ILAN’s work in Costa Rica, something B’nai B’rith fully supports.
In a meeting with First Lady Claudia Vanessa Dobles Camargo and Deputy Foreign Minister Christian Guillermet, Camisar discussed issues of mutual concern for the Costa Rican government and B’nai B’rith, including Costa Rica’s role at the United Nations.
Camisar also met with the president of the Inter-American Court on Human Rights, Justice Elizabeth Odio Benito, and discussed several issues of concern to B’nai B’rith, including the AMIA bombing case—the terrorist attack on the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina building in 1994 that killed 85 and wounded more than 300, which is currently under the consideration of the court.
Finally, Camisar met with leaders of the local Jewish community, including President of B’nai B’rith Costa Rica Joseph Gabriel and B’nai B’rith members Silvana Botbol Gabriel and Kiko Lang, to inform them about B’nai B’rith’s activities and to learn more about the wonderful work they do in Costa Rica.
Accompanying Camisar in the meetings were Monica Nagel, former minister of justice of Costa Rica and a longtime B’nai B’rith member; Tobias Schifter, member of the board of AJIRI-BBI and a native of Costa Rica; and Renee and Yosi Sofer, prominent members of the Panamanian Jewish community.
B'nai B'rith International Takes Part in High-level Malmö Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Anti-Semitism
(Washington, D.C., Oct. 15, 2021)--B'nai B’rith International is pleased to have taken part in the historic Malmö Remember-React International Forum, to promote Holocaust Remembrance and combat anti-Semitism.
Twenty years after the Stockholm Declaration that founded the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), the Forum brought together Heads of State and government representatives from nearly 50 countries, researchers, experts, civil society and social media companies.
Among participating dignitaries—virtually and in-person—were the Royal Court of Sweden, U.N. Secretary- General António Guterres; President of the State of Israel Isaac Herzog; French President Emmanuel Macron; Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; European Council President Charles Michel; European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen; and U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. Ahead of the Forum, delegations were encouraged to submit concrete pledges.
The event addressed themes such as fighting distortion and trivialization, expanding educational reach to new target groups, fighting anti-Semitism and hate speech online and implementing national and international strategies.
B’nai B’rith CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin participated virtually and conveyed B'nai B’rith's pledge: sponsorship of the None Shall Be Afraid program, which provides a way for individuals and local communities to foster tolerance and responsibility. President Charles O. Kaufman and Deputy Director of the B’nai B’rith International Center for Human Rights and Public Policy Eric Fusfield also took part virtually, along with EU Affairs Officer Caterina Cognini.
Director of EU Affairs Alina Bricman represented B'nai B'rith at the Forum in Malmö and met on the sidelines with key partners in the European Commission, the Council of Europe, the OSCE/ODIHR (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe/ Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights), and the IHRA.
We welcome important commitments made by states, international organizations and technology platforms, increased financial assistance for Holocaust museums and the protection of sites, support for civil society, the drafting and implementation of national action plans and adoption of the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism among others.
Herzog acknowledged accomplishments since the establishment of the IHRA, drew attention to the growing threat of anti-Semitism stemming from hatred and demonization of Israel, encouraged all states to adopt the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism and made an impassioned call on government representatives to take legislative action against the proliferation of hate online.
High Representative for the U.N. Alliance of Civilizations Miguel Moratinos announced the U.N. will develop an action plan on anti-Semitism, insisting that the body must eradicate anti-Semitism both externally and internally—within the U.N. itself—including in the U.N. Human Rights Council.
Blinken announced the allocation in the coming year of $1 million to counter hate speech online in the Middle East and North Africa and an additional $1 million allocated, together with the U.S. Congress to Central Europe, in support of efforts against denial and distortion of the Holocaust.
Michel and von der Leyen committed to the thorough implementation of the new EU Strategy on Combating anti-Semitism and Fostering Jewish Life, developed by Vice-President Margaritis Schinas and Coordinator Katharina von Schnurbein.
Trudeau announced that the role of Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combating anti-Semitism will be made permanent and supplemented by increased resources.
Macron stressed the need for collective action on an international level. He announced a new national strategy for combating anti-Semitism by the end of the year as well as an increase in budget for memorial institutions and noted national legislation against hate speech.
We are encouraged by these and other pledges by governments as well as companies.
We are grateful to Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven for convening this event. As the Forum concludes, we must work together to move the pledges into effect. Sweden will resume the IHRA chairmanship in March of 2022—an important moment to take stock of progress made.
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit www.bnaibrith.org.
B’nai B’rith International Welcomes EU Strategy on Combating Anti-Semitism and Fostering Jewish Life
(Washington, D.C., Oct. 5, 2021)--B’nai B’rith President Charles O. Kaufman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International welcomes the ambitious first-ever European Union Strategy on Combating Anti-Semitism and Fostering Jewish Life, for the 2021-2030 period.
On the heels of mounting concerns faced by Europe’s Jewish communities—from physical attacks to online harassment, hurdles placed on religious practice and dwindling knowledge about the Holocaust—the document is a comprehensive response to a multifaceted challenge and recognizes the invaluable contributions of Jewish Europeans to the continent’s fabric.
The strategy promotes the adoption by member states of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, the appointment of national coordinators and the preparedness of national equality bodies to address anti-Jewish hatred. Of critical importance is the recognition that anti-Semitism can “hide behind anti-Zionism” and that its manifestations can include Israel-related anti-Semitism.
We are pleased that the strategy puts due focus on external action, committing to promote the fight against anti-Semitism in the EU’s cooperation with partner countries outside the Union and to ensure no EU funds are misused for activities that promote hatred and incitement.
Especially relevant following the recent ruling by the Constitutional Court of Belgium to uphold a ban on kosher slaughter is the call on member states to put in place legal safeguards to enable Jewish communities to practice our traditions.
We are equally encouraged by stepped-up efforts to address anti-Semitism online, including strengthening cooperation with platforms to remove Nazi memorabilia, symbols and literature.
Finally, as we welcome this milestone document, we are grateful for the collaborative and consultative approach by the European Commission, and especially its coordinator for combating anti-Semitism and fostering Jewish life, Katharina von Schnurbein, as well as the will and commitment of European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Von der Leyen channeled this commitment to B’nai B’rith on International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2021, saying, “anti-Semitism strikes at the heart of our values: humanity, religious freedom, equality. Anti-Semitism is a poison for our society. It is up to all of us to fight it. To prevent it. And to eradicate it.” We are encouraged that these words are the opening, guiding motto of the strategy and we look forward to being continued partners in its implementation process.
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit bnaibrith.org.