News Releases 2017

"Most worrying is that such hatred is the backdrop to the resolution denying Jewish heritage in all Jerusalem, East and West, to be voted at the end of the session."

Paris, 25 April 2017

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre is attending the 201st session of the UNESCO Executive Board by its Permanent Observer, Dr. Shimon Samuels.

Samuels noted that "the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization was founded in the aftermath of World War II, to expel the forces of hate and prejudice from the discourse of diplomacy."

This week, the 201st Executive Board of 58 member-states will interview nine candidates for the post of Director-General to succeed Ms. Irina Bokova in November.

"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: