B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International commends the United States and Australia for voting today against a Palestinian resolution submitted to the United Nations Security Council on Monday that would have imposed an arbitrary deadline and terms for settling the Palestinian-Israeli issue. By bringing its list of demands to the United Nations and attempting to force Israel to acquiesce through a third party, the Palestinian Authority (PA) sought to exploit the world body to advance its political agenda.
B’nai B’rith has vocally objected to any PA attempt to deliver an ultimatum for Israeli compliance with its objectives. This latest circumvention of negotiations with Israel is no different. In typical PA fashion, the resolution blatantly failed to ensure Israel’s security and identity as a Jewish state.
We applaud the United States and Australia for their commitment to push back against these efforts in defense of a genuine and constructive path to peace. The two votes against, combined with five abstentions from Lithuania, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Korea and the United Kingdom denied the Palestinians the minimum of nine votes needed to adopt the resolution.
The countries that voted in favor of the one-sided resolution—in contravention of longtime international insistence upon direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations—were Argentina, Chad, Chile, China, France, Jordan, Luxembourg and Russia.
Peace can only be achieved through meaningful, bilateral negotiations. The PA’s continued internationalization of the conflict with Israel has only exacerbated the situation. Those countries that genuinely seek a peaceful resolution of this conflict must impress upon the Palestinians to cease exporting and enflaming the conflict by joining new multinational bodies, beginning with the International Criminal Court, in an effort to deploy them as political weapons against Israel.
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 been a leader in advocating for the United Nations to place Yom Kippur, the most sacred day of the Jewish year, on the list of Christian, Muslim and other holidays officially recognized by the world body. In recent months B’nai B’rith has challenged members of the United Nations to quickly embrace a new initiative to add Yom Kippur, pushing the issue in a New York Times op-ed and bringing the conversation to the international forefront.
With the United Nations set to make a decision on Yom Kippur, B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs, Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin and Director of U.N. and Intercommunal Affairs David J. Michaels wrote to U.N. missions urging them to support the Yom Kippur initiative.
In the letter, Jacobs, Mariaschin and Michaels write:
“The Jewish people have observed Yom Kippur, the most sacred day of the Jewish calendar, for thousands of years. It is a day when millions of Jews seek forgiveness and self-improvement in the hope of creating a better life and, ultimately, a better world.
We believe that the time has come for the United Nations to add Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, to its calendar. The initiative to add Yom Kippur to the UN calendar would represent a modest but meaningful step in helping the UN to better live up to its Charter's embrace of diversity and respect for peoples large and small.
The UN is headquartered in New York City, the city with the largest Jewish population in the Diaspora. There is an active Jewish presence at UN Headquarters, among secretariat staff, diplomats, and NGO representatives alike. These contributors to the work of the UN, hailing from some of the roughly 120 UN member states where organized Jewish communities can be found, should not be forced to choose between violating their religious beliefs and neglecting professional demands.
We strongly urge you to support adding Yom Kippur to the UN calendar, alongside other religious and civil holidays.”
Click here to read the full letter.
B’nai B’rith Condemns U.N. Secretary-General for Ignoring Violent Extremism as “Root Cause” of Palestinian-Israeli Hostilities
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International condemns U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for attributing the 50-day summer hostilities between Israel and Hamas to “a restrictive occupation that has lasted almost half a century” while speaking at the Cairo conference on reconstruction in Gaza on Oct. 12.
Ban said “we must not lose sight of the root causes of the recent hostilities: a restrictive occupation that has lasted almost half a century, the continued denial of Palestinian rights and the lack of tangible progress in peace negotiations.”
The secretary-general should refrain from making biased, inflammatory remarks perpetuating a false image of Israel as an occupying aggressor. Ban, in his comments, did make mention of Hamas rocket attacks that were “fired indiscriminately causing fear, panic and suffering.” However, he does not account for anti-Israel terrorists’ role in igniting and sustaining conflict—a stunning and inexplicable omission.
Israel completely withdrew from Gaza in 2005, just as it did in Sinai after reaching a peace treaty with Egypt. In return for leaving Gaza, Israel received intensified attacks and threats against its citizenry. Israel has also repeatedly offered Palestinian statehood and the provision of all of Palestinians’ needs in sweeping peace offers—but these have been declined without fail by the Palestinian Authority leadership. Hamas, for its part, is doctrinally committed to the total destruction of the Jewish state.
Combating other Islamist groups, like ISIS, while ignoring or handing propaganda victories to ones like Hamas is unconscionable and no service to advancing Palestinian-Israeli peace. The open fanaticism, terrorism and armament of Arab extremists is the patent “root cause” of recurring conflict with Israel.
See where B'nai B'rith International stands on the issues.