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What we do - Public Policy

B’nai B’rith has issued the following statement:

B’nai B’rith hopes Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov’s meeting with the European Union Foreign Affairs Council yesterday to discuss the Burgas report will result in designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organization throughout Europe.

Mladenov briefed the council on the findings of the report that holds Hezbollah responsible for the July 2012 attack in Burgas that left five Israeli tourists and one Bulgarian dead, while wounding 30 others.

When asked by reporters if he believes Hezbollah should be named a terrorist organization by the EU, Mladenov replied: “Given the fact that we’ve already made quite firm statements about where we believe the responsibility for that attack lies, I think the answer is quite obvious.”

According to various news reports, there is no official timetable for the EU by which to reach a decision on Hezbollah’s designation. The council and other EU officials will examine the Burgas report and then bring it to a debate. A unanimous vote is needed to classify Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

B’nai B’rith will continue to urge EU officials and other interested parties to name Hezbollah for what it truly is—a violent and dangerous organization whose acts of terror have been carried out on three continents.

Letter addressed to Ms. Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO by Allan J. Jacobs, President of B’nai B’rith International and Daniel S. Mariaschin, Executive Vice-President

Dear Madame Director-General,

On behalf of B’nai B’rith International – the oldest and most widely known Jewish humanitarian, advocacy and social action organization, with members in over 50 countries – we write to express our appreciation of your prompt denunciation of this week’s anti-Semitic representation at the Aalst Carnival, which is inscribed on UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. By speaking out about this incident, you have signaled to the world that trivialization of the Holocaust cannot be tolerated by UNESCO, an agency created to foster tolerance and peace.

 We share your sense of shock and disgust at the insensitive display, which featured men drinking champagne while dressed up in SS uniforms, a Nazi railcar, and crude representations of victims—including stereotypical depictions of Haredi Orthodox Jews and an effigy of a gay victim hanging off the back of the railcar. The fact that such an incident of Holocaust minimization could take place in Belgium, a nation which lost nearly half of its Jewish population in the Holocaust, speaks to the vital importance of Holocaust education throughout the globe. The most effective way to prevent displays and incidents that minimize, trivialize, or deny the Holocaust is to make sure that there is a global awareness of the horrors of the Holocaust.

We thank you for your strong commitment to promote Holocaust education. We look forward to continuing to work with you on this important issue of mutual interest.


Allan J. Jacobs                                                            Daniel S. Mariaschin
President                                                                     Executive Vice President

BRUSSELS - What further evidence does the European Union need to declare Hezbollah an international terrorist group?

By Daniel S. Mariaschin

Hezbollah 2

(photo Haaretz)

The latest proof comes from Bulgaria. After a six month investigation, Bulgaria has concluded in a new report that Hezbollah was behind the July 2012 bus attack in Burgas that killed five Israeli tourists, their Bulgarian bus driver and wounded more than 30 other Israelis.

The report finds the bomber, who died in the attack, was part of a Hezbollah cell that included two members using Australian and Canadian passports.

Interior minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov told reporters: "There is data showing the financing and connection between Hezbollah and the two suspects."


The theme: the fight against anti-Semitism

By Gilberte Jacaret
B'nai B'rith Europe.

This year's convention, on Sunday, 13th January, brought together some 800 people to discuss the rise of anti-Semitism throughout France.

A statement by the CRIF ahead of the conference stated that delegates would consider the most effective ways of combating anti-Semitism, bearing in mind that it poses danger not only to the Jewish Community but equally to the French Republic. The unique platform was designed to "give public figures who share our concerns the opportunity to speak out", continued the official comment.

High-profile attendees included French MP Nathaie Kosciusko-Morizet (member of former President Nicolas Sarkozy's right-wing UMP party), Abdelghani Merah (brother of radical Islamist Toulouse murderer Mohamed), Gilles Bernaim, Chief Rabbi of Paris, and French Jewish philosopher and writer Alain Finkelkraut.


Received B’nai B’rith Presidential Gold Medallion Award for Human Rights Work

B’nai B’rith mourns the loss of Vaclav Havel, who brought attention to injustice through his work as a writer, activist, dissident and eventually first president of post-communist Czechoslovakia.


Witold Zyss, B’nai B’rith’s permanent representative to UNESCO, reports:

unescoThe General Conference of UNESCO, meeting in Paris from 25 October to 10 November 2011, decided to admit Palestine as member state of the Organization. The General Conference is the supreme instance of UNESCO, composed of all the member states (now 195), meeting once in two years to approve the programme and the budget of the Organization and decide on other important issues.

The item on the admission of Palestine was taken up on Monday 31 October 2011, immediately after the end of the general policy debate in which the last speaker, still as observer, was the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Palestinian Authority who made a passionate plea for the admission of Palestine as member state.


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