News Releases 2018
Paris, 12 April 2018
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre Permanent Observer to UNESCO, Dr. Shimon Samuels, reported:
- Two resolutions were passed today, in the 204th UNESCO Executive Board, without debate or vote, based on consensus and resulting in great kudos for the new Director-General, Audrey Azoulay.
- Three spoiler statements followed passage:
. Turkey called for a fact-finding mission to Jerusalem.
. Indonesia expressed concern for the state of educational institutions in “Palestine”.
. Jordan accentuated that Jerusalem was in danger and would ruin the mandate of UNESCO.
On the other hand:
- The United States expressed gratification at the achievement of consensus, suggesting that these are resolutions that have torn UNESCO apart and that consensus should be the procedure for the World Heritage Committee and the next Executive Board.
- St. Lucia hoped that this be an example for depoliticisation also at the UN in New York.
- Israeli Ambassador, Carmel Shama HaCohen, congratulated the United States, the European Union, other states and the Secretariat, that had been involved in the negotiations.
The Israeli delegation made clear that this was a good kick start, but a tiny step in a long walk. One occasion is not sufficient to indicate change. Israel is still the only state singled out, but we trust the Director-General to keep the commitments made.
The session returned to its established agenda.
London, 12 April 2018, Yom HaShoah
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre - United Kingdom organized its Ninth Annual Simon Wiesenthal Memorial Lecture at the St. John’s Wood Synagogue in London. The guest speaker was writer and columnist Melanie Phillips on the subject “UK Jews: Time to Leave?”
It was chaired by Dr. Alan Mendoza, President of the Henry Jackson Society, and six candles were lit by host Rabbi Yoni Golker in memory of the six million Holocaust victims.
Left to right: Graham Morris, Shimon Samuels, Alan Mendoza, David Dangoor,
Melanie Phillips, Anthony Yadgaroff, Rabbi Yoni Golker.
Wiesenthal Centre to World Trade Organization and International Air Transport Association: "Suspend Kuwait for its National Carrier's Discrimination."
"Kuwait Airways rejection of Israeli passenger violates your organizations' non-discrimination principles,thus requiring Kuwait's suspension."
Paris, 8 April 2018
In letters to World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Roberto Azevedo, and to International Air Transport Association (IATA) CEO Alexandre de Juniac, Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed "the deep concern of our members at the ban on Israeli passengers practised by Kuwait Airways, a state-controlled company of the government of Kuwait."
Samuels argued that "a government may determine the right to entry into its sovereign territory and to whom it may issue a visa... It is patent discrimination, however, when a passenger is refused embarkation - due to ethnicity, gender, religion or national identity - on flights profiting from International Air Services Transit Agreement (IASTA), known as the 'Seventh Freedom': 'The right to carry passengers or cargo between two foreign countries without any continuing service to one’s own country'."
Perhaps the grisly stabbing and burning of Mireille Knoll has awakened a new conscience regarding Judeophobia in France. The question was: for how long? But were we naive: the very same day of the march, the French Jewish Student’s office at the Paris Sorbonne University was sacked and covered with stickers proclaiming: “Death to Israel,” “Long Live Arafat,” “Zionist racist anti-Goy office.”
A disturbing response to a hopeful day.
Paris, 28 March 2018
Thousands marched this evening, from the Place de la Nation to the home of the murdered 85 ye ar-old Holocaust survivor, under the banner: “United we Stand Against Antisemitism.”
The many Simon Wiesenthal Centre members present accepted the ban on institutional placards.
Plain-clothed police put on armbands to head off scuffles with members of the extreme right National Front and the extreme left champions of BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) against Israel. These activists had been warned against participating but refused the ban, and were finally forced to withdraw.
Marchers of every background were very emotional, especially faith leaders. All walked in silence.
“Rest in peace Mireille.” Photo SWC-France
It should be recalled that the last such demonstration against antisemitism was the 250,000 strong outraged at the 1996 exhumation of a recently deceased man from his grave in the Jewish cemetery of Carpentras. The body was left hanging from an umbrella.
Since then, the kosher supermarket massacre was protested, but only in conjunction with the previous day’s atrocity at the Charlie Hebdo satirical journal headquarters.
All other such marches have been “Palestine” solidarity antisemitic hatefests, with calls of “Death to the Jews, Out with the Jews” and the Muslim threat “Khybar, Khybar” (in recollection of the Prophet Muhammad’s massacre of a Jewish tribe in Arabia).
These demonstrations often concluded in violent attacks on synagogues and Jewish-owned shops.
Perhaps the grisly stabbing and burning of Mireille Knoll has awakened a new conscience regarding Judeophobia in France.
The question was: for how long? But were we naive: the very same day of the march, the French Jewish Student’s office at the Paris Sorbonne University was sacked and covered with stickers proclaiming: “Death to Israel,” “Long Live Arafat,” “Zionist racist anti-Goy office.”
A disturbing response to a hopeful day.
Sarah Halimi’s Posthumous Victory: “Paris Court Acknowledges Mireille Knoll’s Savage Murder as Antisemitic.”
“Reported police negligence must be investigated and penalized.”
Paris, 26 March 2018
Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, commended the Paris Court “for acknowledging within 24 hours that the brutal murder of 85 year old Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll was motivated by antisemitism.”
The Centre noted that “her murderer – two suspects have now been detained –, one name made public as Youcine, was apparently the victim’s neighbour. He had allegedly threatened her on several occasions over a long period... This has been confirmed by her son.”
“Rounded up at the 1941 Vel d’Hiv arrest of Jews, Mrs. Knoll had survived the Shoah to be stabbed and burned to death,” stated Samuels, continuing, “the police who, reportedly, received notices of the danger to Mrs. Knoll and the threats from her neighbour, must be investigated and be penalized for their unbelievable negligence.”
“The gravity of this case is even more shocking in the aftermath of a similar scenario in the April 2017 murder of 66 year old Sarah Halimi. For months, her brutal murder by her neighbour who threw her from a balcony to her death, to the cries of ‘Allahu Akhbar’, was denied an antisemitic character... In the case of Mireille Knoll, at least the Court has granted Mrs. Halimi a posthumous victory.”
“How many more defenceless French Jewish victims will it take for the police to enact the necessary measures?” concluded Samuels.