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News Releases 2020

“If the burning of Notre-Dame Cathedral would have been arson, would the public accept that the arsonist be charged only with ‘causing damage to property’?”

Paris, 15 October 2020 

Last week, Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, commended the Mayor of Paris, the French Interior Minister and the police for its rapid arrest of the person who painted swastikas along the fashionable rue de Rivoli.

Our 2020 “Worst Offender Award” is shared by Lebanon and Syria for their obsessive-compulsive antisemitic conspiracy theory titles in their catalogues... Runner-up goes to Iran for its recidivist incitement.

Paris, 13 October 2020 

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre is, for the 18th year, the only non-governmental organization to monitor incitement to hate and violence by publishers at the Frankfurter Buchmesse (FBM) – the “Olympics of Book Fairs.”

This year, the regular 7500 exhibitors from 105 countries and 300,000 visitors will be absent due to the Pandemic. Nevertheless, through Zoom and virtual hi-tech, publishers will present their titles, unfortunately including voices of hate.

Paris, 12 October 2020 

Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, commended the rapid arrest of the suspect who painted some 20 red swastikas around the Louvre Museum in rue de Rivoli, a main street in central Paris, over the week-end.

“During the German occupation in World War II, red Nazi swastika flags were flying along the entire length of rue de Rivoli. The headquarters of the Military Governor of Paris (Gauleiter) was situated in the Hotel Meurice on that street... It was an eerie sight to see swastikas back,” stressed Samuels.

The charged suspect is apparently in his early thirties and born in Georgia.

Paris Mayor, Anne Hidalgo, stated, “preventing such intolerable acts is part of our mission... Cleaning teams will intervene quickly to erase all traces of these messages.”

The Centre also backs French Interior Minister, Gerald Darmanin’s “thanks to the Police for its rapid response.”

“Now we only await a similar approach from the judiciary to refuse an acceptance of such behaviour – as seen too often in recent cases – on grounds of psychiatric issues or narcotics/alcohol intoxication,” concluded Samuels.

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"There is no Freedom without Justice." (Simon Wiesenthal, 1908-2005)

Paris, 3 October 2020

The Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, acknowledged messages of solidarity with the Jews of France, following Friday night’s antisemitic destruction of the kosher hamburger restaurant “Mac Queen” in Paris’ 19th District, dubbed “Petit Jérusalem” (Little Jerusalem).

“Messages from the Mayor of the District, the Mayor of Paris, the Minister of the Interior and the Prime Minister were welcome, but unlikely to carry the teeth necessary to reassure French Jewry,” claimed Samuels.

The graffiti were clear: “Out with the Jews”, Swastikas and SS signs alongside “Hitler was Right”, “Jews = Dirty, Queers, Thieves” and “Free Palestine”, representing a mix of extreme right and Jihadi slogans, an alliance which puts anything Jewish in the line of fire.

“Madam Prime Minister, we are sure that when choosing a family vacation, you would avoid a country where Nazis run free...” “Iceland, in all its beauty, is being abused in the name of hate.”

Paris, 2 October 2020

Following our letters to the Swedish, Danish and Norwegian Prime Ministers, in regard to the spat of antisemitic posters outside synagogues and Jewish institutions, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, addressed outrage to the Prime Minister of Iceland, Katrín Jakobsdóttir.