TheFridayReport: 'Amazing, this could not be coming soon enough'
07/09/21 Dear Friend: Shabbat Shalom. Welcome to the latest edition of TheFridayReport. In the near future, this report will be transitioning to The Abraham Global Peace Initiative, our community's new and exciting Global Voice for Humanity. The over-arching reaction to the initiative has been - 'Amazing, this could not be coming soon enough'.
The world gets it. The old way of fighting antisemitism, hate and intolerance and advancing the cause of freedom, democracy and human rights simply hasn't worked. Given the spate of assaults and tearing of the very fabric of societies, a new paradigm is being invented by The Abraham Global Peace Initiative.
Congratulations have been pouring in over this past week as the Jerusalem Post broke the story in Israel and the Jewish diaspora and the National Post wrote a detailed story about our vision as we get rolling over the next few weeks and months. J-Post said, "A high-profile group of Canadian and international leaders is assembling around the initiative with the objective of moving the needle when it comes to combating international antisemitism".
We are in no hurry setting up this high profile organization. Our working-soft launch date is September 9th, marking Rosh Hashanah. We are already working on our educational programs, events and exciting initiatives. Many people are starting to ask - "how can we help?" At the moment, please simply register your contact information on this platform (on the home page) at www.avibenlolo.org
We promise to be in touch as soon as we complete building out our framework. We are welcoming everyone on the planet who shares our values. In the next year, we plan to expand our network further to Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Jerusalem, Buenos Aires and the Middle East and Europe. We welcome voices from these nations and regions.
In addition to our exceptional and high-powered board of directors and advisors, some of whom were announced earlier this week, we are proud to announce that top Drs. Mark Korman (below) and Philip Solomon (left) will be Chairing our exclusive Board of Governors.
With a commitment to human rights, Israel and to Holocaust studies, both have exhibited tremendous leadership and commitment to advocacy over the years. It is an honour and a pleasure to have them aboard.
In shifting our paradigm to confront new challenges, we are also examining new and innovative approaches to education. Guided by Ph.D. level educators who have the credentials and expertise in the classroom, The Abraham Global Peace Initiative is working to develop a global curriculum.
In today's National Post, along with Dr. Karine Rashkovsky and Dr. Neil Orlowsky (incoming Co-Chairs of AGPI's Academy for Human Rights, we wrote that:
"Taking up the challenge of the latter, as experts in education, we now believe that we have been doing Holocaust education wrong all these years. Instead of teaching good character, we taught information in a factual, linear method. For instance, we taught people how Hitler rose to power — but not how the German people were supposed to grapple with the ethical dilemma they were thrust into. When students asked us how the Holocaust could have happened, we explained it to them but failed to engage with them on a human level. Instead of teaching kindness and compassion, we told students about the Final Solution. When students asked us questions, we turned to blurry black and white photos, Hollywood movies, or textbooks, all disconnected from how education and media can be used as tools of socio-political indoctrination. Instead of teaching how to take action in the face of injustice (and requiring them to do so), we have been teaching them about Nazi propaganda".
We said that "we know that rather than being told what to think, students need tools to learn how to think critically. To confront the impending dangers in our world today, strife and turmoil, the Abraham Global Peace Initiative will soon be deploying a global human rights curriculum that builds in a strong character component".
And this cannot come at a better time given everything that is happening in the world today. By accentuating character, morality and ethics, we can confront the illusion that all "social justice advocacy" is the same. It's not. Hamas is not a social justice organization. Its a terrorist organization. This week, it was caught training underage children how to kill, defying global conventions on child-soldiers.
Strong character builds clearer perspective between right and wrong. What our educational programs and our overarching philosophy aims to accomplish is a re-establishment of a moral compass. I have discussed this at length in my writings. We need people who exhibit kindness, compassion and caring, no matter the situation.
Anne Frank, despite her age and innocence noticed the importance of character while hiding in the attic. She said, "human greatness does not lie in wealth or power, but in character and goodness". Many people have lost this perspective. Learning from the past and preserving the future, our organization will focus on these critical human values.
What causes Antisemitic vandals to blowtorch and deface a Holocaust memorial, as was done in the French city of Grenoble this week? With the surge in hate crimes all over the world, the answer is not necessarily education - but poor moral conviction. Our institution will strive to refocus the narrative and bring to the fore character and goodness.
Register for alerts here at www.avibenlolo.org
You can also find coverage in the Jerusalem Post: https://www.jpost.com/international/new-canadian-human-rights-organization-to-launch-to-combat-antisemitism-673177
ABOUT: Avi Abraham Benlolo has been described as the nation's most prominent and noted expert in Holocaust studies, in countering Antisemitism and promoting human rights. He has dedicated nearly three decades in executive capacities, was founding President and CEO of a major organization in the Jewish community, has raised over $150 million for charities and is a leading voice in Canada. His academic research, graduate degree, Ph.D. coursework and nearly three decades of professional work has focused on these arenas in addition to peace and security in the Middle East. He has published hundreds of articles in these areas. In recognition of his national and international leadership in this area, he has received numerous awards including an Honorary Doctorate from a prestigious Israeli university for his work in Holocaust studies and combating antisemitism; an Order of Vaughan for his distinguished contribution to anti-racism, equity and diversity; the Queens Diamond Jubilee Award for his contributions to Canada and a race relations award for best practice, based on distinguished service in promoting human rights.
As a supporter of Israel, he is proud to have established "The Avi Benlolo Scholarship Fund in National Security" at Haifa University.