(Washington, D.C., Sept. 6, 2019)--A small group of B’nai B’rith International leaders met privately with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. In the meeting at U.N. Headquarters, which took place in advance of the arrival in New York of international leaders for the opening of the U.N. General Assembly session this month, the B'nai B'rith delegation thanked Guterres for his positive personal efforts while raising priority concerns regarding the world body and current global affairs, particularly in the Middle East.
Guterres, who had previously saluted B'nai B'rith on the occasion of its 175th anniversary, has denounced anti-Semitism, including as manifested by the delegitimization of Israel, and he has now launched initiatives against hate speech and the targeting of places of worship. He also recently met with the parents of Hadar Goldin, the Israeli soldier who was slain by Hamas and whose body has been held hostage for years by the terrorist organization that controls the Gaza Strip.
In the wake of new violence and threats by Hezbollah, the massively militarized proxy of Iran based in Lebanon, as well as Palestinian terrorists, B'nai B'rith reiterated the urgency of serious action by the international community to address these gravely dangerous realities. Guterres also heard B'nai B'rith's dismay over the ongoing weaponization of U.N. bodies as propaganda tools against Israel by Palestinians, who continue to reject direct dialogue with Israel and American-led peace efforts.
Additionally, B’nai B’rith urged the secretary-general to dedicate staff to combating the scourge of global anti-Semitism – and to pursue the long-overdue inclusion of Israelis at a management level within the U.N. secretariat.
At the conclusion of the meeting, B’nai B’rith’s delegation presented Guterres with a display of stamps commemorating Portugal's Jewish heritage and an international B'nai B'rith leadership meeting in the country this past summer. Guterres is a former prime minister of Portugal and his wife, Catarina Vaz Pinto, councillor of culture in the Portuguese capital and a past Portuguese state secretary of culture, addressed the B'nai B'rith conference.
Led by CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin, the B'nai B'rith delegation also included Millie Magid, B'nai B'rith chair of U.N. affairs; Stewart Cahn, of New York; Brian Kaufman, of New York; and David Michaels, director of U.N. and intercommunal affairs.
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