Demonization and delegitimization of Israel takes many forms, including the recent onslaught of cultural boycotts by celebrities who profess a desire for a two-state solution while disproportionately condemning Israel. But it is encouraging that although the Jewish state confronts many obstacles, it continues to achieve greatness both at home and abroad, going well beyond what is sometimes portrayed in the mainstream media. B’nai B’rith Magazine devotes its summer issue to exploring the spectrum of what Israel has to offer.
As Carol Sorgen reports, over the last few years more and more celebrities have cancelled performances in Israel to express unhappiness over West Bank settlements and take a stand against what some deem “Israeli apartheid.” However, these concert cancellations are part of a larger Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) strategy that attempts to make Israel an international outcast.
In the story, B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin notes that refusing to perform in Israel is not the only problem. “People who ‘follow’ these entertainers—whether at their concerts, on their blogs, on Facebook or on Twitter—further spread the word, and none of them has a real connection to the issue either. This issue is particularly bad because in today’s technological times it has a long shelf life.
He adds: “To call for a boycott because Israel is supposedly an ‘apartheid’ state is not only wrong and unfair, but lacks any objectivity, and worsens an already difficult situation,” says Daniel S. Mariaschin, executive vice president of B’nai B’rith International.
In another arena, as reported by regular contributor Uriel Heilman, Israel continues to produce technologies that are changing the medical world, including a camera embedded inside a pill capsule and the Israeli bandage—which can apply the equivalent of 30 pounds of pressure to a wound—used in the aftermath of the Jan. 8 shooting that killed six and injured 13, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Israel has been one of the top producers of patents per capita for medical devices, and has produced drugs to treat diseases such as Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis.
Elsewhere in the summer issue, reporter Jeannie Counce explores the first English-speaking sports radio station in Israel which was created by two Americans who made aliyah. In addition, Dina Kraft shares a new program at The Jaffa Institute in Tel Aviv that works to teach women the skills needed to find work and lift themselves and their families out of poverty.
On a lighter note, Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin writes about his personal connection to Yiddish, and seniors advocate Rachel Goldberg explains why she does what she does.
To read the magazine visit: www.bnaibrith.org/magazines.