(Washington, D.C., April 28, 2021)—B’nai B’rith President Charles O. Kaufman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:
We listened to President Joe Biden’s address to a Joint Session of Congress tonight with an ear trained on some of our top organizational priorities.
We commend the president for calling for bipartisan consensus in favor of police reform, gun violence legislation, comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act. Meaningful progress in these areas however will result only from serious engagement between the two parties.
We support efforts to reduce gun violence in fighting crime in this country. B’nai B’rith has long advocated for sensible gun laws. We support increased background checks and limiting access to the deadliest weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, whose sole purpose is to kill many people as quickly as possible. We advocate for bipartisan legislative solutions to the problem of gun violence.
We are encouraged by the president’s focus on infrastructure and note that affordable housing is often included in this topic. As the largest national Jewish sponsor of low-income housing for older adults, we closely track the ongoing need to create more affordable housing. We hope that whatever infrastructure bill emerges includes provisions for expanding affordable housing.
Biden called for a combination of “diplomacy and stern deterrence” to curb Iran’s nuclear program. Deterrence must include the continuation of firm economic sanctions until Iran abandons its nuclear aspirations. But we are concerned that this formula may not be enough. We remain skeptical of Iran’s intentions.
Immigration has become one of the defining issues of the last few years. We commend the president for focusing on this issue during his address. We support returning the refugee cap to earlier levels. B’nai B’rith has long supported comprehensive immigration reform that combines enforcement with a path to citizenship. We urge lawmakers to focus on a bipartisan solution to the immigration issue.
B’nai B’rith will monitor progress on the initiatives announced tonight and continue to offer our expertise, analysis and guidance.
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.