Bulgarian Terror Attack Reaches Wynnewood, Pennsylvania

Uri Palti, Acting Consul General of Israel

(Philadelphia) This week we witnessed yet another horrendous attack against Israeli civilians, this time in the resort town on Burgas, Bulgaria. Over 30 of the wounded as well as the bodies of Itzik Kolangi (28),Amir Menashe (28), Maor Harush (25), Elior Preis (26), Kochava Shriki (44) who was pregnant, were flown home to Israel by Israeli Air Force planes. Also killed in the attack was Mustafa Kyosov (36), the Bulgarian bus driver.

We express our utmost disgust following this brutal terrorist attack against Israeli civilians.

Though no organization has taken responsibility for the attack, we are familiar with similar attempts by Iran to harm Israelis overseas. Sadly, this day also marks exactly 18 years since the horrendous terrorist attack on the Jewish Community Center in Argentina.

Israel recognizes and appreciates the efforts made by the Bulgarian authorities and calls upon the international community to condemn this terrorist attack and to respond decisively.

A special word of condolences to the Selber family from Wynnewood, for the loss of their family member Maor Harush, who was killed in the attack.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims of this heinous act and we all wish a speedy recovery to the wounded.

We would also like to wish our deepest condolences to the family of Joseph Smukler who passed away this past Friday at the age of 84. He was a hero and pillar in the Philadelphia Jewish Community and will be greatly missed.

Readout of the President’s call with Prime Minister Netanyahu follows the jump.
The President called Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu today to offer his condolences and assistance following the terrorist attack targeting Israeli tourists in Bulgaria. The President strongly condemned this outrageous attack that killed and wounded innocent Israelis and Bulgarians, including Israeli children. The President pledged to stand with Israel in this difficult time, and provide whatever assistance is necessary to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators. The President reaffirmed our unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security and our deep friendship and solidarity with the Israeli people.

Jewish Federations, Agency Provide Assist Burgas Victims

The Jewish Agency for Israel’s Fund for the Victims of Terror will provide financial assistance to Israelis wounded in the attack in Bulgaria and to the families of those killed.  The assistance, made possible by a contribution from The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), is meant to help those affected by the attack address supplemental needs not covered by Israeli government bodies.  Any family that experienced the loss or injury of a loved one in the attack may request assistance from the fund.

Jewish Agency Chairman of the Executive Natan Sharansky said that the assistance provided by The Jewish Federations of North America demonstrates the solidarity of Jews around the world with the terrible pain of those Israelis wounded in the attack and with the deep mourning of the families of those killed.

The Jewish Agency‘s Fund for the Victims of Terror, established in 2002, provides financial assistance to victims of terror in Israel.  Since its establishment, the fund-which is sustained by contributions from Jewish federations, philanthropic foundations, and donors around the world-has enabled The Jewish Agency to provide thousands of terror victims and their families with assistance at a scope of more than NIS 100 million.

Response from World Jewish Congress, Isareli Consulate, B’nai Brith, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Susan Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Shelley Berkley, Howard Berman, Jan Schakowsky, Sherrod Brown, Jerrold Nadler, Ted Deutsch, Eliot Engel, Alcee Hastings, Charles Rangel and Joe Crowley follow the jump.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

I was deeply saddened and angered to learn of today’s terrorist attack against Israeli tourists in Bulgaria…. The United States stands ready to offer any assistance necessary, and we will work with our partners in Bulgaria, Israel and elsewhere so that the perpetrators can be apprehended swiftly and brought to justice for this appalling crime.

President Barack Obama

I strongly condemn today’s barbaric terrorist attack on Israelis in Bulgaria. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed and injured, and with the people of Israel … As Israel has tragically once more been a target of terrorism, the United States reaffirms our unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security, and our deep friendship and solidarity with the Israeli people.

World Jewish Congress:

World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald S. Lauder has condemned the murderous terror attack in which six Israeli tourists and the Bulgarian bus driver were killed when one of three buses carrying mostly Israeli men, women and children was blown up outside the airport of Burgas, Bulgaria.

“It is no coincidence that this assault comes 18 years to the day since the Iranian regime sponsored attack against the AMIA  Jewish community center in Buenos Aires took the lives of 85 innocent victims”, Lauder said. The current Iranian Defense Minister, Ahmed Vahidi, was indicted by Argentinianauthorities, and is currently sought by Interpol.

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments regarding the Iranian regime’s involvement in this deadly attack reminds the world of the role Iran, and the terrorist groups it supports, play in global terrorism,” Lauder said.

The World Jewish Congress also salutes Israeli businessman Nochi Dankner for immediately dispatching a private plane with doctors and medical supplies to Burgas to treat the victims of this murderous assault.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice:

We extend our condolences to the families of the victims of this heinous act and stand with the people of Israel & Bulgaria.

The terrorist attack against Israeli tourists in Bulgaria today is outrageous, an act of supreme cowardice.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi:

Our thoughts and prayers rest with the families, friends, and loved ones of those killed and injured in today’s terrorist attack.

Whether within Israel’s borders or around the world, attacks against innocent Israeli men, women, and children are reprehensible and outrageous. All Members of Congress and the American people must stand together to condemn this bombing in the strongest terms possible.

Falling 18 years after the bombing against the AMIA Jewish Center in Buenos Aires, today’s attack is a clear reminder that we must redouble our efforts to bring terrorists to justice; we must maintain and strengthen our commitment to the security of the Jewish state; and we will always stand firm on side of the safety of the Israeli people.

B’nai B’rith International:

B’nai B’rith International condemns in the strongest terms possible the July 18 terrorist attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria. Early reports indicate at least five Israelis have been killed and almost 30 people have been rushed to the hospital, some in critical condition. The situation is still unfolding.

The bombing occurred on a tour bus near the Sarafovo Airport in Burgas, a Bulgarian city on the Black Sea. While it is unclear who the perpetrators are, Israeli leaders are suggesting Iran and Hezbollah may be behind the attacks.

B’nai B’rith urges Bulgarian and international agencies to work together to determine who was responsible for this attack that targeted Israelis.  

The attack occurred on the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the Argentine-Israelite Mutual Association Jewish center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and wounded 300.

This attack on Israelis, coming on the AMIA anniversary, is a chilling reminder that anti-Israel sentiment is alive and well worldwide. Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer:

Today’s attack is a tragic reminder of the threat of terrorism Israelis face at home and abroad.  Those who planned, carried out, and sponsored this attack will surely be identified and face justice for their actions and involvement.

The murder of innocent tourists is a shameful act of cowardice that should give all Americans pause.  My thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families, with Israelis and Bulgarians wounded in today’s attack, and with those in Jewish communities throughout the world for whom it has brought a terrible moment of uncertainty and heightened vigilance.  Let there be no uncertainty, though, that the people of the United States stand side-by-side with the people of Israel in their quest for security and the peace all nations deserve.

Democratic National Committee Chair Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz :

I am saddened and outraged by this horrific and brutal attack against Israeli tourists in Bulgaria. On this 18th anniversary of the deadly bombing of the AMIA Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, today’s tragic and senseless attack serves as a constant reminder of the deplorable violence and anti-Semitism that still exists in our world. The United States stands strong with our ally Israel in condemning this atrocity and supporting the unshakable U.S.-Israel relationship. My thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Israel and Bulgaria, and the families of the victims of today’s unforgivable attack.

Representative Shelley Berkley:

Our hearts are with the families of those killed in the horrific Bulgarian bus bombing and our thoughts and prayers for a full recovery are with those injured in this terrorist attack.  Those responsible for this bloodshed and for targeting innocent Israeli tourists in a brutal massacre cannot go unpunished and they must be brought to justice.  No justification ever exists for bombing a bus loaded with innocent men, women and children, and we are once again reminded of the dangers that Israelis face on a daily basis both at home and when traveling abroad.  Americans stand shoulder to shoulder with our special ally Israel at this time of mourning and we share the grief that has been unleashed by this latest terrorist tragedy.

Representative Howard Berman:

I offer my heartfelt condolences to the victims of the terrorist attack against innocent Israeli tourists in Bulgaria and their loved ones.

Representative Jan Schakowsky:

I am deeply saddened by today’s despicable terrorist attack against Israeli tourists in Bulgaria that killed and injured innocent men, women, and children. My thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and loved ones of those who were senselessly massacred.

These anti-Semitic, anti-Israel attacks anywhere in the world must be strongly condemned. The President has said that the United States has an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security and I expect a robust effort to find out who is responsible for this act of terrorism.

Senator Sherrod Brown:

With the 40th anniversary of the 1972 Munich Massacre on the horizon, we are once again reminded that Israel and her allies are still targets of worldwide terrorism. The Israeli victims of this vicious terrorist attack in Burgas,  Bulgaria will not be forgotten and I stand with our allies who want to see the perpetrators brought to justice. Terrorism, in any form, cannot be allowed to stand. I am fully committed to supporting Israel’s right to defend herself. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims.

May peace and solace find them in their time of grief.

Representative Jerrold Nadler:

Disgusted by the cowardly attack on Israelis in ‪#Bulgaria. My thoughts are with the families of the victims and the Israeli people.

Representative Ted Deutch:

The terrorist attack against innocent Israeli tourists in Bulgaria was horrific. We mourn the loss of life & stand w Israel in solidarity.

Representative Eliot Engel:

The United States and the rest of the civilized world must stand with the Israel against terrorism. Until terrorism ceases against Israeli citizens there will not be peace in the Middle East.   The violence must stop, and must stop now.  I find it more than coincidental that on the 18th anniversary of the bombing of the AMIA Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires, an Israeli target was attacked, this time in Europe.   We must stand up to the terrorists, wherever and whenever they strike.  The United States should provide whatever assistance Bulgaria requires to bring the perpetrators to justice. Should Iran or another nation be found responsible, it must be held accountable.

Let us keep all these victims and their families in our thoughts and prayers.

Representative Alcee Hastings:

I was deeply saddened to learn of today’s unconscionable attack on Israeli and Bulgarian tourists.  This kind of senseless violence is an act of cowardice and hatred.  It is yet another unnecessary reminder of the threats Israelis face both at home and abroad.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims during this most difficult time.  I stand with my friends in Israel and the Jewish community in praying for peace around the world.  This tragic event reminds us all that there are still people who choose hate and intolerance over understanding and compassion. We must continue to stand side-by-side with Israel as it pursues a safe and secure future, and we must work together across all racial, religious, gender, and cultural lines and not allow these senseless acts to continue.”

Representative Charles Rangel:

These attacks against innocent people are horrifying and reprehensible. Such violence targeting people for their ethnicity, nationality or religion has absolutely no place in our world.  I join my Colleagues in Congress and the American people in condemning such acts of terrorism.

Today’s horrendous attack reminds us that our Jewish friends are not any safer than they were 18 years ago, when the AMIA Jewish Center in Buenos Aires was bombed. The Israeli people still live under real threat every day. The United States will stand strongly with our Allies to protect the security of the Israeli people.

My thoughts and prayers are with today’s victims and their families and friends. May those who are injured recover soon and the families and friends of the deceased find peace.

Representative Joe Crowley:

I am deeply saddened and troubled by the heinous attack against innocent civilians, including children, in Bulgaria today. There is absolutely no place in any society for this type of cowardly act. Today’s tragedy serves as a painful reminder of the fact that Israel and her people remain under a constant threat of violence. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and those injured as a result of this senseless attack.

UN Commemorates Racist Durban Racism Conference

— Sharon Bender

B’nai B’rith International condemns the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption of a resolution commemorating the 10th anniversary of the 2001 World Conference Against Racism. That event, in Durban, South Africa, was a forum overshadowed by rabid anti-Israel sentiment and deserves to be remembered as embodying the worst aspects of the United Nations.

The vote results included 104 nations in favor of the resolution, 22 against, and 33 abstentions.

B’nai B’rith International commends those nations voting against the commemoration: Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Netherlands, Palau, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Particularly disappointing was the near unanimous bloc of Latin American nations voting in favor of the resolution.

More after the jump.
The proposal to celebrate the original Durban conference has been championed by Arab and other largely non-democratic states, many with records characterized by mistreatment of minorities that have used their collective numbers to push through many anti-Israel resolutions at the world body. Though it is now only in its early planning stages, the Durban commemoration has been scheduled for a time when world leaders are expected in New York in September 2011, and just after the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

“It is tragic that more nations don’t publicly recognize and condemn Durban as the anti-Israel, anti-Jewish free-for-all it truly was,” B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick said. “Our delegates joined other non-governmental organizations in walking out of the conference in 2000 and again during Ahmadinejad’s anti-Israel diatribe during the 2009 Durban Review Conference in Geneva. The prospects for anything positive to take place at a 10-year commemoration are no better.”

The 2001 World Conference Against Racism, with its Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA), implied that Israel alone is a racist nation. Even worse than the U.N. proceedings were the NGO forum and street scenes that saw horrific expressions of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.

“The original Durban conference attempted to validate the perverse theory that Zionism is racism,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “Durban’s legacy of hate, intolerance, and double standards should never be forgotten, and should certainly never be celebrated.”

Following the proposal to commemorate Durban, Canada was the first country to unequivocally state it would not attend such an event. B’nai B’rith is calling on all countries not to participate in “Durban III.”