In the mid-1800's, a group of Jewish-German immigrants sought to find fraternity and fellowship with others of similar background. Although many of these men felt comfortable joining groups such as the Masons and Odd Fellows, others wanted a more ethnic-religious centered group and thus in 1844, the Jewish fraternal order of B'nai B'rith was formed, seeking to reconcile Judaism with American society through voluntary association.
Claims that the organization was founded by Masons (and even if it was, so what?) are false to fact. Only four of the twelve charter members (Jones, Roadacher, Renau, and Isaac Rosenbourg - just 1/3rd) were members of the Masons and Odd Fellows.
Those who seek to condemn the B'nai B'rith for its various and sometimes seemingly controversial political stances (while ignoring its humanitarian activities) still regularly attempt to link it to Freemasonry as part of some harangue relating to a perceived Jewish world conspiracy.
Failing at this (and sometimes even failing at a knowledge of the organization itself), the charge is reduced to "It used to be a requirement of membership in the B'nai B'rith that you had to be a Mason." How silly. If that were so, the majority - 2/3rds - of its CHARTER MEMBERS could not have joined!!!
Clearly, however, anti-Semitism along with the 'lodge' structure initially chosen by B'nai B'rith made this coupling of targets an easy one for those seeking to spread an agenda of hate and mistrust.
The simple facts are that although many Jewish Masons were and continue to be involved in B'nai B'rith, the organizations have always been and continue to be totally separate and distinct.
A Mason from whom we have learned
much, Dr. Roger Firestone, once remarked, "Scratch an anti-Mason and you'll
find an anti-Semite." When the connection between B'nai B'rith and
Freemasonry is raised, you can probably conclude that it's for this purpose....
And if it's not the B'nai B'rith, it's the ADL - Anti-Defamation League - that's being accused of some nefarious connection/control of Freemasonry. The answer is the same: NO!
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