(Washington, D.C., Sept. 18, 2020)—B’nai B’rith International President Charles O. Kaufman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:
We are deeply saddened by the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the first Jewish woman and only the second woman to serve on the nation’s highest court. The announcement of her death as the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, began, seems especially poignant.
She was a giant of the Supreme Court, a champion to many women and others as a strong, progressive voice on the court with a trailblazing judicial presence. She was courageous in her many battles against cancer.
Ginsburg spoke at a B'nai B'rith International convention about "Jewish Justices on the Supreme Court."
Her unique and esteemed, groundbreaking career was often informed and influenced by her Judaism.
JTA notes: “She was also frank about the importance of Jewish tradition in influencing her life and career, hanging the Hebrew injunction to pursue justice on the walls of her Supreme Court chambers.”
With a strong sense of fairness, a respect for knowledge and education and an incredible work ethic, Ginsburg was an inspiration to us.
May her memory be a blessing.
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith is outraged by the torching of Joseph’s Tomb, a holy site in the ancient city of Shechem in the West Bank, by Palestinian rioters. As of yet, no injuries or deaths have been reported.
While Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces managed to disperse the crowds and douse the fire, significant damage has been reported in the women’s section of the site. The arson came shortly after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the Palestinian leadership to stop a wave of attacks on Jews. After a week of silence, PA President Mahmoud Abbas finally issued a statement condemning the group’s actions and announcing plans to create an investigatory committee.
While vicious attacks have left seven dead and more than 30 wounded—Abbas issued no condemnation while other PA officials have been busy inciting this kind of violence. B’nai B’rith is appalled that the PA ignored multiple violent deaths before finally denouncing this act of wanton arson.
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.
After careful study, B’nai B’rith International has concluded that the Iran nuclear agreement is unlikely to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. We therefore call on Congress to reject the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
As we noted when the deal was announced on July 14, it is impossible to look at Iran’s track record and trust the regime to adhere to the terms of this pact.
The JCPOA requires an unprecedented suspension of disbelief that Iran has only peaceful intentions for its nuclear program. Given its decades of dissembling, it is infeasible to conclude that Tehran will honor its obligations under this agreement.
To be sure, the P5+1 (the United States plus China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and Germany) worked hard during the long negotiating period to secure a deal. The goal of preventing an Iran with nuclear weapons is one shared by much of the world. But this deal is unlikely to fulfill that ambition.
B’nai B’rith appreciates the opportunities given us to meet with administration officials, to hear their explanation of the plan's details and to understand the reasoning behind some of the provisions of the agreement.
How to respond to Iran's nuclear weapons program is one of the most significant national security questions to face the United States in the past decade. It is unsurprising, therefore, that the issue has aroused such passion among so many. We respect that both Democrats and Republicans have approached this issue with great seriousness and have reached varying conclusions that sometimes cut across party lines. We further acknowledge that those who share the goal of blocking Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons may differ about the policy most likely to achieve that outcome.
Still, our reading of the agreement and our understanding of the political and historical context in which the JCPOA would be implemented have heavily influenced our decision to oppose it.
“We listened, we read, we analyzed and we have concluded that we cannot support this deal with Iran,” B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said. “We have doubts about elevating the international status of Iran, which has done nothing to prove it will keep its word.”
Even in the days leading up to the agreement, on “al-Quds Day,” government supported crowds shouted, “death to America” and "death to Israel," as U.S. and Israeli flags were burned across the country. These are not the actions of a nation ready to find common ground with the world’s democracies.
Our concerns about the lifting of sanctions also have not been adequately resolved. Iran is the largest state-sponsor of global terror with its proxies such as Hezbollah the world over. Tehran is likely to use the cash that will flow from the absence of sanctions to fund the regime's ongoing terrorist ambitions. The specter of "snapback sanctions" provides little comfort, as measures that took the international community years to coalesce around are unlikely to be rejuvenated once they have been dismantled.
Nor are our questions about the verification process satisfied by the JCPOA. Verification remained a sticking point throughout the labored negotiating process and, in the final document, is still not addressed to our comfort. In light of the deal's significant verification loopholes and Iran’s history of concealing its nuclear program and turning away inspectors, it is logical to conclude that inspectors will never obtain the unmanaged, unfettered or spontaneous access necessary to monitor Iran’s nuclear sites.
“There is no middle ground here. Iran’s credibility is illusory. The stakes are far too high to ignore Tehran’s history of deception by accepting this deal,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said.
At no point during the nearly two years of negotiations has Iran lessened its support for terrorist organizations, its goals of hegemony in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East or its continued abuse of human rights.
Just days after the deal was announced, Iran again invoked its practice of deception. News reports indicate that Qassem Soleimani, the leader of the secretive, terror-orchestrating Iranian Quds Force, met with senior Russian leaders in Moscow, even though he was barred from leaving Iran by a U.N. Security Council resolution. The Quds Force reports directly to Iran’s supreme leader and has exported terror throughout the Middle East and beyond.
These are not the actions of a regime capable of demonstrating the transparency and cooperation required of it by the terms of this deal.
We firmly reject the notion that the only alternative to this agreement is war. We have long advocated that the best means of ensuring Iran's compliance with international demands is pressure—in the form of ever-tightening sanctions, combined with diplomatic isolation and the credible threat of military force. The international community should respond to Iran's continued pursuit of nuclear weapons by increasing, rather than relieving, pressure on the regime until it has produced meaningful results.
B’nai B’rith International urges Congress to vote next month to disapprove of the agreement.
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith renews its long-held concern about the feasibility of a nuclear deal with Iran. The latest deadline overrun demonstrates once more Tehran’s inability to commit to some of the most important issues in any deal, including intrusive inspections of all of its nuclear facilities, especially military sites.
We reiterate our long-standing skepticism of Iranian intentions.
B’nai B’rith continues to call on the White House and the P5+1 (United States plus China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and Germany) to stand firm on addressing such issues as plutonium enrichment, intrusive inspections and the possible military dimensions (PMD) of Iran’s nuclear program.
It is difficult to overstate the global impact of Iran’s access to nuclear weapons. With Tehran-controlled proxies effectively running so much of the collapsing Middle East, an Iran with nuclear weapons is an alarming prospect.
As we noted months ago when an initial framework was reached: “Skepticism of Iran’s true nuclear intentions is natural, in light of the regime’s own words and actions.”
At the time of the initial framework, we noted that Iranian General Mohammad Ali Jafari had recently said: “The range of (our) missiles covers all of Israel today. That means the fall of the Zionist regime, which will certainly come soon.”
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has also sharpened his rhetoric, saying in recent months: “whether a nuclear agreement is achieved or not, Israel will be more insecure each day.”
Is this a regime ready to allow full and unfettered access to its nuclear sites? Is this a regime that has peaceful intentions for its nuclear research? Its history as the largest state-sponsor of global terror would indicate the answers are no.
B’nai B'rith Speaks Out At United Nations Human Rights Council Against Biased Report On 2014 Gaza Conflict
B’nai B’rith International was responsible for delivering two statements on June 29 at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, both relating to the council’s recent report on the 2014 Hamas-initiated Gaza conflict.
The first, delivered by B’nai B’rith representative to the United Nations in Geneva Klaus Netter, admonished the council for its refusal to even acknowledge the terrorist group Hamas by name in its resolution launching the investigation, let alone fully recognizing its true intentions to destroy Israel. Netter said: “Human rights mechanisms such as this Council often see their role as to name-and-shame human rights abusers. Unless the abuser is Hamas. In that case, the Council will ignore-and-obscure. We must ask: What it will take for this Council to pronounce the name ‘Hamas?’”
Netter noted: “There is no moral equivalence between Israel and Hamas. As recently confirmed by a group of international military experts, Israel far exceeded the obligations of International Humanitarian Law in its counter-terrorism operations last summer. Hamas, on the other hand, dug tunnels into Israeli territory with the sole aim of carrying out horrendous terrorist attacks against Israeli farming communities near the border.”
In his statement, Netter focused on the lack of acknowledgement that Israel was defending itself against the “ruthless terrorist organization” that is Hamas.
Click here to read Netter’s intervention: http://bit.ly/1g2xdHs
Separately, in cooperation with JINSA (the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs), Geoffrey Corn, a professor of law and the U.S. Army’s former senior expert on the Law of Armed Conflict, spoke under Agenda Item 7 about the flaws inherent in the report on the Gaza conflict.
In his intervention, Corn raised a number of objections to the validity and accuracy of the report. At one point, he focused on how Hamas terrorists hid fighters and weapons among the civilian population of Gaza: “Specifically, it omits assessment of how an enemy’s systemic failure to distinguish himself from civilians, and in fact deliberately exploit the perception of civilian status, impacts the reasonableness of attack judgments.”
Click here to read Corn’s intervention: http://bit.ly/1InXBGL
To watch these interventions, see Chapter 49 (02:03:18, Netter) and Chapter 53 (02:11:55, Corn) here: http://webtv.un.org/watch/item7-general-debate-34th-meeting-29th-regular-session-of-human-rights-council/4328108187001
Summer 2015 Issue Also Examines Integrated Jewish-Arab Schools in Israel
The roots of American-Jewish theater spring from Yiddish immigrant culture. Recent headlines, however, have focused on controversies in the Washington, D.C. scene.
But there is much more to the story. Today, the art form is thriving and evolving into new forms. Increasingly, efforts like the Jewish Plays Project competition search for emerging artists and plays seek to engage the Jewish community. Writer Barbara Blank explores the past, present and future of American-Jewish theater.
State-supported Hand in Hand operates five Israeli schools with 1,100 Jewish and Arab students learning together. Writer Michele Chabin examines the challenges the schools face as they continue their mission of creating a more inclusive society.
B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs explains the organization’s ongoing role at the United Nations to counter the U.N.’s blatant bias against Israel.
Through the use of personal stories, B’nai B’rith Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin reminds us to honor Holocaust survivors and to keep alive the memories of those we’ve lost.
Joined by a similar love for country, Christian and Jewish Zionists in Israel seem to find a common bond. While some Christians in Israel seek to convert Jews, most see their mission as one of religious purpose and cultural understanding. Writer Hillel Kuttler tells the stories of these Christian Zionists living in Israel, shining a light on their incredible journeys.
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International deplores a demand by Greek officials to remove of a Star of David from a Holocaust memorial on the eve of its opening.
The stunning demand by the mayor and city council of Kavala, Greece, to remove the very symbol that was used to separate Jews from the rest of the community during the Holocaust is beyond insensitive. This is an attempt to erase history.
The monument, set to open 70 years after the end of World War II, pays tribute to the 1,484 Kavala Jews murdered by the Nazis.
Nearly 90 percent of the Jewish population of Greece was murdered during the Shoa.
B’nai B’rith will be directly in contact with representatives of the Greek government and our friends in the Hellenic-American community to urge their immediate attention to this deeply troubling situation.