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News Releases 2019

“If justice is perverted and murder excused due to drug addiction, this sets a precedent for every drunk driver to be similarly so acquitted.”

Paris, 25 May 2019 

Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed to French Minister of Justice, Nicole Belloubet, that he was “sickened at the reopened ruling of the investigating magistrate in the 65 year old Sarah Halimi case, to treat her self-confessed murderer as ‘mentally unfit to stand trial due to his marijuana intoxication’.”

“… It is just over a week since our congratulatory letter, regarding the 16 May police ‘reconstruction’ of the murder of 85 year old Holocaust survivor, Mireille Knoll. We had viewed this as a major step forward in the case.”

Samuels argued, “Both crimes were irrefutably antisemitic, violently committed by their respective neighbours, shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ during the killing,”... adding, “If justice is perverted and murder excused due to drug addiction, this sets a precedent for every drunk driver to be similarly acquitted.”

“Such a judgment not only denies justice to the victims’ families. It also encourages further antisemitic violence. We call for a full investigation into an absurd judicial procedure that scoffs at the values of the Republic,” concluded Samuels.

Buenos Aires and Paris, 23 May 2019

The Latin American Football Confederation (Conmebol) Disciplinary Court has fined the Chilean Football Club "Palestino" $30,000 for having used an international match "to carry out unsportsmanlike demonstrations". It was also  warned in the event of repeating the violations of an equal nature.

On April 2, 2019, the official stadium spokesman for a match against Alianza Lima of Peru, broadcasted a call to the public to support "the liberation of Palestine".

This was not the first such occasion. Last time, the number "1" on the club's teeshirt, was superimposed by a so-called "map of Palestine", thus wiping Israel off the map. This had served as grounds for a former sanction by the ANFP ( National Association of Professional Soccer) of Chile together with the Conmebol.

“Icelandic Hatari (Hate) singers did not keep their commitment. Reykjavik must be disqualified from 2020 contest.”

Paris, 20 May 2019

On 17 April, the Wiesenthal Centre had joined with UKLFI in writing to Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) Executive Supervisor, Jon Ola Sand, to demand depoliticization of this year’s contest in Tel Aviv, which concluded this week-end.

This request specifically applied to Iceland’s Hatari band, which had been proclaiming its anti-Israeli prejudices and threats “in contravention of both the spirit and the rules of Eurovision.”

The Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, noted that “the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) umbrella body for Eurovision had responded that Iceland’s Broadcaster would keep its commitments under ESC Rule 2.6... No lyrics, speeches, gestures of a political, commercial or similar nature shall be permitted during the ESC...”

"Swedish Middle East Policy encourages Jihadi-style intent."

Paris, 15 May 2019

In a letter to Swedish Minister for Home Affairs, Mikael Damberg, Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed horror at “yesterday’s stabbing of a 60 year old Jewish woman, in Helsingborg, active in the local Jewish community.”

The letter noted that, “she is critically injured and reports are that her assailant is a Muslim known to your authorities.”

Samuels remarked that, “apparently the police are treating the case as a common attempted murder. This evades the aggravated penalty if acknowledged as a hate-crime, in this case antisemitism,”... adding, “Even more damning, her pleas for help were reportedly ignored by bystanders.”

Samuels recalled that, "In 2010, our Centre issued a 'travel advisory' on Malmo for police inaction in the face of attacks on the Jewish and Roma communities."

The Centre pointed to the Minister’s special responsability for 'Police Authorities and Counter-Terrorism'...."This behooves you to take action for a speedy arrest and arraignment for antisemitic violence, as a warning to others inculcated to attack Jews and their institutions,”... He also stressed that, “Indeed, Swedish Middle East policy may be considered a contributory factor in encouraging such Jihadi-style intent.”

"Mr. Minister, we count on you to discourage us from further ‘travel advisories’”... “We stand in solidarity with the Jewish community of Helsingborg and pray for the victim’s full recovery,” concluded Samuels.

Paris, 12 May 2019

In a letter to Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) President, Mr. Aleksander Čeferin, Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels expressed shock at “the constant recidivism of the antisemitic behaviour of Feyenoord Rotterdam football Club of the Netherlands.”

The letter noted that:

“In November 2016, an Israeli sponsor of the Club was invited to a match where he heard fans chanting: ‘Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas!’ Determined to annul his sponsorship, an arbitration committee heard Feyenoord’s defence: ‘The chant was not antisemitic, but anti-Ajax Amsterdam" - A Team traditionally supported by Jews before the Holocaust.’