News Releases 2018
Paris, 21 June 2018
In a letter to the President of the European Coalition of Cities Against Racism (ECCAR), Benedetto Zacchiroli, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed outrage at England fans’ Nazi salutes and antisemitic chants at the Football World Cup in Russia.
Samuels expressed appreciation for having participated in the ECCAR conference on “Racism in Football” last April in Liège, Belgium, adding, “As you are aware, we are monitoring the current World Cup and draw your attention to the link (below) to a video of England fans celebrating their team’s victory over Tunisia on Monday, 18 June, at the Galeriya Bar in Volgograd – formerly Stalingrad, the site of Hitler’s bloodiest attack in World War II.”
“While terror in the UK is predominantly indiscriminate, in France, Jews are still the privileged target.”
“The current defence system in France is inadequate, as shown by an attack on a teenage student in her Jewish school.”
“Most disturbing is the courts' reluctance to acknowledge the antisemitic nature of attacks.”
Paris, 18 June 2018
In a letter to French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels noted that, “in 2014, Andrew Hussey published The French Intifada and in 2017, French Jewish Parliamentarian, Meyer Habib, called it the ‘knife Intifada’ (‘uprising’ in Arabic, first used by Palestinian terrorists against Israelis).”
Samuels continued, “a France24 news analysis, last night, spoke of the impact of ‘Allahu Akhbar’ screaming attacks on Jewish targets, increasingly upon schoolchildren.”
Blog by Dr. Shimon Samuels published in The Jerusalem Post
12 June 2018
Palestinian and Iraqi Trojan horses at Paris Restitution Committee
A general view of the UNESCO headquarters in Paris (photo Reuters).
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre has saluted the new director-general of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, for assiduous denunciation of politicization throughout her first six months in office. Azoulay’s commitment to bring back the organization to a policy of depoliticization and consensus sends a powerful message to the United States and Israel to consider postponing their notices of departure.
Paris, 12 June 2018
From his campaign for Soviet Jewry to his creation of the Swedish Committee Against Antisemitism, Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden, Per Ahlmark, was a contemporary “Righteous Gentile,” a loyal friend of the State of Israel, who came in wartime to manifest his support and concern for its people.
I was invited to Per’s 70th birthday party in Stockholm in 2009. Already in fragile health, but like the late Simon Wiesenthal, he appreciated a good joke. Simon had called humour “an arm of defenceless peoples.” Per would rollick at political jokes, especially on the Soviet Union.
At his party’s table was told the story of Chairman Brezhnev’s request for a State Visit to Finland to lay a wreath at the tomb of the “unknown soldier.” President Kekkonen was in panic as Finland had no such tomb. An aide suggested that the vault of Sibelius be wrapped in canvas for the occasion. The Russians would not know the difference! That afternoon, a storm hit Helsinki and the wind blew the canvas away. Brezhnev turned in anger to Kekkonen, who responded: “Sibelius was a great composer, but as a soldier he was totally unknown.”
Per was a stalwart ‘soldier’ in a Sweden that had, in political circles, rejected his message of justice and his cause for the targets of hate.
The Jewish people and their friends, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Founder and Dean Rabbi Marvin Hier, its Director for Global Social Action Rabbi Abraham Cooper, its staff and members mourn him.
Our Centre is working with the Sweden-Israel Friendship Association to display across Sweden our exhibition, “People, Book, Land: the 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People to the Holy Land.”
Opened in UNESCO, the UN Headquarters, the US Congress, British Parliament, the Vatican, the Israeli Knesset, Copenhagen Town Hall, the Council of Europe... it will now be shown in Sweden, “dedicated to the memory of Per Ahlmark.” May he Rest in Peace and his family be consoled.
Dr. Shimon Samuels, Director for International Relations
Paris, 5 June 2018
“It is our civic duty to bring to your attention the arrival today of the Gaza solidarity boat Hurriya (Freedom in Arabic) to Brighton, until departure on 8 June,” advised Dr. Shimon Samuels, Director for International Relations of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, to Brighton and Hove Mayor Dee Simson.”
Samuels noted that “the Hurriya is one of four vessels arriving from Sweden and Norway, on their way to breach the Gaza barricade that prevents the smuggling of advanced weaponry to the Hamas terrorist movement, predominantly from Iran – irregardless of potential loss of life.”
The letter continued, “This campaign is organized by the ‘Freedom Flotilla Coalition’, associated with Turkey’s IHH – accused of ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and under investigation for links with Al Qaeda and ISIS.”
Samuels concluded, “Madam Mayor, the organizers plan to use Brighton as a platform for their hate”... “we therefore urge you to take the necessary measures to hold the vessel, investigate the passengers and ensure that the beautiful city of Brighton – where I lived as a child – is not damaged by potential mayhem.”