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NEWS - Lodges and B'nai B'rith updates

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Jerusalem (18 May) Israeli President Shimon Peres received today (May 18) the first B'nai B'rith Europe Lifetime Award of Merit at a special ceremony at Beit Hanasi in Jerusalem. B'nai B'rith Europe President Ralph Hofmann travelled from Frankfurt Germany to make the presentation.



Also Concerned with Expected Rapporteur Selection

B'nai B'rith International has issued the following statement:

B'nai B'rith International condemns the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for the five anti-Israel resolutions passed on March 28 as the council closed its 25th session. The council continues to discredit itself with these latest resolutions, as no other country—including unsurpassed human rights abusers Iran, North Korea and Syria—was subjected to multiple condemnatory motions or to a near-total lack of foreign support.

Of the 42 resolutions the council passed dealing with a broad spectrum of human rights issues, 10 dealt with reprimanding specific countries and five of those were aimed at Israel. The United States showed principled leadership as the only country to vote against the anti-Israel resolutions, while European members of the council voted in favor of all but one such motion. Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, France, the Czech Republic, Romania, Austria, Estonia and Ireland all voted for the anti-Israel resolutions. These countries did so despite the appropriate abstention by most of them from anti-Israel criticism falling under "Item 7," the only standing component of the council agenda dedicated to scrutinizing a single country, Israel.

A week prior to the votes, B'nai B'rith representative to the U.N. in Geneva Klaus Netter spoke before the UNHRC to address the council's continued obsession with Israel and to encourage Israel's fellow Western European and Others Group (WEOG) members to refuse engagement with the discriminatory "Item 7."

"Allow me to use this occasion ... to urge all countries represented here, but in particular those of the WEOG, to ignore Item 7, as the latter already did during the last session. In this manner, WEOG helped to highlight the illegitimacy of Item 7, which stands out as the most blatant example of this council's selectivity," Netter said.

The UNHRC's one-sided decisions and willful ignorance were further exacerbated with the passage of a Syria-sponsored resolution condemning Israeli presence on the Golan Heights and treatment of the Syrian population. Effectively, the council ignored the fact that Israel has treated wounded Syrians and delivered the babies of others caught in the bloody Syrian civil war that has left more than 150,000 dead.

Another point of contention that B'nai B'rith continues to monitor is the appointment of a new U.N. special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories, a position previously held by Richard Falk. The selection of Falk's replacement was deferred at the end of the council's just-concluded session and B'nai B'rith remains acutely concerned with a number of candidates being considered, including Goldstone Report coauthor Christine Chinkin.

In his statement to the council, Netter addressed this subject, saying that while "the post in question is inherently discriminatory, focused on Israeli actions alone, we hope that every effortwill be made not to repeat the mistake made in the selection of the last special rapporteur, whose notorious and scandalous bias was an impediment to the pursuit of peace itself."
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B'nai B'rith is greatly disturbed by Amnesty International's latest attempt to slander Israel with the release of its report, "Trigger Happy."


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Due to the efforts and diligence of the leadership of B'nai B'rith in Kiev and Lviv our humanitarian aid programme in Ukraine continues without interruption. Our thanks go out to our Sisters and Brothers in Kiev and Lviv.
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It is a great honor for our organization to award Dr. Mathias Doepfner with the BBE Award of Merit. The gala will take place in the framework of the BBE Convention in June 2014.

The gala itself will take place on 10 June 2014

Dr. Doepfner is a great supporter of the State of Israel and the Jewish people.
He says about himself in an interview in the German magazine „Der Spiegel“ of 19 June 2006:

"I'm a non-Jewish Zionist. Israel is a country whose existence must be secured." He further says: "For me, freedom is the most important prerequisite for a humane society. My politicization is characterized by the Holocaust as a negative starting point. The shock of my childhood was the images and tales from this incomparable crime. The most important consequence of this was for me is the freedom of thought, freedom of the individual and to secure freedom of action."


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B'nai B'rith is appalled to learn Denmark has banned religious, ritual slaughter practiced in both Jewish and Muslim communities. The Danish agriculture and food minister handed down the decision, saying animal rights supersede those of religious freedom.

This ban is profoundly concerning, as it restricts the religious freedoms of both the Jewish and Muslim communities. Additionally, kosher slaughter is in no way a violation of animal rights and is a humane practice, more so than other methods.

B'nai B'rith remains worried that as Denmark and a few other European countries have adopted bans on religious slaughter, a vital right and need of Europe's Jewish minority is being eroded, along with the freedoms that other religious denominations enjoy.

We urge all European leaders, governments and societies to decisively reject a path of government coercion and imposition in religious life.

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