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NEWS of B'nai B'rith

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Yesterday, 1st October 2015, B'nai B'rith Europe held a working brunch in its renovated office with several organisations that were attending the two days colloquium organised by the European Commission on "Tolerance and respect: preventing and combating anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim hatred in Europe" on 1st and 2nd October.

President of B'nai B'rith Europe, Erika Van Gelder and Vice-President of B'nai B'rith Europe Valerie Achache chaired the meeting. Serge Dahan, President of B'nai B'rith France also attended the event.

The idea behind this meeting was for Jewish and pro-Israel European NGOs such as BBE to become familiar with each other's work and ultimately to create leverage through an ad-hoc task force with coordinated efforts on common topics of interest.

The American Jewish Committee/Transatlantic Institute, the European Alliance for Israel, Europe Israel Public Affairs, the European Jewish Association, the European Jewish Centre, the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists and the World Jewish Congress were represented along B'nai B'rith Europe.

Everyone in the assembly introduced themselves and described their organisation's core interests.

Creating a definition of antisemitism at EU level modelled on the US definition seems to have aroused most present organisations interest as a possible way to work together. Another one was to increase antisemitism awareness amongst civil servants and magistrates in charge of implementing hate crime laws.

B'nai B'rith Europe would like to turn this meeting into a regular event, and hopes that working hand in hand with other organisations will make a positive change for Israel and the Jewish community in Europe.

If you wish to join please contact Anouk Abrahams at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
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Amsterdam, 9/9/2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

A new year is about to begin. The Jewish people all over the world will be praying for peace , for tolerance, for mutual respect ...They will voice their hopes for a better year to come, a year without violence, a year without suffering, a year that would bring solace to humanity. Then on Yom Kippur, each of us, individually, will make his/her peace with G-D and his fellow man.

We, the members of B'nai B'rith, chose this path because we believe in these high moral standards, we mean to do good, we want to repair the world, make it a better place in which our children and children's children have a future.

We must stay strong and united in a world where anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism have become part of the widely accepted political discourse. We must stay strong and united faced with the ever growing terrorist threats from all corners of the world.

We, who know what it means to be refugee, unwanted and destitute, must never forget the hundreds of thousands of refugees, men, women and children living in appalling conditions behind barbed wire. As a Jew, as a human being, as a member of B'nai B'rith, we must help. Indifference, doing nothing, is not an option.

I wish all of you and your loved ones, a healthy, sweet Rosh Hashanah, peace for Israel and hope for a more humane new year.

Erika van Gelder
B'nai B'rith Europe President
Europe is struggling to deal with the influx of 350,000 refugees — mostly displaced Syrians fleeing the brutality of the Islamic State militants and the ongoing civil war — who have risked their lives crossing the Mediterranean to reach Europe. The trend shows no sign of slowing as war and turmoil across the Middle East and North Africa drive millions of people from their homes.

Humanitarian aid is one of B'nai B'rith core mission, and with the largest influx of refugees in Europe since WWII, B'nai B'rith Europe wants to take a stand. Together with B'nai B'rith International, we collect funds for IsraAID. For over a decade, IsraAID has been helping people all over the world overcome extreme crises and has provided millions with the vital support needed to move from destruction to reconstruction, and eventually, to sustainable living.

IsraAID will send a team that will provide food and supplies, as well as assisting authorities and local organizations to improve the psychosocial well-being of the refugees and assist in absorption efforts, the organization said.

 “As a nation that has suffered the atrocities of the Holocaust, and routinely stands in the face of threats, we can’t not extend a hand to help the tens of thousands of asylum seekers looking for refuge after fleeing the atrocities in the Middle East and Africa,” IsraAid’s founding director Shachar Zehavi said in a statement.

Let's make this statement our one too, as a people that suffered atrocities let's show them we care.

You can help by donating on this special account:


IBAN: BE95732007489158
SWIFT/BIC: CREGBEBB
"Refugee relief"


Erika and Pope Francis





A multinational delegation of B'nai B'rith leaders met privately with Pope Francis on June 25 at the Vatican, the first international Jewish audience with the pope since the Vatican announced an agreement on church issues with "the State of Palestine" and the pope separately acknowledged non-recognition of Israel as amounting to anti-Semitism. The meeting came during the 50th anniversary year of Nostra Aetate, the Second Vatican Council document that helped to transform Catholic-Jewish relations.


The delegation, in addition to Allan Jacobs and Dan Mariaschin, was composed of other members of the B'nai B'rith delegation as Chairman of the Executive Board of Directors Gary Saltzman (Denver, Colo.); B'nai B'rith Europe President Erika van Gelder (The Netherlands); B'nai B'rith International Senior Vice President for Europe (Daniel Citone); Chairman of the B'nai B'rith International Center for Human Rights and Public Policy Joseph Harari (Panama); Haim Katz, Chairman of the B'nai B'rith World Center in Jerusalem (Israel); and President of B'nai B'rith Argentina Mario Wilhelm (Argentina).

The B'nai B'rith statement said that the "continuing, extraordinary transformation in the relationship between our faith communities can serve as a source of inspiration and optimism for so many others around the world, not least at a time of tensions and conflicts too often influenced by religion... We must make the deepening Christian-Jewish kinship further known among our own adherents around the world—from clergy to educators to young people—and we must progress from dialogue to concrete partnership in tackling the array of challenges that confront our constituencies and all members of the human family. Among these are the protection of our shared environment, care for the poorest and most vulnerable in society, the advancement of quality education for all, the encouragement of international peace, and the combating of all forms of extremism and bigotry."

B'nai B'rith International President Allan J. Jacobs celebrated the pope's commitment to "advancing the path of your predecessors in signaling the Church's commitment to the Jewish people, its respect for Judaism, its denunciation of persisting anti-Semitism, and its due recognition of the State of Israel." At the same time, he told the pontiff that "tragically, no enduring Palestinian-Israeli peace can be possible as long as powerful forces deny the right of a Jewish state to live within any boundaries in Jews' only ancestral homeland. It is in light of this that it is so important that Palestinians not be afforded incentives to pursue political aims outside of meaningful and direct negotiations, compromise and comprehensive bilateral agreement with Israel."

On the eve of the current June 30 deadline for international negotiations with Iran over its illicit nuclear program, Jacobs also emphasized that "if it weren't enough that Iran openly pledges Israel's destruction and lethally empowers foremost terrorist groups—responsible for carnage as far away as Buenos Aires, whose unresolved 1994 AMIA bombing you have consistently highlighted—this rogue government has aggressively pursued the ability to acquire the most dangerous of weaponry... [M]ore attention needs to be paid to the telling fact that Iran's actions have broadly united its neighbors—Arabs and Israelis alike—in urgent, and unprecedented, alarm."


B'nai B'rith expressed support "to our Christian friends worldwide—and we specifically offer our immense concern, and abiding solidarity, as Christians in so many parts of the Middle East are now faced with discrimination, threats and outright persecution. We have them in our thoughts and our prayers."

Since Israel, a rare Middle Eastern democracy where Christians and other minorities have continually increased, itself represents a threatened minority presence in the region, the B'nai B'rith delegation decried "an economic warfare movement, present even in some religious denominations, that singles out the Jewish state for punitive campaigns."

This is not B'nai B'rith's first time meeting with Pope Francis: In 2013, B'nai B'rith International Director of United Nations and Intercommunal Affairs David Michaels attended the installation of the pope and the first interreligious meeting with him at the Vatican. In 2014, Michaels also greeted Francis at the Western Wall in Jerusalem during the papal visit to Israel. And before he was known around the world at Pope Francis, then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio hosted B'nai B'rith's Kristallnacht commemoration in Buenos Aires in 2012.

"Our meeting with Pope Francis provided us an opportunity to directly reaffirm the bond between the Jewish community and Catholics worldwide, on the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate. It also gave our delegation an important chance to discuss urgent issues in the Middle East that affect both faiths in the region," B'nai B'rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said.


AN URGENT CALL TO DEMONSTRATE IN SUPPORT OF ISRAEL

In light of the current wave of unrelenting attacks against Israel's legitimacy, we the undersigned organizations have joined together to hold a rally in support of Israel.
To all who hold dear the value of human rights and democracy we call you to join us on June 29th between the hours of 12:00 to 15:00 in Geneva at Place des Nations.
Israel is the stronghold of democracy in a region where this basic value is threatened on all fronts. Today hegemony and radicalism threaten to thwart the fervent desire of all the people of the region for a better life, a thriving economy and stable and democratic governance.
At this critical time Israel's legitimacy is being threatened on many fronts, the right to defend itself is being challenged and false allegations are being leveled in order to divert attention from true abuse of innocent civilian populations.
It is urgent for all to rally together in solidarity and show the world that we will not let agents of terror cynically abuse organizations such as the UN as a platform to wage political war against Israel and manipulate public opinion.
Your presence is urgently needed. Join us and make your voices heard.







Arbeitsgemeinschaft Israel-Werke Schweiz (IWS)
America-Israel Friendship League
American Jewish committee Atlanta
American Jewish Committee
Association Suisse-Israel
Associação de Amizade Portugal-Israel
B´nai B´rith Concordia Košice
B'nai B'rith Europe
B'nai B'rith France
B'nai B'rith International
B´nai B´rith Tolerance Bratislava
Club der Freunde Israels
Christen an der Seite Israels-Österreich
Christians for Israel International
C.R.I.F. (Conseil Représentatif des Institutions juives de France)
European Coalition for Israel
European Union of Jewish Students
Faith Church (Hungary)
Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange
HISPANIC ISRAEL LEADERSHIP COALITION (USA)
Human Rights Voices
International Christian Embassy Jerusalem
ICEJ GERMANY
Israel Chamber of Commerce in Slovakia
Israel Europe Freedom Center
Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien
Israeltische Religionsgesellschaft Österreich- Bundesverband der Israelitischen Kultusgemeinden
Jewish Diplomatic Corps
KKL Finland
National Union of Israeli Students NUIS
Österreichisch Israelische Gesellschaft
ONE WITH ISRAEL (USA)
Over the Rainbow
Parliamentarian Group Swiss-Israel
Patmos Lähetyssäätiö (Finland)
Proclaiming justice to the nations-PJTN
Stand With Us
STEP UP for Israel
Suomen Karmel-yhdistys (Finland)
Swiss Union of Jewish Students SUJS
Take A Pen
The Central Union of the Jewish Religious Communities to the Slovak Republic
Slovak-Israeli Friendship Society
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (Canada)
The Columbia, SC, Jewish Federation
The European Alliance for Israel
The Grace Christian Fellowship Milosť
The Israel Project
The London Center for policy Research
Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust
We Believe in Israel (UK)
World Jewish Congress
World Union of Jewish Students WUJS
Zionist Organization of America
B'nai B'rith Europe stands with B'nai B'rith International when they say that French telecommunication company Orange CEO Stephane Richard’s statement that “[o]ur intention is to withdraw from Israel,” is deplorable and suggests corporate acquiescence to the pernicious Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that aims to single out Israel for unjust discrimination and harm.

In Cairo, Richard said that, if it were financially feasible, he would terminate his company’s relationship “tomorrow” with Partner, the Israeli company that licenses the Orange name in Israel.

Orange does substantial business in Israel, where it is a top mobile service provider.

This is not the first time Orange has demonstrated a lack of corporate responsibility in the Middle East. In 2012, B’nai B’rith revealed that Orange was one of the companies, along with multiple U.N. agencies, to hire Emad Hajjaj, a Jordan-based Palestinian cartoonist with a long record of virulently anti-Semitic imagery in his work. B’nai B’rith wrote to the groups patronizing Hajjaj, but Orange failed to reply.

We urge the French government, which has a stake in Orange, to deplore Richard’s comments and firmly oppose BDS campaigns against the Middle East’s only democracy.




Source: B'nai Brith International

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