News Releases 2017
"Tehran patronage of terror, antisemitism and homophobia demands it be on the agenda of the next UN Human Rights Council session in June."
Paris, 24 April 2017
In a letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, noted that "recent exposure of the barbaric treatment of Chechen homosexuals has been brought to the attention of the Russian administration and is of worldwide indignation," adding, "apparently, however, the reported torture and execution of gays by the Iranian regime has slipped under the Human Rights Council's radar screen."
The letter recalled that, "Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov's comment that "there are no homosexuals in Chechnya" is a repeat of former Iranian President Ahmadinejad that "there are no homosexuals in Iran"... "Our Centre suggests that this language was more a statement of policy than demography".
“… her (Israel’s) existence constitutes a clear violation of all international conventions and norms based on fundamental human rights.”
“United States and like-minded member-states should call for full investigation into ESCWA and its validity and financing as an agency for economic and social development”.
Paris, 20 April 2017
ESCWA, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, is one of the five regional Commissions established by the U.N. to deal with economic and social issues, the others being: EC Europe, ESC for Asia and the Pacific, EC Africa and EC Latin America.
“Four indeed deal with economic and social development, best practices and regional integration. ESCWA, based in Beirut and comprising 18 Arab countries (Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen and, of course, ‘Palestine’) apparently now dabbles in antisemitic hate,” argued the Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels.
“Mr./Madam Candidate, do you endorse the position of current Director-General Irina Bokova that, “to deny conceal or erase any of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of the City of Jerusalem and runs counter to the reasons that justify its inscription in the UNESCO World Heritage List.”
Paris and Jerusalem, 21 April 2017
Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, and Dr. Jürgen Bühler, President of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, together submitted four questions on Jewish and Christian Heritage, Antisemitism, Jerusalem, and the peril to Christians in the Middle East to the nine candidates for the post of UNESCO Director-General. The candidates from Azerbaijan, China, Egypt, France Guatemala, Iraq, Lebanon, Qatar and Vietnam are to be interviewed by the UNESCO Executive Board in Paris on 26-27 April.
Drs. Samuels and Bühler stated, “In view of your forthcoming interview, our respective constituencies would appreciate your responses to the following questions,” adding
“From Ilan Halimi to Sara Halimi your responses can provide an element of hope...Your silence will be regarded, at best, as indifference.”
Paris, 6 April
In a letter to each of the 11 French Presidential candidates participating in the 23 April first-round elections, Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, protested "yesterday's horrific act in the 11th district of Paris – the murder of a 60 year old Jewess, Sara Halimi, reportedly, by an Islamist who threw her from her apartment window, screaming 'Allahu Akbar'.”
Samuels continued “what began in 2006 with the hostage-murder of Ilan Halimi, to the Toulouse Jewish school, the Hyperkasher massacre and countless other assaults, have made France the most dangerous country for Jewish life. The state of emergency against terrorism will be lifted after the Presidential elections. Already, military security is being removed from sensitive Jewish targets.”
The letter polled each candidate:
Paris, 31 March 2017
In a letter to Ambassador Michael Worbs, Chair of the UNESCO Executive Board, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed astonishment to find “among the nine candidates for the post of UNESCO Director-General – on your list of 16 March and to be interviewed by the Executive Board on 26-27 April – there appears Qatar Minister of Culture, Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari.”<http://en.unesco.org/executive-board/dg-candidates-2017>
The letter noted that, “only yesterday, Qatar supported a draft resolution contesting all Israeli/Jewish ties to Jerusalem, both East and West.”
The Centre reported that, “for five years, 2012-2016, our Centre has awarded its annual “Worst Offender Prize” at the Frankfurt Book Fair to the Qatari stand, “for fomenting conspiracy theories and Jew-hatred”, continuing, "in a 2015 letter to Culture Minister Al-Kawari, already then regarding press reports of his proposed UNESCO candidacy, we called his attention to the antisemitic hate-fest under his authority at the Doha International Book Fair. There was no response": <http://www.wiesenthal.com/site/apps/s/content.asp?c=lsKWLbPJLnF&b=4442915&ct=14539137>