News Releases 2017
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>
London 27th March
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre (SWC)/UNESCO exhibition, "People, Book Land : The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People and the Holy Land" was launched in partnership with the JW3 Jewish community Centre in London - the largest in Europe.
JW3 receives over 1,500 visitors per week with activities spanning from cinema to language courses, conferences, and other cultural and sport activities.
Photo from Left to right : Alex Uberti (SWC), Jonathan Arkush, Graham Morris, Shimon Samuels, Michael Goldstein Chairman JW3, Lord Carey, Raymond Simonson CEO JW3
Buenos Aires, 20 March 2017
“People, Book, Land: The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People with the Holy Land" is co-sponsored with UNESCO. After its launch in Paris, it went on to UN Headquarters in New York, US Congress, the Israeli Knesset, the Vatican, Copenhagen Town Hall, the New Delhi Gandhi Centre and the British Parliament.
Opened this week in the CCK Presidential Cultural Centre in Buenos Aires, Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper welcomed the diplomatic representatives of the Exhibition sponsors: Canada, Israel, Paraguay, Poland, United Kingdom and United States, as also those of Azerbaijan, the Holy See, India, Russia, Austria, Chile and Uruguay.
"UNESCO must strip this hypocritical warmonger of his undeserved 'Artist For Peace' Award… The appointment of Naseer Shamma to this prestigious status only diminishes its value and integrity.”
Paris, 7 March 2017
In a letter to UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture, Francesco Bandarin, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, urged "an investigation into the designation of Iraqi Oud star, Naseer Shammah, as 2017 UNESCO Artist For Peace, in view of his belligerent expressions against the State of Israel."
"If the award was granted based upon an incomplete enquiry to substantiate his merit, UNESCO must strip this hypocritical warmonger of his undeserved 'Artist For Peace' Award", argued the Centre.
“This exhibition... explores the deep, unassailable connection between the Jewish people and the Holy Land... a profound relationship that has helped shape the history of all humanity... It is a response to all those who seek to spread lies to fuel antisemitism, including a persistent delegitimization of Israel and the Jewish people.”
Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO
London, 2 March 2017
“People, Book, Land: The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People with the Holy Land” is co-sponsored with UNESCO. Nevertheless, its opening in Paris in January 2014 was delayed by several hostile member-states, including the entire Arab bloc.
Opened this week at the House of Commons in the British Parliament, the Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, noted that, “as the only Jewish organization accredited to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, we have lobbied against Palestinian theft of Jewish and Christian heritage – from the Bethlehem Church of the Nativity in 2012, to the designation of the Tomb of Rachel and the Cave of the Patriarchs as mosques. In 2016, the Western Wall and the Temple Mount were targeted. This year, it may be Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls... This exhibition is a response and a medium for counteraction.”
Youtube link to House of Commons Launch : https://youtu.be/Ubb6RaDjY6c
Lt to R: Board of Deputies of British Jews President Jonathan Arkush, Deputy Israel Ambassador to UK Sharon Bar-li, Ambassador Ron Adam, Joy Wolfe Zionist Federation, JJ Roboh SWC-Europe, Lord Carey, Lord Polak, Dr. Graciela Samuels UNESCO, David Dangoor Exilarch Foundation and SWC-UK, Lord Palmer, Elena Odier Jewish Students Union President Warwick University, Graham Morris Founder of SWC-UK, Dr. Shimon Samuels.
Photo gwp geoffwilsonphotography