News Releases 2017

"Mr. Saudi Ambassador to UNESCO: 'United States President Donald Trump is about to visit your country. An occasion when you will wish to present an image of supporting dialogue and tolerance between different cultures and civilizations... At a time when Riyadh shares with Jerusalem, mutual existential concerns, we demand the closure forthwith of this hatemongering course.

"Such an offence to Islam in any Western campus would result in a loud protest supported by our Centre. This is surely not the face of Saudi Arabia you wish Mr. Trump to see."

Paris, 21 May 2017 

In a letter to Saudi Ambassador to UNESCO, Ibrahim Youssef S. Albalawi, the Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr.Shimon Samuels, noted that "United States President Donald Trump is about to visit your country, undoubtedly, an occasion when you would wish to present an image of supporting dialogue and tolerance between different cultures and civilizations."

Update: The map was removed from the Gaza Coca-Cola bottling factory premises following our intervention (read below)

 “UNESCO-sponsored Palestinian teachers NGO visited the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Gaza, to present the management with a map made out of plastic bottle-caps given to them by the company as part of the corporate initiative: "Beauty of your environment from the bin of your home…

But this was not an innocent environmental exercise: This map shows a “Palestine” totally obliterating the State of Israel with the beverage logo as backdrop.”

Each of the so-called ‘rumors’ listed on the Coca-Cola website, claimed as ‘offensive to Muslims’, have led to an immediate Coca-Cola investigation, condemnation and apology… We call for no less in this case of offence to Israel and the Jewish people.”

Paris, 14 May 2017

In a letter to Coca-Cola President and CEO, James Quincy, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, drew his attention to “a disturbing abuse of your corporate good name.”

“We are aware that the Palestinian demand to expel the Israeli Football Association may be raised at the FIFA Council and Congress, respectively on 9 and 11 May… We call, on the contrary, for the Palestinian Football Association to be expelled until all names of terrorists are removed from Palestinian teams, tournaments and stadiums.”

Paris, 4 May 2017

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, wrote to FIFA (International Federation of Football Assiciation) President Gianni Infantino and to the Head of FIFA's Disciplinary Department, Jaime Cambreleng, to protest Palestinian continued attempts to politicize football, by demanding FIFA’s expulsion of the Israeli Football Association (IFA). 

“On the contrary, the Palestinian Football Association (PFA) should be expelled for its violation of FIFA regulations,” argued Samuels.

Blog by Shimon Samuels posted on The Times of Israel
3 May 2017

On Israel’s 69th Independence Day, the 58 member-states of the UNESCO Executive Board voted yet another pro-Palestinian resolution denying Israeli/Jewish ties to Jerusalem.

The resolution passed as expected with 22 votes ‘yes’ to 10 votes ‘no’ ( Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Paraguay, St.Kitts Nevis, Togo, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States) marking the disunity of the European Union and African,Caribbean and Latin American possibilities for breakthrough.

Following the vote,Germany exulted at recognition in the text of Jerusalem, Hebron and Bethlehem as holy for the three monotheistic religions. Argentina noted the political content that has its place elsewhere. Brazil concurred. The United States condemned deepening politicization that erodes UNESCO’s prestige. Sweden recognized efforts of Palestinian and Jordanian amendments adding that, as European unity was impossible we voted yes. The Israeli Ambassador, wrapped in an Israeli flag, exclaimed ‘here we are and here we Stay’. Jordan stressed that on the Holy sites of Jerusalem both Muslim and Christian sites are of highest priority. The Palestinians closed with this vote will not change our policy. We will continue to fight for Palestine and Jerusalem.

More worrying was the little-noticed vote for the follow up “cultural” resolution 31 on “Israeli military confrontations in the Gaza Strip…prevention of Palestinian school children and students from exercising fully their right to education…Israeli censorship of the Palestinian curricula of schools and universities in East Jerusalem…calling on UNESCO to preserve the human, social and cultural fabric of the occupied Syrian Golan…”

This resolution passed 18 ‘yes’ to 1 ‘no’ (the United States) with 39 abstentions

The next step in this exponential I.D. theft of the Jewish and Christian narratives will take place at the July UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Krakow, Poland where its 21 member-states will vote yet again on Jerusalem and possibly – on the Palestinian wish-list – Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The most dramatic events, however, will happen in November at the General Conference of all member-states. There the new Director-General will be elected – a hot favourite being the Minister of Culture of Qatar Likewise, the new Chairpersons of the General Conference and of the Executive Board will be appointed.The hot tickets – wait for it!

-For General Conference: Saudi Arabia

-For Executive Board: Iran (this is no nightmare… it is for real!)

At that moment, UNESCO will stand at the edge of the abyss. Will it take a giant step forward?

"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.