News Releases 2012

A Report from St. Petersburg, Russia, by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations,Dr.Shimon Samuels

1 July 2012

Today, by a two-third majority of 13 to 6 member states voting and 2 abstentions,the UNESCO World Heritage Committee(WHC) has inscribed "the Birthplace of Jesus, Church of the Nativity,the Pilgrimage Route,Bethlehem" as a Palestinian Heritage site

"We are Outraged that France intends to Vote for Palestinian Heritage over Bethlehem Church of Nativity"

St.Petersburg, Russia, 27 June 2012

In a letter to French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr.Shimon Samuels, expressed "outraged to learn that France is the only European State-Party to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee(WHC) that will vote in support of Palestinian heritage status over 'The Birthplace of Jesus, the Church of the Nativity and the Bethlehem pilgrimage route'".

"Acknowledge World Jewish Heritage Sites from Diaspora to the Holy Land"

St.Petersburg, Russia, 27 June 2012

As the only Jewish organization accredited to the 36th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting in St Petersburg, Russia, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre focussed its proposal on "the role of heritage  as a powerful tool in tolerance-building".

"Investigate Alleged Meeting of your Vice-President for Middle East in Gaza with Hamas Terrorist Leadership"

Paris, 25 June

In a letter to World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr.Shimon Samuels, "urged an investigation into the meeting in Gaza, reported last week, of Inger Andersen - his Vice-President for Middle East and North Africa - with Hamas political leaders."

by Shimon Samuels

In my youth in England, football was not considered an appropriate pastime for a good Jewish boy. 

Hence my passive appreciation of "the beautiful game" was platonic : "play" for the footballers, "tonic" for me. 

The 8 June opening of the Euro 2012 championship in Warsaw was a personal epiphany.