Paris, 19 January 2018

Senior Wiesenthal Centre officials, Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper and International Relations Director Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed alarm at meetings in the French Ministries of Interior and Justice, regarding the latest antisemitic hate-crimes in the Paris suburbs. These included yesterday’s 2 a.m. home attack on a Jewish man and, a day earlier, the slashing of the face of a teenage Jewish girl leaving her high school.

“We expressed our frustration over French Judges’ continuing failure to impose adequate sentences to perpetrators of violent assault on Jews,” stressed Cooper.

“Bluntly put, the French judicial system currently appears to be failing to deter such crimes,” added Samuels.

At the meetings, the Centre also pressed for an explanation of the sudden unannounced repatriation to Canada of Hassan Diab, the accused suspect in the deadly bombing of the Rue Copernic synagogue in Paris, during the High Holy Days in 1980.

The Centre urged that “the public trial of Diab go forward with or without his presence in court” ... “After 38 years of waiting for justice and three years since his extradition from Ottawa to Paris for trial, the families of the 4 murdered and the 41 wounded survivors deserve better from France and Canada,” asserted Cooper and Samuels.

The Centre’s officials also met with Audrey Azoulay, the new Director-General of UNESCO, to emphasize that “against the backdrop of the United States and Israel’s announced departure, the Director-General should do everything in her power to stop new UNESCO resolutions that would continue to deny the 3,500 year relationship of the Jewish people to its land.”

19 Jan. 2018
UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay with Rabbi Abraham Cooper and Dr. Shimon Samuels.

“We also called on her to take strong initiatives on behalf of endangered faith communities,” reported Rabbi Cooper.

“The Centre told the Director-General that it was ready to work with her to oppose the creeping politicization of UNESCO,” concluded Samuels.