About B'nai Brith Canada
B’nai Brith Canada has had a presence in this country since its earliest days, with roots stretching back to 1875. It is Canadian Jewry’s most senior human rights advocacy organization and is the only national independent voice speaking out on behalf of grassroots Jewish Canadians.
Its team of dedicated volunteers and professional staff is engaged in combating antisemitism, bigotry and racism in Canada and abroad. B’nai Brith’s wide-ranging educational and social programming, community and volunteer services, and human initiatives reflect the organization’s commitment to “People Helping People.”
Just as B’nai Brith has grown and evolved over the years in order to respond to the particular needs of the time, so has Canadian Jewry undergone many transformations. Throughout, B’nai Brith has consistently employed its successful advocacy model of strong community, results-oriented grassroots activism. It is uniquely positioned to rise to today’s challenges, which include the emergence in recent years of growing antisemitism and rampant anti-Israel sentiment.
B’NAI BRITH’S TEAM OF DEDICATED VOLUNTEERS AND PROFESSIONAL STAFF ARE ENGAGED IN:
- Combating antisemitism and racism at home and abroad
- Championing the rights of Jewish students on and off campus
- Intervening in the Supreme Court on behalf of targeted minority groups
- Urging the Government to be steadfast in its support for democratic Israel, particularly at international fora such as the UN
- Recommending that Canada amend its anti-terrorism laws to limit the ability of terrorist entities to openly function in this country
- Forming important strategic alliances with leaders of Canada’s multi-faith and NGO communities
- Working closely with the elderly and impoverished communities to provide housing and sustenance to those in need
- Developing Holocaust educational programming in schools across the country
- Pursuing a human rights agenda that reflects B’nai Brith’s core mission of “People Helping People”
B’nai Brith Canada is the action arm of the Jewish community. We believe in:
- Reaching out to those in need
- Fighting antisemitism, racism and bigotry;
- Promoting human rights and peace throughout the world.
We do this through a wide range of activities, both at the national and local level.
Reaching out to those in need
B’nai Brith recognizes that every community is different; every community has its own unique needs. Each year, local B’nai Brith groups across the country reach out to those around them, helping to fund and organize activities that meet those special needs everything from running breakfast programs for kids, to visiting hospitals and seniors homes, to helping families through hard times with the donation of food baskets.
The Department’s proactive approach advances B’nai Brith’s human rights agenda to the media, to government and to the public at large. B’nai Brith’s viewpoints on such key issues as Israel and the Middle East, strengthening Canada’a anti-terrorism laws, and UN reform, regularly appear in the op ed pages of international newspapers. B’nai Brith’s human rights and legal experts are often sought after for comment, and are frequently quoted by global media.
Local B’nai Brith groups are making a difference with a number of community initiatives, including:
- Providing student scholarships. The costs of education have risen dramatically over the last decade. Some local B’nai Brith groups provide funding each year to students who demonstrate a high degree of involvement in human rights or other community issues.
- Visiting hospitals and seniors homes. Local B’nai Brith groups continue the tradition of visiting hospitals and seniors homes during the holidays to comfort the sick and the lonely. We also organize visits to children who are not able to go home for the holidays.
- Sports and social programs for Jewish youth and adults. B’nai Brith runs athletic leagues and other programs to bring together Jewish youth and adults on a social and recreational basis, building friendships and a strong sense of community.
Overcoming the forces of hate
To live in peace and harmony is a fundamental human right. But in today’s world, the opposite forces of hatred and violence seem to be gaining strength. We’re seeing increasing hate on the Internet, harassment and even increased violence. B’nai Brith and police Hate Crimes Units across the country have corroborated a recent increase in racist and antisemitic activity.
B’nai Brith’s League for Human Rights has long been at the forefront of the effort to stem the rising tide. We focus our work on two fronts:
1. We report incidents and support the victims. Our Anti-Hate Desk tracks hate crimes against all minorities in Canada , with a focus on antisemitic incidents. We also maintain an Anti-Hate Hotline at 1-800-892-2624, which victims can call 24/7 for front-line counseling and assistance.
2. We empower communities to take action. Our Taking Action Against Hate initiative is an educational forum that brings together different segments of our society, including community members and leaders, anti-racism experts, educators, students, media personalities, government and law enforcement representatives to increase networking and reinforce positive relationships. It teaches participants how to recognize hate and provides practical strategies to counter the trend of violence and hatred in our society. Plans for next year include creating a French version of the program to reach a wider audience across the country.
“We believe in the power of awareness and education as a tool to combat hate and promote human rights,” says Allan Adel, League Chair. “Our biggest enemies are indifference and ignorance. We need, and welcome, the support of the broader Canadian community to help us help the victims and bring the perpetrators to justice.”
In the future, the League will explore further use of legal means to halt or disrupt the operations of known terrorist organizations with representatives in Canada . The B’nai Brith legal department will play a key role in this effort. The department has a proud history of successful legal interventions. It includes prominent members of Canada’s legal community led by renowned human rights lawyer David Matas.
“Our legal system can be an effective instrument to combat antisemitism, hate and racism,” says Mr. Adel. “We will continue to take an innovative approach to dealing with legal issues.”