News Releases 2017
Paris, 16 November 2017
“Iran’s campaign to control the the 58 member-state UNESCO Executive Board ended abruptly today as South Korea was elected Chair, receiving 32 votes to Iran’s 25, with one abstention. Korea had entered the race following the distribution of a Wiesenthal Centre exclusive exposure,” claimed the Centre’s Director for International Relations and Permanent Representative to UNESCO, Dr. Shimon Samuels.
The Centre had revealed the so-called “UNESCO Prison” in Dezful on the Iran-Iraq border. It also documented the attack by Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, on the UNESCO 2030 Education programme, lambasting its objectives for “gender equality” and Tehran’s deliberate arrest of journalists on “UNESCO Freedom of the Press Day,” as also the detention of Turkish speaking Iranians to snub “UNESCO’s [Minority] Mother Tongue Day.”
“Clearly the vote also mirrored the growing fear among Sunni Muslim countries at Shi’a Iran’s imperialist threats to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and beyond. Its nuclear ambition – unfettered by the JCPOA agreement, its sponsorship of terror through its Hezbollah agency worldwide, its genocidal intent against Israel and its obscene design: ‘The Holocaust is a lie, let’s make it a reality!’ have all created a sulfuric tinder-box… hardly appropriate to Chair the very motor of the so-called intellectual arm of the United Nations,” concluded Samuels.
Paris, 9 November 2017
Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels was invited to join an Honorary Committee of six diplomats from El Salvador, Hungary, Israel and Switzerland and representatives of CRIF (Council of French Jewish Institutions), the Memorial to the Shoah, Yad Vashem, Yahad in Unum, the Elie Wiesel Institute and the Women’s Co-operation Council, In Memory of Righteous Gentile, Carl Lutz.
Left to right: Frederic Hayat, Shimon Samuels and Xavier Cornut.
Recognized as a "Righteous Gentile", this Swiss diplomat as Vice-Consul in Budapest, provided Hungarian Jews with protection certificates. After a confrontation with Adolf Eichmann, the architect of the Holocaust, Lutz conceived of an elaborate stratagem to place 76 residential buildings in Budapest under diplomatic extraterritoriality, in which he housed thousands of families. Protecting these quarters from the SS, he is credited with saving 62,000 men, women and children from deportation to Auschwitz.
Paris, 8 November 2017
Report by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, Dr. Shimon Samuels:
"Of the 58 member-states Executive Board, 28 today stood for reelection or replacement: 8 were reelected; 20 replaced; 30 states remain until 2019.
Of those who generally vote against Israel:
- 10 are newly or reelected: Cuba, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Morocco, Turkey, St. Lucia, Venezuela and Zimbabwe;
- Of those remaining until 2019, the 9 deemed problematic are: Iran, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, South Africa and Sudan;
- The United States’ departure is being debated, as to whether it may be replaced by another member of 'Group 1' Western states.
In summary, today’s election has left 19 of the 58 Executive Board states whose declaratory policies are anti-Israel.
On the other hand, current political circumstances – Sunni versus Shi’a or Gulf versus Qatar – can improve the operational environment.
In summary: one third of the Executive Board may be deemed problematic for Israel, though some are likely to moderate their policy in the context of a shifting configuration of interests, thus leaving Israel in a potentially improved situation.
Nevertheless, the next challenge is the forthcoming election of the Executive Board Chair, the favourite being Iran…"
Divergent Visions of 2030 – The Iranian Supreme Leader and the Saudi Crown Prince
Paris, 8 November 2017
Dr. Shimon Samuels, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Permanent Representative to UNESCO, explained that “this week, a third of the Executive Board of 58 States – the motor of UNESCO – will be elected, for a four-year term.”
“Next, the new Chair of the Board will be selected from the Asian Group, which is led by Iran as the sole contender.”
"Following the Centre’s exposure of Iran's ‘UNESCO Prison’ in Dezful close to the Iraqi border, the arrest of teachers on UNESCO International Mother Language Day and of journalists on UNESCO Press Freedom Day, the Delegate of South Korea in disgust, put forward his candidacy,” noted Samuels.
Blog by Shimon Samuels posted in The Times of Israel
3 November 2017
The concept of “nation” has no universal definition, but has been acknowledged as “a population which shares, inter alia: a common history, traditions, language, territory and, sometimes, faith.
The Italian, German and Polish nations existed virtually, while atomized in principalities or partitioned under foreign occupation.War has constantly shifted borders for the French and Russian nations. Britons existed centuries before the consolidation of a Great Britain. Each of these “nations” accrued power by occupying others with a policy of divide and rule.
Thus was born the 1917 Balfour Declaration — highly prized by the nascent Zionist Jewish national liberation movement — but a function of British colonial policy displayed by competing promises to every possible ally of the moment: Muslim and Hindu in the Indian Raj, “Palestinian Jews” and Arab leaders in Arabia.
In the midst of war against the Prussian, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires, France, Britain and little Belgium carved up Africa with lines drawn on maps cutting through tribal territories or “proto-nations”.