News Releases 2019

“UNESCO status brought thousands of tourists to the Carnival. Delisting is no guarantee for a hate-free Aalst Carnival... We will be monitoring and,if necessary, take measures to inform our worldwide membership and other friends of the dangers in visiting a hatefest.”

13 December 2019

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, commended the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity Committee for its denunciation of antisemitism in setting the precedent for delisting one of its members, the Belgian town of Aalst. Its Carnival had received the prestigious UNESCO status in 2010. 

SEE BELOW TODAY'S UNESCO Press Release on "Aalst Carnival Withdrawn from the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity"

“Only Israeli tourists in France must be warned to tell their children: ‘speak anything but Hebrew until we leave for home.’”

Paris, 11 December 2019

In an open letter to French Minister of the Interior, Christophe Castaner, Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, noted that, “only last week, I sat in the National Assembly (Lower House of Parliament) applauding your speech that welcomed the vote accepting anti-Zionism as a form of antisemitism... It took only a few days to encounter a new threat.”

The letter continued, “For French Jews, it is considered dangerous to wear a ‘kippa’ on their head in public... Now, even speaking Hebrew openly is considered as a provocation.”

An Israeli student in Paris dared to speak in Hebrew in a phone conversation with his father, while on the metro. He was then beaten to unconsciousness, reportedly by two “Africans.”

“Could this be a precedent for speakers of English, German, Chinese or Arabic... Hardly likely,” argued Samuels, adding, “I recall a Minister of Culture, Jacques Toubon, whom I asked for an example that would violate his ‘Law to protect the French language’... He jokingly responded, “walking down the Champs Elysées with the International Herald Tribune (now renamed The New York Times International Edition) under your arm.”

“But the status of Hebrew is, apparently, no joke. It is another vector for antisemitism... Only Israeli tourists in France must be warned to tell their children, ‘speak anything but Hebrew until we leave for home!’,” concluded Samuels.

Blog by Dr. Shimon Samuels published in The Jerusalem Post
10 December 2019

Among endangered minorities in Europe, it is mainly the Jews who are killed twice.

10 Dec. 2019
Graves desecrated with swastikas are seen at the Jewish cemetery in Westhoffen,
near Strasbourg, France (photo Reuters).

Last week, another Jewish cemetery in Alsace, France, was defaced by swastikas on 107 tombstones.

On a late Sunday afternoon in September 1988, driving from Paris to London, I passed through the suburb of Streatham. On an off chance, I turned into the street of the Jewish cemetery where 23 members of my family were buried. I visited my mother’s grave, then continued to the older rows to my grandparents’. The tombstone was cracked and defaced as were many others in that section.

The Hague, Netherlands, 6 December 2019

Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, attended “Hearings on the Situation in Afghanistan,” as “Amicus Curiae” to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Other partner NGOs were the United Kingdom Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI), the Lawfare Project, the International Legal Forum, My Truth and the Jerusalem Institute for Justice.

The ICC, headquartered in the Dutch capital, the Hague, was created in 2002 based upon the  “Rome Statute.”

The late Simon Wiesenthal had enthusiastically welcomed the Court as a contemporary Nuremberg Tribunal to prosecute latter day cases of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Indeed, investigations were launched against suspects across the world and tribunals established after the massacres in Rwanda, Cambodia, Bosnia or Sierra Leone.

Paris, 4 December 2019

“Following a 3 hour Q&A devoted mainly to terrorist dangers in France, the National Assembly (Parliament’s Lower Chamber) spent a further 2 hours debating the draft Resolution to adopt the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) Definition of Antisemitism,” explained Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, who was present throughout.

“MP Sylvain Maillard, from the majority governing party, led the presentations for adoption, followed by other centrist leaders. Among them was Mr. Meyer Habib, elected to represent the overseas French expatriates of the Mediterranean region, including Israel,” added Samuels.