(Washington, D.C., Sept. 14, 2020)--B’nai B’rith International President Charles O. Kaufman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:
Today B’nai B’rith International along with major Jewish organizations working with the EU institutions, launched a unified position on tackling anti-Semitism online, in response to the Digital Services Act consultation by the European Commission. Joining us as partner organizations are the American Jewish Committee Transatlantic Institute, B’nai B’rith Europe, CEJI - A Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe, the European Jewish Congress, the European Union of Jewish Students and the World Jewish Congress.
As the European Union looks to redefine its approach to digital governance under the motto A Europe fit for the Digital Age, maintaining a safe online space, free of hate and incitement must be a key priority – one that both our Washington, D.C. headquarters and our office of EU Affairs have been strong advocates for.
The unified position offers 10 recommendations for the future legislation to effectively tackle anti-Semitic content online and demand higher accountability from online platforms and service providers.
Among the demands formulated are the push for platforms to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism as part of community standards, data collection and analysis to better understand the spread of anti-Semitism online, platform transparency with regard to algorithms, support for civil society actors to be effective parts of the conversation and a call to disincentivize profit stemming from harmful content.
A 2018 Fundamental Rights Agency survey on Experiences and Perceptions of anti-Semitism among Jews in the EU found that 89% of respondents consider anti-Semitism expressed online as a problem and 80% of those experiencing anti-Semitic abuse have encountered it online. These worrying statistics have only been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has created an environment ripe with disinformation and conspiracies.
A revised EU digital framework must tackle head-on the role and responsibility of online platforms and must guarantee users’ safety.
See the full text of the common position here: deleteantisemitism.org .
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.
B’nai B’rith International is disappointed the European Parliament has passed a resolution that will allow European governments to label products made in the West Bank, a policy that will cause great economic and political harm to the Jewish state.
The resolution, which passed by a vote of 525-70, is an affirmation of the discriminatory goals of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Such a misguided policy is destructive to the peace process and gives momentum to opponents of Israel who seek to delegitimize the Jewish state by weakening its economy and isolating it politically.
We call on European governments to reject this biased and counterproductive resolution.
On Dec. 22, B’nai B’rith International sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to request a clear, public pledge of American opposition to Palestinian and other efforts to impose political demands on Israel through the United Nations. The Palestinian Authority has launched a new effort to deliver an ultimatum for Israeli compliance with its political objectives, this time at the U.N. Security Council. As B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs and Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin write to Kerry in the letter, this latest circumvention of negotiations with Israel is unacceptable and the United States must consistently push back against these efforts, employing its veto power in the Security Council when necessary, if peace is to be achieved.
Jacobs and Mariaschin write: “As you know, the Palestinian Authority has openly spoken of its strategy to ‘internationalize’ the conflict with Israel, and this further politicization of global institutions in the context of an already difficult regional reality is the last thing needed in the pursuit of calm, reconciliation and peace in the Middle East. Sadly, [last] week, a draft Security Council resolution was circulated that would unacceptably dictate demands of Israel outside the framework of direct negotiations and mutual compromise with the Palestinians. In the event that its inherent ultimatum is not met, the Palestinian Authority has even threatened to import tensions with Israel to the International Criminal Court, dangerously risking impediment to essential counterterrorism efforts. Reportedly, other actors in the international community have also considered advancing their own related proposals at the Security Council.
The UN – along, of course, with the U.S., the European Union and Russia – is a member of the Quartet on Middle East peace, which long ago established that Palestinian-Israeli disputes can be resolved only through serious, meaningful bilateral talks. As a critical element of foreign policy, and a reflection of broad-based bipartisan commitment, the U.S. has consistently stood against the exploitation of the UN as a political tool against our key ally, Israel. It is vitally in the American national interest, and in the interest of a genuine and lasting peace, that the U.S. make known publicly and unambiguously that it will oppose a Palestinian posture of unilateralism and confrontation in global bodies, let alone motions that fail to uphold Israel’s security needs and identity as a Jewish state.”
To read the full letter, click here.
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International is outraged the European Court of Justice ruled that the terrorist group Hamas must be removed from the European Union terror list. The court instructed Hamas to be removed on “procedural grounds,” saying in a statement that the European body did not place Hamas on the list after examining the organization’s leadership decisions and actions, but because of “factual imputations derived from the press and the internet.”
Even though this ruling has been declared a technical matter by the European External Action Service (EEAS), it will unacceptably open the door to the questioning of Hamas’ existence as a terrorist group. There should be no question that Hamas is an organization that’s mandate is terror and which has a repeatedly-stated commitment to the destruction of Israel. The court's conclusion that Hamas was placed on the terror list simply due to media reports is absurd.
B’nai B’rith urges all parties affected by this ruling to act quickly in relisting Hamas as a terrorist organization. The court continued a freeze on Hamas’ assets in Europe, as well as other restrictions placed on the terror group for a three-month span to allow for an appeal or other action by the EU. B’nai B’rith encourages the EEAS to proceed accordingly, and with urgency, in order to help move the European Court of Justice toward resolving this matter. If there is no expeditious effort to relist, it would be another blatant example of the hypocritical and deeply unconstructive manner in which Israel is often treated in the EU.