News Releases 2020
B R E A K I N G N E W S : The Director-General of UNESCO has committed to discuss this serious situation with the Iranian representative, even though the Tomb of Esther and Mordecai is not a World Heritage site. The Simon Wiesenthal Centre will follow the developments of this case.
“Ironically, a new Haman is now ruling Iran in a reign of terror,”..."If this pernicious threat remains on the table, both Tehran and Ramallah must be suspended in view of their violation of the UNESCO Charter.”
Paris, 20 February 2020
In a letter to UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, the Wiesenthal Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, called “to invoke the UNESCO mandate to protect sites of universal importance in time of conflict, in regard to the Iranian regime’s threat to destroy the Tomb of Esther and Mordechai in Hamadan, a historic shrine holy to Judaism and Christianity.”
"In 2019, we made 107 interventions of which 36 (34%) resulted in positive change. We look forward to constantly raise that threshold."
Paris, 18 February 2020
In view of mounting and increasingly violent antisemitism we select issues where, generally, no other Jewish organisation is involved. Limited resources obviate duplication. For example, as no other is accredited to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, we speak in the name of Judaism against the constant ID theft of the Jewish narrative. This is even more vital since the departure of the United States and Israel from UNESCO.
SWC at rallies: “Against Rising Antisemitism” in Paris and “Against Israel Bashing” at the UN in Geneva.
By focusing on such international institutional antisemitism we often identify and uncover essential, but missed, "holes in the cheese".
Blog by Dr. Shimon Samuels published in The Jerusalem Post
16 February 2020
“Usury” was the grounds for deportation of the Jews of Antwerp by the Duke of Brabant in 1261, who called for them to be expelled or destroyed.
Sir Winston Churchill, 1941. Photo Biblioarchives/Libraryarchives/Flickr.
As Belgium today leads a United Nations Security Council campaign against Israel, while crying for dead Jews of 75 years ago at the Jerusalem Holocaust Forum, we may find Winston Churchill's definition eminently relevant:
"Last year, your Chargé d’Affaires in Cairo closed the American stand on the basis of our report... We urge you to make clear to the authorities that there will be no United States stand in 2021, unless CIBF is hate-free."
Paris, 2 February 2020
In a letter to United States Ambassador to Egypt, Jonathan Cohen, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, noted that, “We monitor the shelves of six Arab book fairs annually for incitement to hatred and violence. We send our findings to the Frankfurt Book Fair, where measures are generally taken to denounce and ban the listed offenders, who violate the contract signed with Frankfurt.”
The letter recalled that, “Last year, the US Chargé d’Affaires in Cairo, Thomas H. Goldberger, responded to our report on the CIBF’s antisemitic texts on display, stating: ‘On receipt of your letter, I immediately contacted the Egyptian Government, on the phone and in writing, to protest the presence of antisemitic materials at the CIBF and to demand that it take immediate action to remove the materials.’... ‘I also instructed my staff to close the Embassy’s booth at the CIBF, and we will not reopen,’... ‘and I have also brought this matter to the attention of the Department of State’.”
Letter to Spanish Prime Minister: “Take measures, on this International Holocaust Commemoration Day, against those who would desecrate memory and banalize Nazi atrocities.”
Paris, 28 January 2020
In a letter to Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed shock “to learn about a brief prepared by the State Prosecutor (Circular 7/2019 on the Signs to Recognize Hate Crime...). This claims that ‘incitement to hatred against Nazis’ can be considered as ‘a hate crime’.”
The Prosecution argued: “The origin of the hate crime is related to the protection of vulnerable communities”... “An aggression against a person of Nazi ideology or incitement to hatred towards such a group can be included in this type of crime.”
Comments included on the web:
- “Would it be a crime to incite to hatred of... ISIS or ETA... or those whose ideology supports the murder of ‘inferior races’?”
Samuels questioned: “Should we expect the imprisonment of Auschwitz survivors for having incited hatred of the Nazis?”
The Centre urged the Prime Minister “to take appropriate measures, on this International Holocaust Commemoration Day, against those who would desecrate memory and banalize Nazi atrocities.”
“A sick joke, a slap at all Holocaust survivors, just like the claim that the Nazis could never forgive the Jews for forcing them to build Auschwitz,” concluded Samuels.