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Paris, 29 January 2023

The Wiesenthal Centre recognizes the city of Lyon as having been one of the strongholds of anti-Nazi Resistance during World War Two. It is also where SS and Gestapo officer Klaus Barbie, a.k.a. “the Butcher of Lyon”, was responsible for torturing and killing up to 4,000 adults and children and deporting 7,500 Jews to their death in Auschwitz. It took 40 years to track him down and bring him to justice.

The past week was marked by the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which coincides with the 78th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau by the Red Army. Palestinian terrorists decided to mark the date by launching rockets on Israel and letting loose gunmen to kill Jews.

The State of Israel wishes to avoid escalation, but media reported celebrations of the terror attack in the West Bank, in and around Jewish Jerusalem. Worldwide, incitement to hatred and violence continues unchecked.

This coming week, on the 1st of February, Grégory Doucet, the Green Party Mayor of Lyon, has summoned a conference entitled “30 Years After Signing the Oslo Accords: Overview on Palestine” – with the following invited speakers:
- Abaher El-Sakka, Sociology Professor at Birzeit University, West Bank;
- Jean-Claude Samouiller, President of Amnesty International France;
- Benoit Van Keirsbilck, Director of Défense des Enfants International;
- Christian Velud, Senior Lecturer on the Middle East at Lyon University;
- Salah Hamouri, “Franco-Palestinian lawyer... former political prisoner”.

The Wiesenthal Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr Shimon Samuels, expressed outrage as “Hamouri is far from being a ‘former political prisoner’. As a member of the terror group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Hamouri was condemned for his role in the attempted murder of Israel’s Chief Rabbi and other offenses. He had been freed with 1,026 other prisoners in exchange for Israeli hostage Gilad Shalit. He was rearrested for ongoing activity with the PFLP. Hamouri was finally expelled to France last month...”

How could a terrorist be celebrated as “guest of honour” by Lyon’s Municipality?

This “conference” is bound to be a travesty set to bashing Israel with defamatory allegations of “apartheid” or “colonialism”...

Each speaker will have his own role:
- Amnesty International’s infamous report on “Israel’s Apartheid” will be highlighted. Many observers consider it so biased as to tarnish the long-earned reputation of the organization.
- A child rights’ advocate will insist that “Israel abuses Palestinian minors”, ignoring Hamas’ recruiting children to become Shaheed (martyrs), Islamic Jihad’s launching rockets from playgrounds or the Palestinian Authority’s spewing antisemitism in school textbooks...

Yesterday, a 13-year old Palestinian perpetrated a terror attack in Jerusalem, shooting and seriously wounding Jews before being injured and arrested by the Israeli Police. Will this minor be considered abused by Israel, or rather by those who incited him on a killing spree?

Questioned on the one-sidedness of this conference, the Mayor of Lyon is reported to have suggested inviting also a Jew to speak... At a table focused on attacking Israel? This suggestion would be hilarious, if it were not horrifying. Who would volunteer to sit next to a terrorist wanting your death!?

The Wiesenthal Centre urges the Mayor of Lyon to cancel this exercise in hate. “This conference is yet another form of the banalization of evil,” concluded Samuels.

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For further information, contact Shimon Samuels at