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News Releases 2023

Paris, 16 August 2023

From Dr Shimon Samuels, Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations

To: Mme Tatiana Valovaya, Director General of the United Nations, Geneva
Mr Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva
Mr Anne Willem Bijleveld, Chair of the Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation
Ambassadors, families and survivors of the 19 August 2003 terror attack against the UN headquarters in Iraq

On 12 May 2003, I invited Sergio Vieira de Mello, as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, to our Centre’s “International Conference on Educating for Tolerance - the Case of Resurgent Antisemitism”, opened by then UNESCO Director-General Kōichirō Matsuura.

Sergio was naturally charismatic and his speech was full of the enthusiasm necessary to tackle the challenges ahead and succeed in promoting dialogue and human dignity. After his words, I accompanied him to his car. Three months later, he met his death in Baghdad.

For us – as for many within the UN community – this was a huge loss.

A short while after, I received an invitation to a meeting in Warsaw on “The Future of Europe”. Apparently, Sergio had beforehand suggested my name as key speaker.

The moving Netflix biopic “Sergio” recounts his life from a young Brazilian to a global diplomat for the good.

The Wiesenthal Centre Commends your Memorial this week.

May Sergio and the other 22 victims of terror rest in peace... and be examples, for those who follow in their footsteps, to distinguish the darkness from the light!

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For further information, contact

By Dr Shimon Samuels, Director for International Relations

Paris, 3 August 2023

In the years following the terrorist bombing of the Paris Copernic Synagogue, the French Jewish community was galvanized to create Jewish radio stations and training courses for the protection of Jewish religious and cultural institutions.

On Succoth, 30 October 1980, I accompanied Aliza Shagrir, who had just arrived from Israel, to the corner of rue Copernic. While I continued walking straight ahead, she turned to meet her death outside the synagogue at the hands of a terrorist who has since been identified and is still at large.

In those days, attacks on Jews were imported from the Middle East conflict.

Open letter to Madam Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, Paris
From Dr Shimon Samuels, Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations

Paris, 2 August 2023

Madam Director-General,

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre is delighted to inform you of our work concerning World Heritage:

- With Argentina for Moises Ville, the village founded in 1889 by Jewish immigrants fleeing the pogroms in Tsarist Russia and Eastern Europe;

Open letter to Madam Elisabeth Borne, Prime Minister of France
from Dr Shimon Samuels, Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations

Paris, 30 July 2023

Madam Prime Minister,

We met last February, when we discussed your four-year plan against racism and antisemitism, in particular focused on youth education.

Our Centre saluted the intention to issue arrest warrants for those guilty of incitement to antisemitism under the mask of “freedom of expression”.

Article by Dr. Shimon Samuels published in The Jerusalem Post
23 July 2023

After twenty-nine years since the AMIA atrocity, striving to achieve justice is crucial.

23 July 2023 1
Then-Argentinian President Mauricio Macri speaks at an event in Buenos Aires in memory
of the victims of the 1994 bombing at the AMIA community center, marking the 25th anniversary
of the attack, in 2019 (photo Agustin Marcarian/Reuters).

At 9:53 a.m. on July 18, 1994, a car bomb demolished the AMIA Jewish Centre, leaving 85 dead and over 300 wounded.

In this July of 2023, the wounded and the families of the victims are again demanding that the perpetrators, Hezbollah and its Iranian sponsors, be brought to justice.