News Releases 2019

“Icelandic Hatari (Hate) singers did not keep their commitment. Reykjavik must be disqualified from 2020 contest.”

Paris, 20 May 2019

On 17 April, the Wiesenthal Centre had joined with UKLFI in writing to Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) Executive Supervisor, Jon Ola Sand, to demand depoliticization of this year’s contest in Tel Aviv, which concluded this week-end.

This request specifically applied to Iceland’s Hatari band, which had been proclaiming its anti-Israeli prejudices and threats “in contravention of both the spirit and the rules of Eurovision.”

The Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, noted that “the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) umbrella body for Eurovision had responded that Iceland’s Broadcaster would keep its commitments under ESC Rule 2.6... No lyrics, speeches, gestures of a political, commercial or similar nature shall be permitted during the ESC...”

"Swedish Middle East Policy encourages Jihadi-style intent."

Paris, 15 May 2019

In a letter to Swedish Minister for Home Affairs, Mikael Damberg, Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed horror at “yesterday’s stabbing of a 60 year old Jewish woman, in Helsingborg, active in the local Jewish community.”

The letter noted that, “she is critically injured and reports are that her assailant is a Muslim known to your authorities.”

Samuels remarked that, “apparently the police are treating the case as a common attempted murder. This evades the aggravated penalty if acknowledged as a hate-crime, in this case antisemitism,”... adding, “Even more damning, her pleas for help were reportedly ignored by bystanders.”

Samuels recalled that, "In 2010, our Centre issued a 'travel advisory' on Malmo for police inaction in the face of attacks on the Jewish and Roma communities."

The Centre pointed to the Minister’s special responsability for 'Police Authorities and Counter-Terrorism'...."This behooves you to take action for a speedy arrest and arraignment for antisemitic violence, as a warning to others inculcated to attack Jews and their institutions,”... He also stressed that, “Indeed, Swedish Middle East policy may be considered a contributory factor in encouraging such Jihadi-style intent.”

"Mr. Minister, we count on you to discourage us from further ‘travel advisories’”... “We stand in solidarity with the Jewish community of Helsingborg and pray for the victim’s full recovery,” concluded Samuels.

Paris, 12 May 2019

In a letter to Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) President, Mr. Aleksander Čeferin, Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels expressed shock at “the constant recidivism of the antisemitic behaviour of Feyenoord Rotterdam football Club of the Netherlands.”

The letter noted that:

“In November 2016, an Israeli sponsor of the Club was invited to a match where he heard fans chanting: ‘Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas!’ Determined to annul his sponsorship, an arbitration committee heard Feyenoord’s defence: ‘The chant was not antisemitic, but anti-Ajax Amsterdam" - A Team traditionally supported by Jews before the Holocaust.’

Paris, 8 May 2019

In a letter to French Minister of Justice, Nicole Belloubet, Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed “shock, on behalf of our 3,000 French members and our worldwide membership, at the cancellation of the court sentence against Holocaust denier, Alain Soral (a.k.a. Alain Bonnet), in direct violation of the Gayssot Act of 1990.”

The Centre urged the Minister “to act according to the values enunciated in today’s national holiday, 8 May V-E (Victory in Europe) Day.”

The letter added that, “on 21 January, our Centre exposed the disdain held by many for Alain Soral at the extreme right rally in Rungis. The denial of justice for his Holocaust Denial, by the Public Prosecutor, has now made him into a resurrected hate-hero.”

“Madam Minister, this 74th anniversary of the end of Nazi Occupation and of World War II cannot be sullied by such appeasement and liberation for neo-Nazis and antisemitic hatemongers. Alain Soral is an insult to all those who sacrificed their lives for the freedom we cherish this day,” concluded Samuels.

“This is not a religious problem. It is a social and educational disaster for secular Poland and must be condemned as such.”

Paris, 3 May 2019

In a letter to the Polish Interior Minister Joachim Brudzinski, Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed “shock to learn from our Polish members of Bishop Jez’s antisemitic tirade on Easter Thursday to a packed audience of clergy in Tarnow Cathedral.”

The letter noted that Bishop Jez, “quoting from a 1937 publication, claimed, reportedly, to be a Jewish source, ‘Our national enemy is the Catholic Church. We must start a fight between Christian denominations… begin a pityless all out fight against Catholic priests… Slander then with smears and hatred… take over the schooling system, the Christian religion must disappear from the curriculum’...”