News Releases 2021
Blog by Dr. Shimon Samuels published in The Times of Israel
29 April 2021
As the only Jew elected to the International Steering Committee (ISC) of the 2001 World Conference Against Racism, I attended several preparatory committee meetings for the Durban conference, backed at the NGO level by COSATU, the South African Trade Union Congress which obsessively referred to ‘Apartheid Israel’.
At these meetings, I was often prevented from speaking and, on arrival in Durban, I was expelled from the ISC.
On April 25th, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre participated in the worldwide gatherings of Jews and Gentiles, denouncing the travesty of the trial against the murderer of Sarah Halimi, considered criminally irresponsible because under the influence of drugs at the time.
The rally in Place du Trocadéro, Paris, saw over 20,000 in unison with thousands meeting in London, Rome, Strasbourg, New York, Miami, The Hague, Marseille, Los Angeles and Tel Aviv, among others.
25 April 2021
Banner at the gathering in front of the French Embassy.
I had come to Paris in 1980 with the grandiose objective to contain antisemitism. Little did I foresee its nature.
On 3 October, the eve of Sukkot (Tabernacles), I was visiting an Israeli journalist, Tamar Golan. Her houseguest, Aliza Shagrir – wife of the late cineaste Micha Shagrir – had just arrived from Israel. Asking her hostess if she needed anything for dinner, Tamar suggested some dates from the fruit shop three hundred meters away, facing the synagogue on the rue Copernic. We went down to the street together. She turned into Copernic, I continued walking straight ahead. I felt the bomb, where Aliza met her death.
Paris, 20 April 2021
In a letter to UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) President, Aleksander Ceferin, Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed disgust in “last week’s KNVB Cup final in the Netherlands between Arnhem-based SBV Vitesse and the winner, Amsterdam-based AFC Ajax, that was besmirched by Vitesse fans chanting: ‘Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the Gas’.”
The letter stressed that, “this was a clear reference to the mass gassing of Jews in the Nazi death camps and to Ajax Football Club’s history of Jewish support in pre-Holocaust Netherlands.”
“A banality would suggest that, although both Fofana’s antisemitic murders were accepted to have been premeditated, Fofana No.1 went to jail as he and his co-conspirators ‘never inhaled drugs!’”
Paris, 19 April 2021
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, recalled “Youssouf Fofana, as a self-declared antisemite and leader of the so-called ‘Gang of Barbarians’, who was sentenced in France in 2009 to life for the kidnapping, torture and murder of Ilan Halimi three years earlier...”