B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International is pleased to commend a statement issued by a recently established group, the Protestant Consultation on Israel and the Middle East.
The group, comprised of figures associated with diverse churches in Europe, North America and Africa, released a statement on Dec. 4 to express its support for pluralism in the Middle East, and its solidarity with Israel and all those who face persecution and violence in the region.
Too often, Israel has been unfairly demonized and delegitimized. B’nai B’rith is grateful to all those who recognize Israel for what it is—the only proven democracy in the Middle East.
We look forward to working with friends in the Christian community to encourage genuine fairness and constructiveness in considering both the challenges facing the Middle East and meaningful interfaith relations.
In the statement, the Protestant Consultation on Israel and the Middle East writes: “We see the modern State of Israel as a hopeful sign... Israel’s citizens are free to criticize failings of their government and there are mechanisms to correct those failings... [Israelis'] propensity for self-criticism is a legacy of the prophetic tradition that Jews and Christians share...
“We believe it is possible to pursue justice and peace in ways that attend to the rights and needs of all peoples of the region.”
The statement continues: “We are distressed to see how certain European and North American church officials approach the Israeli-Palestinian dispute as if it were a zero-sum game. They fall in line with the international campaign that purports to help the Palestinians by delegitimizing Israel... They target Israel alone for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS). This approach is unjust, and it is unhelpful to the cause of peace.
“We are committed to stand with Israel and the Jewish people, as we also stand with persecuted Christians and other minorities in the region.”
Download the full statement here.
B’nai B’rith Magazine Examines Jewish-Muslim Relations In America, Winter Issue Also Features B’nai B’rith Policy Conference Recap
Though relations between Jews and Muslims in America have at times been tense, there have been recent hopeful signs as the two groups seek to find common ground. In the winter 2012 issue of B’nai B’rith Magazine, writer Dina Kraft explains how Muslims and Jews are setting aside their differences and participating in interfaith programs at synagogues and mosques.
Readers will also find a recap of the 2012 B’nai B’rith policy conference held in Washington, D.C. B’nai B’rith members from all over the world attended the four-day conference that featured prominent speakers—including Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., professor Jonathan Sarna of Brandeis University and Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren—and a visit to Capitol Hill to advocate on behalf of vital B’nai B’rith issues such as the security of Israel and health care for seniors. Members also re-elected Allan J. Jacobs as president of the organization.
Elsewhere in the issue, Hillel Kuttler writes about a running club in the small Israeli city of Beit Shemesh that brings together secular and Modern Orthodox Jews in a common pursuit that transcends the religious divide.
Despite living in Israel for generations and integrating themselves into Israeli society, Indian-Israelis have retained much of their Indian culture and heritage, writes Robert Hirschfield. In recent years though, many have had the opportunity to travel back to the Asian subcontinent and re-immerse themselves in the culture of their ancestors, revitalizing their Indian identity.
All of these articles and more can be found in the winter 2012 issue of B’nai B’rith Magazine by clicking here.