(Washington, D.C., Oct. 10, 2019)—B’nai B’rith International President Charles O. Kaufman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:
We condemn the vile anti-Semitic attack that took place on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, outside a synagogue and inside a kebab shop in Halle, Germany.
The shooter uploaded a graphic video to the Internet blaming Jews for immigration and feminism and showing off the weapons in his car before driving to the synagogue and shooting. He murdered two people and wounded an additional two. Only the synagogue’s security measures, which included locking the doors of the building, prevented a massacre inside the synagogue. German law enforcement eventually pursued the shooter and has him in custody. Josef Schuster, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, and others expressed concern that the synagogue itself was not guarded by police and that police took more than 10 minutes to arrive at the synagogue.
This terrorist attack should be met with a renewed resolve of solidarity within the Jewish community and beyond. We also call on Twitch, the platform the shooter used to upload his video of the massacre, to more closely monitor the content that it allows to be live-streamed. More than 2,000 viewers watched the video of the shooting before it was taken down. Social media platforms must be held responsible for the hate they allow on their platforms.
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.or
(Washington, D.C., Oct. 10, 2019)—B’nai B’rith International President Charles O. Kaufman has issued the following statement:
The heavenly gates are closed; the book of life is inscribed. Another judgment day has passed. And Jonathan Pollard, a convict who spent 30 years in prison for spying on behalf of Israel, remains prohibited from returning to his adopted country—the Jewish state.
Sure, he’s been released from prison since 2015. His parole requires him to stay in his New York home from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., to submit any computer he uses for inspection, and to wear a GPS device at all times; and to live in the United States for five years. Thirteen months away from a possible release, the excessive sentence is more than a year from being met. Well, it’s enough.
Jonathan Pollard has done his penance, served his time. It’s time for the U.S. Justice Department to allow him to leave the United States. He’s lived under restrictive conditions. Even in Israel he would remain under the same restrictive conditions. Pollard is 65 years old and reportedly lives in deteriorating health. He pleaded guilty 33 years ago to committing espionage in connection with providing Israeli contacts with hundreds of classified documents that he had obtained as a civilian intelligence specialist for the U.S. Navy.
Since 1986, when Pollard was convicted, the world has undergone a technological revolution. Relative to commonplace hacking today and undetected cyber violations, one thing is clear—Jonathan Pollard has spent half his life in captivity and, by all accounts, he no longer presents a danger to U.S. intelligence. An ailing, all- but-spent convict just wants to live out his days.
Just five years ago, Americans felt the sting of releasing three Cuban spies for American Alan Gross. The memory of swapping five still dangerous Taliban prisoners—terrorists—for a disgraced American soldier burns brightly in the American psyche. What further debt can be extracted from a figure like Jonathan Pollard?
The book of life has just closed on the Jewish people. It’s time to close the book on Pollard and lift his parole. Immediately, let him live out the final chapter of his life in Israel.
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
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.