News Releases 2019
“It took a Holocaust bank scandal to open Mobutu’s Swiss bank accounts”... “Based on that precedent, the British Society of Black Lawyers sought compensation for slavery.”
Paris, 5 April 2019
In a letter to British Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, the Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, applauded the announcement that the long-delayed indemnification to the so-called “Windrush” deported families has now been activated.
In the 1990s, the Centre already viewed restitution as not exclusive to Jewish Holocaust claimants.
The Centre was approached by survivors of slave forced labour, Sinti and Roma, Gays and even officials from Hungary, Italy, Spain and Turkey regarding lost gold.
Paris, 4 April 2019
The first forum devoted to “Intergenerational Survivors of the Holocaust, Jewish Veterans, Hidden Children, Righteous Among the Nations” was held in Paris, 2-4 February 2019. Organised by the Mémorial de la Shoah and 30 partner organizations, including the Simon Wiesenthal Centre and its branch association Verbe et Lumière-Vigilance, the forum proved a great success, with over six hundred attendees.
“For a forever living memory”
All generations were reunited around their common interests, to help look back at the past and go forward towards the future, renew old friendships and forge new ones, work at transmitting the memory of the Holocaust, continue the fight against antisemitism and oblivion of the past. The forum “Generations of the Holocaust” watched over the memory of the 6 million Jews exterminated in the Holocaust, of which 1,5 million were children.
About 50 associations gave financial help to run the forum. Verbe et Lumière-Vigilance donated €3,000.
Blog by Dr. Shimon Samuels published in The Jerusalem Post
4 April 2019
UNESCO Chief Audrey Azoulay speaks at the Internet
Governance Forum at UNESCO HQ (photo Reuters).
The United States and Israel left the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization on December 31, 2018.
On April 11, the organization’s 58-member executive board will vote on the twice-a-year resolutions on “Occupied Palestine... Jerusalem and its Walls,” “Palestinian Education, Youth,” etc., and on the “Occupied Syrian Golan.”
“Of the six Arab Book Fairs we annually monitor, antisemitic texts are sadly the most numerous in Riyadh."
"We urge you to adopt the necessary measures to vet participating publishers for all forms of hate, on the same level as offences to Islam... We suggest that a paragraph be included in the contract signed by the stands with the Fair, prohibiting all incitement to hatred and violence.”
"Our findings in Riyadh are shared with the Frankfurt Book Fair authorities and the United States Embassy to take appropriate steps regarding the 2020 Fair.”
Paris, 31 March 2019
In a letter to the Saudi Arabian Minister of Information and Media, Turki bin Abdullah Al-Shabbana, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, protested the volume of anti-Jewish hate at this year’s Riyadh Book Fair.
UNESCO Paris Headquarters, 21 March 2019
At the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity Bureau meeting this morning at UNESCO, the Wiesenthal Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, congratulated Bureau Chair Ambassador of Colombia and the Ambassador of Austria for leading support for a strong resolution condemning the Belgian Aalst Carnival antisemitic float.
Left to right: Dr. Claudia Reinprecht, Austrian Ambassador to UNESCO,
Dr. Samuels , Dr. Anna Steiner, European and International Cultural Policy
Department of the Austrian Federal Chancellery.
“In response to the Wiesenthal Centre’s demand for action by UNESCO, to deprive the ‘Aalst Carnival’ of its Intangible Cultural Heritage status, the outrageous float portraying Orthodox Jews, seated on gold coins, among rats, was today deemed by the Bureau as 'pure and simple antisemitism’,” asserted Samuels.
Poland supported the Austrian position, while “Palestine” and others added a paragraph to the draft resolution on “racism and Islamophobia.”
The six member-state body (Austria, Colombia, “Palestine,” the Philippines, Poland and Zambia), proposed that the Bureau’s resolution be presented at the Intangible Cultural Heritage larger Committee meeting, in Bogotà, Colombia, next December.
To launch proceedings for the Aalst Carnival to be delisted sets a precedent in the Committee’s 26 year history.
Samuels shared the Centre’s position also with UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture, Ernesto Ottone, who last week publicly condemned the float. The Intangible Heritage Committee Director, Timothy Curtis, also expressed sympathy. The Ambassador of Belgium indicated that judicial measures are under consideration to penalize the Carnival.