Iran, Syria, Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks Among Issues Discussed
A B’nai B’rith International delegation met with presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers and other senior officials attending the opening of the 68th United Nations General Assembly session. International President Allan J. Jacobs, Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin and Chairman of the Executive Committee Gary P. Saltzman led the delegation of nearly 20 B’nai B’rith members, supporters and staff.
Among the various topics discussed throughout the week of meetings, B’nai B’rith raised the urgent challenge posed by Iran and its ongoing attempt to acquire nuclear weapons capability, the civil war in Syria, a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, and continued bias against Israel within agencies of the United Nations, not least its Human Rights Council (UNHRC). While B’nai B’rith leaders were meeting government officials in New York, a representative of the organization delivered a formal statement at the council in Geneva condemning the body for its unabated fixation on Israel, even as Arab civilians suffer grievously in Syria and other countries in the Middle East.
“B’nai B’rith’s meetings at the United Nations are always intensive and wide-ranging. They afford us the opportunity to speak with many world leaders on a number of important issues,” Jacobs said. “Iran is always a major topic of discussion. We were also able to get our message out on other issues, such as Syria, Israel’s mistreatment within the U.N. system and attempts to bring the Palestinians to the negotiation table.”
B’nai B’rith—which coordinated meetings on behalf of a broad coalition of international and American Jewish organizations—met with leaders of countries including Russia, France, India, Greece, Jordan, Spain, Hungary, Norway, Georgia, Paraguay, Italy, Palau, the Czech Republic, Azerbaijan and Honduras, among others.
“B’nai B’rith has been active at the United Nations since its founding. Our longstanding record of involvement at the world body is a vital component of our ability to hold high-level meetings with a wide range of delegations,” Mariaschin said. “We welcome the opportunity to meet with so many key countries and to be able to express our policy positions on a multitude of vital issues.”
B’nai B’rith included one of its largest-ever groups of young leaders in an array of high-level meetings. This new generation of involved Jews is dedicated to the goals and mission of B’nai B’rith, including a strong commitment to communal advocacy.
Joining Jacobs, Saltzman and Mariaschin in the delegation were: Seymour Reich, honorary president; Ira Bartfield, senior vice president; Charles Kaufman, senior vice president; Board of Governors Members Steven Horowitz, Mike Gellman, Jacob Reckess and Dan Tartakovski; Andy Borans, board of governors member and executive director of Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity; Eric Sumberg, chair of B’nai B’rith’s New York Young Leadership Network; Brian Kaufman, B’nai B’rith Young Leadership Network; Jonathan Kamel, Alpha Epsilon Pi civic leadership chairman at Northwestern University; Aaron Leiner, Alpha Epsilon Pi Jewish identity chair at the University of Texas at Austin; Aaron Baskin, Alpha Epsilon Pi director of civic engagement; Eduardo Kohn, B’nai B’rith International director of Latin American Affairs; and Sienna Girgenti, assistant director of the B’nai B’rith International Center for Human Rights and Public Policy. The meetings were coordinated and attended by David Michaels, director of U.N. and Intercommunal Affairs, and Program Officer for U.N. Affairs Oren Drori.