News Releases 2019

“Jordanian fears of a Saudi takeover of the Custodianship for Jerusalem Holy sites, together with Palestinian suspicion of U.S. support for Riyadh, seemed to have split the UNESCO Arab group, thus permitting the so-called 'depoliticization' of the scheduled Jerusalem and Hebron resolutions – as insisted by the firm Azerbaijan Minister of Culture and Chairman of the Committee.”

“Even if non-binding and adopted without debate or vote, the very passage of these resolutions scapegoats the Jewish heritage and are an insult to the Jewish people” ... “The resolutions will reappear at the Paris meetings of the UNESCO Executive Board in October and the General Assembly in November.”

Baku, Azerbaijan, 5 July 2019

5 July 2019
Dr. Shimon Samuels with Dr. Abulfas Garayev, Azerbaijan Minister of Culture
and Chair of Baku World Heritage Committee.

Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations and Chief Observer to UNESCO, Dr. Shimon Samuels, directed the following statement to the UNESCO Secretariat:

“My last intervention at the World Heritage Committee was two years ago in Crakow, when I found myself in the company of a former Mayor of Hebron. He had reportedly murdered six Talmudic students in the Cave of the Patriarchs.

Paris, 2 July 2019

On Sunday 30 June, in the presence of Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon and representatives of the Jewish, Catholic, Protestant and Coptic Christian communities, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo dedicated the Jerusalem Square.

The square’s location is in the growingly Jewish 17th district - the destination of Jewish families fleeing from Islamist-dense suburbs north of Paris.

Mayor Leon stressed his vision of a multifaith Jerusalem at peace with one another.

Mayor Hidalgo responded that, as a World Heritage site, the Holy City was sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims. She noted that Paris had had a Jerusalem Street since the Middle Ages, which was built over in 1883 to make room for the Courthouse.

“In the book of Amos, the Lord warned of the penalty for the three crimes of Damascus... for the fourth I will not relent.”

Geneva, 29 June 2019

A Report from the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, Chief Observer to the UN in Geneva and UNESCO

1) 27-28 June, UN Geneva International Conference on the Question of Jerusalem, convened by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) through the UN Division of Palestinian Rights and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

2) The UN Geneva Human Rights Council regularly lambastes Israel under fixture Item 7: "Israeli Violations of Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories", as opposed to Item 8 Violations of Human Rights everywhere else in the world. On 9 July, there will be a session on “Half a Century of Occupation and Discrimination Towards Accountability and Justice."

3) 30 June, UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Baku, Azerbaijan, with a repeated focus on Jerusalem and Hebron.

“UNESCO cannot be a platform for distortion and hatred.”

Paris, 24 June 2019

In a letter to UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed dire concern at “the forthcoming World Heritage Committee (WHC) document (WHC/19/43.COM/7A/Add.3) issued by UNESCO on 21 June, regarding the ‘Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls’ and ‘Hebron/Al Khalil Old Town (Palestine)’.”

Samuels argued: “As the only Jewish NGO accredited to the WHC, we must speak, not just for our 400,000 members worldwide, but for the Jewish people and for Judaism itself.”

Paris, 20 June 2019

On 4 April 2017, Sarah Halimi, aged 65, was murdered by her Malian 27 year old neighbour, Kobili Traoré, shouting “Allahu Akbar!”

On 3 March 2018, Mireille Knoll, aged 85, Holocaust survivor, was murdered by Yacine Mihoub, a 28 year old of Algerian descent - shouting “Allahu Akbar!” - and Alex Carrimbacus, a 21 year-old marginal youth, who had first met each other in jail.

On 19 June 2019, Madam G., aged 79, exiting a synagogue, was hit on the head by a steel ball thrown from an upper window; she was hospitalized with cranial injury.

The metal object was, reportedly, dropped from the same window as pails of water thrown on worshippers in recent days.

Police are investigating if the attacks were - as expected - of antisemitic intent.

“If so,” stated Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, “we will repeat our message to the French Justice Minister - as in the Halimi and Knoll cases - to end the lengthy psychiatric examination of the perpetrators, once identified.”

The Centre is horrified at recent court decisions ruling that “insanity” or “drug addiction” make these putative terrorists “unfit for trial.”

“May these three Jewish women be the last victims of hate-crime.” concluded Samuels.