News Releases 2015
Paris, 22 June 2015
In a letter to UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) President, Michel Platini, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, protested “Spain's Mundo Deportivo (Sports World) newspaper columnist, Xavier Bosch reported claim that a 'Jewish lobby' with 'unlimited money and inordinate influence... control the world and its international institutions'.”
Samuels noted that this lobby is apparently accused of "pressuring FC Barcelona to end its $200 million shirt sponsorship deal with the Qatar Foundation,” and that, “Mossad agents had infiltrated the Club for years.” This calumny is thought to refer to allegations that previous Barcelona Club President, Joan Laporta, had employed private investigators to spy on players – a charge perhaps aimed to impact on Laporta's current campaign for reelection on 18 July.”
The letter emphasized that, “even more damning is the quoted response of Mundo Deportivo's Barcelona editor, Fernando Pola: '[Bosch] is simply concerned about the external pressure [FC Barcelona] and its Board are receiving against the Qatar sponsorship... Bosch just wants the best for the Club, without opposition from outside. There is no antisemitism in his article. He is against any kind of lobby: French,German, Jewish'.”
Samuels argued, “one wonders which is more dangerous? The columnist's expressions deemed 'antisemitic' under the European Union's definition or the antisemitism of indifference of the editor?”
The Centre urged UEFA “to investigate these reports and, according to your findings, demand of Mundo Deportivo the dismissal of Xavier Bosch and an apology for having offended both the Jewish people and the beautiful game.”
“Zapata, due to serve as officer for Culture and Sport, tweets: 'How does one fit 5 million Jews in a [SEAT] 600 car?... In the ashtray!’”
Paris, 15 June 2015
In a letter to Madrid Mayor, Manuela Carmena Castrillo, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, noted that she “was elected on 24 May 2015 on the left-wing factor 'Ahora Madrid' (Madrid Now) and the 'Podemos' (We Can) protest movement.”
Samuels pointed to one of her city councilors, also of 'Ahora Madrid', “Guilermo Zapata, who was due to serve as officer for Culture and Sport, but outrageously tweeted: 'How does one fit 5 million Jews into a [SEAT] 600 car?... In the ashtray!'”
Blog by Dr. Shimon Samuels published in The Times of Israel
5 June 2015
In 1991, upon independence from the crumbling Soviet Union, the Latvian post office issued a set of postage stamps in honour of its previous 1940’s ‘independent’ Air Force, each plane decked with the swastika. It was our appeal to the Universal Postal Union that led to their withdrawal.
In similar situations, the Charter or mission statements of the World Trade Organization (WTO),the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO),UNESCO, the Council of Europe (CoE), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and others of the global alphabet soup have proven useful benchmarks in naming, blaming and shaming their states-parties, whether for antisemitism or, increasingly, boycott.
“Orange divestment from Israel justified as 'wanting to be one of the trustful partners of all Arab countries', evokes 1930s Western companies seeking to be 'partners of the Nazis' or those currently eager for sanctions busting trade with Iran.”
Paris, 5 June 2015
In a letter to the United Nations 193 member-state International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Secretary-General, Houlin Zhao, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed concern at "threats by Orange Telecom CEO, Stéphane Richard, to join the Arab boycott of Israel,” continuing, “as the French government owns 25% of Orange, it is for France to keep its non-discriminatory and universalist responsibilities to the ITU vision,’Committed to Connecting the World’:
- ITU makes phone calls possible... ITU standards, protocols and international agreements are the essential elements underpinning the global telecommunication system.
- ITU powers the mobile revolution, forging the technical standards and policy frameworks that make mobile and broadband possible.
- ITU works with public and private sector partners to ensure that information and communication technologies (ICT) access and services are affordable, equitable and universal.”
Samuels argued that, “Richard's statement: 'We want to be one of the trustful partners of all Arab countries', presents a zero-sum, either/or, conclusion precluding fair-trade and evoking 1930s Western companies seeking to be 'partners of the Nazis' or those currently eager for sanctions busting trade with Iran.”
The Centre called on the ITU “to admonish France for the offensive language of its Orange Telecom company and demand from its CEO an apology to the Jewish people, lest Jews worldwide invoke their client privilege by divesting from Orange.”
“Will your 20 million euro training programme for Islamic instructors be similarly 'Nazirein'?, serving as a recipe for Jihadism and ISIS recruitment?”
Paris, 1 June 2015
In a letter to German Federal Education Minister, Dr. Johanna Wanka, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed shock “at the intent of her Bavarian coalition partner, CSU MP Klaus Steiner, who in the regional Parliament unabashedly called 'to exempt Muslim students and other immigrant pupils from mandatory visits to concentration camps, which are normally part of the Holocaust educational programme'. According to his speech in the Bavarian Parliament, CSU MP Kurt Steiner, argues that 'there are a lot of children from Muslim families who do not have a connection to our past... We have to approach this topic carefully with these children'.”