News Releases 2018
Open letter by Dr. Shimon Samuels and Dr. Ariel Gelblung published in The Times of Israel
8 May 2018
Paris and Buenos Aires, 7 May 2018
H.E. Miguel Juan Sebastián Piñera Echenique
President of Chile
We have learned that you will be receiving this week the Holocaust denying antisemitic Palestinian President, Mahmud Abbas.
We understand that Chile has the largest number of citizens of Palestinian origin outside the Palestinian Territories.
We are certain that the Abbas visit can only serve those who wish to transplant the Middle East conflict to Latin America, with devastating consequences for the small Chilean Jewish community.
Open letter by Dr. Shimon Samuels published in The Jerusalem Post
6 May 2018
“As leader of the British Labour Party, your silence has endorsed a new form of hate: antisemitic sexual abuse.”
Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn (photo Peter Nicholls/Reuters)
As a Labour Party member, my uncle, Simon Bromberg in 1936, had joined in fighting off the British Union of Fascists – against the Oswald Mosley Blackshirts – in the so-called “Battle of Cable Street,” in London’s heavily Jewish East End.
Born at the end of the World War II, I was raised acutely aware that 25 miles of water – the British Channel – had saved my family from the Holocaust on the opposite shore.
Buenos Aires, 4 May 2018
Since March 2018, the Argentine Atlantic seaside resort, Mar del Plata, has been the site of first public trial against a Neo-Nazi group.
Their members had met to “hunt” down their targets, among them immigrants, homosexuals, or those whom they considered racially inferior. Physical assaults were accompanied by vandalism.
The Prosecutor had tried to negotiate with the accused to accept a minor penalty without imprisonment, by removing accusations of conspiracy and other violations of criminal law.
The Wiesenthal Centre led the charge against such accommodation in a public campaign to convince the judges not to yield to the Prosecutor and to impose an appropriate jail sentence.
Yesterday, the Court ruled that six of the defendants serve between 4 and 9 years in prison.
The judges argued that “if ideas are allowed to be imposed by force or fear, citizens could not feel themselves protected by a minimum of security.”
“Latin America may eventually provide a new jurisprudence for democracies in Europe and beyond in the aftermath of its totalitarian military regimes. This trial is a mirror reflecting the defense of the republic,” said Dr. Ariel Gelblung, Representative of the Wiesenthal Center for Latin America.
The Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, emphasized that “Argentina, the country that – at the end of World War II – received the most Nazi war criminals, cannot afford leniency to neo-Nazis. Our Centre is proud of its role in this landmark case and will be vigilant in monitoring all future such dangers to democracy.”
"As the only UN Agency with a special mandate for the protection of the integrity of the Holocaust, it is obligated to speak out and condemn Abbas for his desecration of the victims.”
Paris, 3 May 2018
In a letter to UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, stressed that “UNESCO is the only UN Agency with a special mandate for the protection of the integrity of the Holocaustits commemoration and education.”
Samuels lamented, “Yet, our constituency, especially in Europe, is asking one question: ‘Where is UNESCO when Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian President - in an address to the Palestinian National Council in Ramallah - launched an antisemitic tirade desecrating the memory of the Holocaust and its victims?’"
The letter noted that, “Abbas’ lesson in Holocaust denial has been deemed unacceptable by the European Union, but where is UNESCO?”
“Of the sixteen Steering Committee members, 14 voted for, 2 abstained.”
Liège, Belgium, 27 April 2018
The UNESCO-affiliated network of 150 European municipalities, ECCAR (European Coalition of Cities Against Racism), founded in 2004, at its annual Assembly in Liège, Belgium, today admitted its first two Israeli members. Of those present and voting members of the Steering Committee, 14 approved and two abstained.
(left to right) Shimon Samuels, Ruth Wasserman-Lande, Moti Dotan, Benedetto Zacchiroli, Naem Shibli and Graciela Vaserman-Samuels