News Releases 2009
Paris, 14 October 2009
In a letter to European Parliament (EP) President, Jerzy Buzek, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr Shimon Samuels, expressed the Centre's concern that "Lithuanian Parliamentary Speaker, Ms Irena Degutiene, today opened a two-day conference at the European Parliament in Brussels, marking the seventieth anniversary of the Molotov – Ribbentrop pact and its consequences. She is accompanied by officials of the Vilnius-based State Commission for the Evaluation of Nazi and Soviet Crimes, together with other Baltic MPs who, in June 2008, promulgated the 'Prague Declaration' to promote a model of 'two equal genocides' (Nazi and Soviet)."
Paris, 13 October 2009
In a letter to the British daily newspaper, The Guardian, and its Editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr Shimon Samuels, called "ingenuous" the excuses made by the Guardian's news editor, Simon Rogers, for his arguably discriminatory omissions.
Samuels noted that the Guardian's "omitting only Israelis from a list of Nobel Peace Prize winners, dating since the first award in 1978, has been lamely presented as 'technical', 'an accident' in 'data transfer' of 'joint winners'."
The letter suggested that this was "perhaps so for the 1994 entry of Arafat, alphabetically preceding Peres and Rabin. Yet logic would dictate that, for the 1978 entry, Begin would have eclipsed Sadat, not the contrary."
Samuels proposed that, "If a policy of excluding Israeli Nobel laureates should recur, perhaps in the fields of medicine or other sciences, the Guardian must draw the natural conclusion by recommending that its staff and readership deny themselves the research benefits of those scholars."
The Centre lamented: "Excuse us the trauma of recent historical memory if we see in your discriminatory deletion another small step along the path towards the 1930s abyss of Nazi delegitimization and exclusion."
Paris, 7 October 2009
In a letter to Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR, an office of the OSCE) Director, Ambassador Janez Lenarcic, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr Shimon Samuels, called attention to "Spain's contravention of its commitments as a State Party of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe."
Samuels pointed to the announcement by Spanish Housing Minister, Beatriz Corredor, excluding the Ariel University scientific team from the Solar Decathlon Europe competition, as "constituting:
- political discrimination against free academic discourse;
- impugning of the professional reputation, and potentially damages the career advancement, of those disinvited;
- denial, especially to impoverished sectors, vital knowledge for the use of free solar-powered housing."
The letter continued, "In a country where polls indicate a high increase in media-inspired antisemitic expression, this decision by the Spanish authorities certainly violates the OSCE Berlin Declaration on Antisemitism of 29 April 2004, and the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency Working Definition of Antisemitism, disseminated in March 2004 on the grounds of incitement to hatred."
Samuels added, "The Spanish action, moreover, is collective punishment of both the Jewish and Arab students of the targeted Israeli university."
The Centre urged "ODIHR's condemnation of Spain for its discriminatory behaviour."
"A Project to Delete the Holocaust from European History."
Warsaw, 5 October 2009
In a Statement to the 56 member state Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM), the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Chief Delegate and Director for International Relations, Dr Shimon Samuels, exposed a new form of antisemitism emanating from East-Central Europe.
Known as the "Prague Declaration", Samuels Sounded the Alarm on "a Project to Delete the Holocaust from European History":
Paris, 14 September 2009
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre has documented expressions and actions of an antisemitic nature by Egyptian candidate for UNESCO Director-General, Farouk Hosni. These cover his more than two decades as Minister of Culture and include: