(Washington, D.C., April 15, 2021)--B’nai B’rith leaders on multiple continents have concluded weeks of virtual meetings with United Nations ambassadors in which they advocated for equal and just treatment of Israel by the world body.
Meetings with dozens of senior diplomats from around the world were held during the main yearly session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and the current Executive Board session of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which continues through April 21.
The B’nai B’rith representatives met with delegates from Argentina, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, Senegal, Togo, the United Kingdom and Uruguay, among numerous other countries. We appreciate all those countries that continue to afford exceptional access to B’nai B’rith for constructive and candid discussions of geopolitical affairs, human rights and the core values and policy priorities of the Jewish community.
B’nai B’rith—which pioneered Jewish engagement with the U.N. upon the body’s very founding in 1945, and which remains the only major Jewish organization with a dedicated Office of United Nations Affairs and representation at key U.N. forums worldwide—brings international Jewish activists to Geneva and Paris each year for vital advocacy. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization has renewed its dynamic outreach using modern technology.
In their meetings, the B’nai B’rith leaders urged ambassadors, during the era of the Abraham Accords and normalization treaties between Israel and an increasing number of countries, to promote peace and coexistence by rejecting rote bias against Israel in U.N. settings. The ambassadors were urged to help expand the widening circle of partnership between the Jewish state and its Arab neighbors.
At UNESCO, diplomats were particularly encouraged to continue recent progress in eschewing politicization of the body. At the UNHRC, beyond private bilateral meetings, B’nai B’rith delivered formal public interventions—defending Israel’s record of distributing COVID-19 vaccines, opposing the misuse of the International Criminal Court to stigmatize Israeli counterterrorism efforts, speaking out against both racism and anti-Semitism and raising awareness of the tainted legacy of a 2001 U.N. conference in Durban, South Africa.
That event, the World Conference against Racism, itself notoriously became a scene of anti-Semitic outrages, with an outcome document singling out Israel alone for implied characterization as racist. B’nai B’rith mobilized the largest multinational Jewish delegation at the original Durban conference, as at the 2009 Durban Review Conference, and it will remain in the forefront of combating anti-Zionism when the U.N. plans to commemorate Durban’s 20th anniversary later this year.
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.