News Releases 2019
Blog by Dr. Shimon Samuels published in The Jerusalem Post
25 November 2019
'Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité' poses unique challenges for France's Jews
A French gendarme inspects swastikas painted on a wall of a former synagogue
turned into a cultural center in Mommenheim near Strasbourg (photo Reuters).
The representative body of French Jewry, CRIF, just held its 10th annual convention, titled “Fractured France – Can We Unite Against Antisemitism?”
As a member of the CRIF Commission for Political Studies, the Simon Wiesenthal Center was present. Speakers were drawn from across the political, religious, intellectual and media spectra.
“Aviapartner baggage handlers allegedly claimed they were overburdened with work... but, while all other flight passengers serviced by them got their baggage on time, only the Tel Aviv passengers had to wait two tense hours...”
“We hope the internal enquiry will be swift, transparent and conclusive to unveil a form of antisemitic boycott resulting in disciplinary measures.”
Paris, 12 November 2019
In a letter to Clive Sauvé-Hopkins, CEO of Aviapartner airport services company, Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed “shock to learn that, Sunday afternoon, the passengers of Transavia Flight from Tel Aviv to Lyon were left waiting for two hours for their baggage, in what appeared to be a deliberate form of boycott by Aviapartner baggage handlers.”
“Stand after stand of Hitler’s 'Mein Kampf', the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion' forgery and countless antisemitic conspiracy theories... For young Arab readers, UNESCO appears to endorse the bigoted stereotypes of Jews, as expounded by Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran... Damning at a time of reconciliation between Gulf States and Israel, now facing common enemies.”
"The list below is just a taste of this obsessive-compulsive vomit of hatred... We urge you to publicly condemn and, forthwith, to strip the SIBF of the title of 'UNESCO Book Capital of the Year'."
Paris, 7 November 2019
In a letter to UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, noted that “the Centre annually monitors hate on the shelves of Arab international book fairs.”
“The last Fair this year, in Sharjah, UAE, is arguably, the most vicious. To our horror, the current Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF 2019) is held under the auspices of UNESCO, as ‘UNESCO World Book Capital’, stated Samuels.
“We are concerned at possible mimetic effect on others bent on antisemitic atrocity... and also the denial of justice if the would-be perpetrator is claimed to be insane or under the influence of narcotics.”
Paris, 4 November 2019
In a letter to Nice Mayor, MP Christian Estrosi, Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, commended his condemnation of the foiled incident at the Nice Jewish School “Or Torah,” forestalled by the school guard and arrested in flight by the rapid arrival of the Nice police.
Samuels recalled Estrosi’s role in the 2005 renaming of a High School in Saint-Vallier-de-Thiey, near Grasse, to 'Collège Simon Wiesenthal'.
The Centre, however, expressed “concern at two potential dangers:
- Despite the fact that, this time, the would-be perpetrator was reportedly unarmed, the intent carries a possible mimetic effect through social media on others bent on antisemitic atrocity.
- The denial of justice if, yet again, the accused is claimed irresponsible because insane or under the influence of narcotics.”
“Mr. Mayor, in your long-term roles as President of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Region, as Member of the French National Assembly and an active friend of Israel, our Centre would be delighted to work with you in the battle against antisemitism in France,” concluded Samuels.
"Belgium Officials are reportedly lobbying for a simple rebuke... We are calling for Aalst delisting from UNESCO's prestigious Intangible Cultural Heritage Status."
"As the first woman and Jewish Prime Minister of Belgium, we urge your support for delisting at UNESCO and to take punitive measures against apparent recidivist bigotry."
Paris, 29 October 2019
In a letter to newly appointed Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations Dr. Shimon Samuels, congratulated her appointment, bringing to her attention "the international outrage at the antisemitic floats at the Aalst Carnaval", describing the pernicious situation :