Editorials

Paris, 2 June 2021

To: Mr. Eric Pliez
Mayor of the 20th District
Paris, France

Mr. Mayor,

Both Jewish and non-Jewish members of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre-France have expressed distress at the large banners hung in Rue d’Avron in the 20th District, in particular the one calling for “Palestine Will Vanquish.”

2 June 2021

Mr. Mayor, we fear that such banners will incite to hate and violence against the Jewish community in your municipal district.

We urge you to remove these banners, as such political statements are unbecoming to your municipal party causes of Socialism or Ecology.

Sincerely,

Dr. Shimon Samuels
Director for International Relations
Simon Wiesenthal Centre

* * *

“For evil to flourish, it only requires good men to do nothing.” (Simon Wiesenthal, 1908-2005)

Blog by Dr. Shimon Samuels published in The Times of Israel
29 May 2021

https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/80th-farhud-anniversary-a-precursor-to-2021-violent-international-antisemitism/

The Wiesenthal Centre is proud to join 26 organizations, led by HARIF, the UK-based Association of Jews from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) on 30 May, to commemorate, the 1 June 1941, Farhud Baghdad pogrom against its 2,700-year-old Jewish community.

80 years ago, Nazi Germany inspired then Iraqi Prime Minister, Rashid Ali Al-Gaylani, to unleash the Farhud (“violent dispossession” in Arabic), reportedly leaving over 180 Jews murdered, some 600 unknown bodies in a mass grave, 700 wounded, rapes and destruction of Jewish properties.

“We call on you to use the unfortunate “Apartheid” misnomer as the occasion to join Australia, Canada and the United States in boycotting the ‘Durban 4’ travesty.”

Paris, 24 May 2021

Mr President,

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre is shocked at the undiplomatic and insulting language of Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, in using “Apartheid” in reference to the State of Israel.

Not since President de Gaulle’s June 1967 “Six Day War” reference to “the Jews as an elite people, sure of itself and domineering,” has a French political leader made such a damaging statement towards the Jewish community.

Blog by Dr. Shimon Samuels published in The Times of Israel
16 May 2021
https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/from-corona-lockdown-and-ambulances-to-sirens-rockets-and-shelters/

The euphoric hyphen from vaccinations and dropping masks – a hint of normality – mutated into the shriek of sirens and war. The equation is the bipolar jump into the 48 hours from Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day) to Yom Ha’azmaut (Independence Day), in reverse. My Army Reserve unit was the Senior Education Corps in the IDF Education Office. In peacetime, we would entertain troops with non-military lectures. In wartime – as in the 1978 Operation Litani incursion into Southern Lebanon, sparked by the PLO coastal road busses massacre – we would move from one battery to another during a break in the shelling. There, our role was to get the soldiers to vent as in the role of a psychologist or a rabbi, to raise morale.

Blog by Dr. Shimon Samuels published in The Times of Israel
29 April 2021
https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/is-spain-a-champion-of-the-zionism-apartheid-campaign-of-durban-iv/

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.