2018 News Releases

Pope Francis, Peace in the Middle East Cannot Be Built With Platitudes Op-Ed by SWC's Rabbis Abraham Cooper and Yitzchok Adlerstein


Dear Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg: Just kick the Holocaust-denying bums off of your platform, once and for all - by Rabbi Abraham Cooper


Why would there be any space for Holocaust Denial on Facebook? Watch Interview with SWC's Rabbi Cooper


State & Broadway's Lawrence Scherer and SAG-AFTRA's Sarah Howes Lead Government Advocacy Internship Program Seminar on The Inside Role of Lobbying in Advocacy


The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Government Advocacy Internship Program held its 4th weekly seminar last night on The Inside Role of Lobbying in Advocacy. This seminar was led by one of New York’s most respected and influential lobbyists, Lawrence Scherer, a founding partner of the firm State & Broadway.

The program's participants were hosted by SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild – America Federation of Television and Radio Artists) and were joined by Sarah Howes, their Director and Counsel for Government Affairs and Public Policy.





Throughout the seminar, program participants were shown how to research, craft, package, strategize and pitch issues successfully to government officials and their staffs for their forwarding in legislative, regulatory, budgetary and executive order fashions.

For more information, please contact the Center's Communications Department, 310-553-9036. join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter feed.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

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When Being Great Is Not Good Enough by Rabbi Abraham Cooper


Wiesenthal Centre at British Parliament: “Iranian INTERPOL Suspects in the AMIA Bombing Would Be Arrested on British Soil for Extradition to Argentina”

 “Meeting was dedicated to the memory of assassinated AMIA Prosecutor Alberto Nisman”

July 19, 2018

On the  24th anniversary of the AMIA Buenos Aires Jewish Centre bombing that  left  85 dead and over 300 wounded,  officials of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in the United Kingdom were hosted by the Henry Jackson Society (HJS) at a Parliamentary event, entitled “In the Shadow of the AMIA Bombing: Global Terror and the Threat Today.”  

 (Pictured left to right: Tom Wilson, Anita Weinstein, Shimon Samuels, Lord Trimble, Argentine Ambassador Sersale, Ariel Gelblung, Michael Caplan and Dana Erlich) 

Chaired by Lord Trimble, Nobel Peace Prize laureate for crafting the Northern Ireland “Good Friday Agreement,” the meeting was opened by Wiesenthal Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, and dedicated to “the memory of its 86th victim, AMIA Prosecutor Alberto Nisman.”

He stressed that “the meeting’s objective was to examine the application of the pending INTERPOL ‘Red Notice’ arrest warrants, or under universal jurisdiction, for the detention and extradition to Argentina of the Iranian perpetrators.” Samuels read two messages of support from the current President of AMIA, Agustin Zbar, and Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General, Luis Almagro.

H. E. Renato Carlos Sersale di Cerisano, Argentine Ambassador to the United Kingdom read a message from his Foreign Minister, Jorge Faurie. "Together with the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in 1992, these two attacks constitute the two major acts of international terrorism perpetrated in our country's history... The Argentine Government is fully committed to seeking justice on behalf of the victims.... to ensure that all those involved in the attack are brought before the Argentine courts..."

Israeli Embassy Counsellor, Dana Erlich, of Argentine descent, also spoke of the Israeli Embassy bombing in Buenos Aires in which she had lost friends.

AMIA bombing survivor, Anita Weinstein, had come to London to present a moving testimony: "I was preparing the 100th anniversary of AMIA at the back of the building, when the explosion left me on an open ledge above the carnage below... I had become the target of hate, I, the daughter of Holocaust survivors."

Tom Wilson, HJS Research Fellow on Radicalization and Terrorism, claimed that "Iranian state-sponsored terrorism is not taken seriously in the UK, while British soldiers were killed with weapons provided by Iran in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Likewise, Al-Qaeda senior figures were sheltered in Iran, from where they guided lone-wolf, low-tech terror with stabbings and car rammings in the UK."

Dr. Ariel Gelblung, Advocate and Buenos Aires-based SWC-Latin America Representative, explained that "there are four parallel legal cases in Argentina emanating from the AMIA bombing:

1) President Carlos Menem and former judge Galeano, among others, are subject to a trial for cover-up;

2) Former President Cristina Kirchner and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, are subject to a trial following their Memorandum of Understanding with Iran;

3) The case for murder of AMIA Prosecutor Alberto Nisman;

4) The reopened case against the five remaining Iranian suspects."

Michael Caplan QC, British expert on extradition and universal jurisdiction, argued that any of the Iranian suspects were to land on British soil, in view of the INTERPOL Red Notice, must be stopped and detained. The Police would then inform Argentina, whereupon Buenos Aires would issue a request for arrest and extradition proceedings.

Samuels thanked all participants, hoping that “this meeting be a first step in the pursuit of justice and closure for the families of terror victims and survivors of terror worldwide.”

He summarized: "I am confident that if the perpetrators were to arrive in the UK, they would be apprehended and an arrest warrant issued by an Argentine judge would serve as a catalyst for their extradition."

 

Pictured at a reception at the Argentine Ambassador’s residence following the meeting  (L-R):  Lord Trimble, Ariel Gelblung, Anita Weinstein, Michael Caplan, Argentine Ambassador Sersale, Tom Wilson, Graciela Vaserman Samuels, Shimon Samuels and Miguel Abadi



Wiesenthal Center Rebukes Mark Zuckerberg For Saying Facebook Won’t Delete Holocaust Denial Posts

Center official says “Holocaust denial is the quintessential ‘fake news’"

July 18, 2018  

The Simon Wiesenthal Center today criticized Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's comments that they would allow posts denying the    Holocaust to stay posted on the social network. In an interview for Recode.net, Zuckerberg said that while he found Holocaust denial to be offensive, “…at the end of the day, I don’t believe that our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong. I don’t think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong…” He also said that as long as posts are not organizing harm against others, “then you can put up that content on your page, even if people might disagree with it or find it offensive.” (image from the Center's Digital Terrorism and Hate 2018 Report) 

“Mark Zuckerberg is wrong. Holocaust deniers only come in two flavors-- those who don’t want to believe there was an Auschwitz and those who want to finish the job, like Iran,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Wiesenthal Center’s Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action.

After a 2009 meeting--which Cooper says was the first recognition by any social media platform that they had a responsibility to deal with “fake news”—the Wiesenthal Center got a commitment from Facebook officials that Holocaust denial posted on behalf of states like Iran for propaganda purposes to denigrate Jews would be removed

“Holocaust denial is the quintessential ‘fake news’. The Nazi Holocaust is the most documented atrocity in history, allowing the canard of Holocaust denial to be posted on Facebook, or any other social media platform cannot be justified in the name of 'free exchange of ideas' when the idea itself is based on a falsehood,” Rabbi Cooper concluded.

For more information, please contact the Center's Communications Department, 310-553-9036. Join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter feed.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

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Wiesenthal Center Slams Inclusion Of Fascist Singer Thompson In Croatian Football Team Celebration/ Reception In Zagreb
July 18, 2018

Jerusalem-The Simon Wiesenthal Center today harshly criticized the inclusion of the notorious Ustasha sympathizer singer "Thompson" in the celebration reception held in Zagreb this past Monday to welcome home their national football team, which surprisingly placed second in the recent World Cup competition held in Russia this past month.

In a statement issued here today by its chief Nazi-hunter and director of Eastern European Affairs, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center noted that Thompson was notorious for singing songs which called for the murder of Serbs and related nostalgically to the notorious Croatian concentration camp Jasenovac and its adjacent womens' camp Stara Gradiska. By inviting Perkovic to sing at this mass celebration, at which no politicians or performers were scheduled to appear, gives his fascist views a legitimacy they do not deserve.

According to Zuroff:

"Marko Perkovic has never missed an opportunity to transmit his hateful messages. It is no accident that numerous people show up at his concerts wearing Ustasha uniforms and/or symbols and give Ustasha salutes. He should not be an honored guest anywhere, let alone at one of the biggest gatherings in democratic Croatian history to celebrate a magnificent sporting achievement. Luka Modric might indeed have deserved to be World Cup Most Valuable Player, but for inviting Thompson to sing he deserves a red card."

For additional information please contact the Israel Office of the Wiesenthal Center: Tel: 972-2-563-1274 or Tel: 972-50-721-4156, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal @EZuroff for news updates sent direct to your Twitter feed.
 
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

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French Court’s New Analysis in the Case of Sarah Halimi’s Brutal Murder
Paris, 15 July 2018

On 28 February 2018, the investigating magistrate in the case of the 4 April 2017 savage murder of 65 year old doctor, Sarah Halimi, accepted an expert analysis that her murderer was fit to stand trial.

Moreover, Kobili Traoré’s action, in stabbing her and throwing her from her third floor balcony to her death, while screaming “Allahu Akhbar,” was acknowledged as, indeed “an act of anti-Semitic character.”

On 18 June, 2018, Dr. Shimon Samuels, SWC Director for International Relations wrote to French Interior Minister, Gerard Collomb, lamenting that “the current defence system is inadequate,” protesting an attack on a teenage female student by three North Africans outside her Jewish School... noting the withdrawal of the military presence guarding synagogues, Jewish schools and other institutions.

The letter had also stressed: “the revolving door” treatment of young Islamist attackers on Jews and Jewish property by magistrates.

By far the most serious, Samuels had emphasized the denial of the “anti-Semitic character” in terrorism against Jews, stating, “the courts’ reluctance to acknowledge the anti-Semitic nature of these attacks - ostensibly saving the perpetrator from an aggravated penalty - has the apparent effect of a ‘cover-up’ and an excuse for delay.”

On 11 July 2018, the investigative magistrate presented a second evaluation of three psychiatric experts, claiming that the murderer:

“Was not conscious at the moment of his actions,”and consequently cannot face a long and difficult trial... The subject was suffering, at that moment, a psychic or neuropsychic condition and was not in control of his actions... Traoré was suffering from a chronic psychiatric condition, probably schizophrenia... He also suffered from a long addiction to cannabis... a pathological anti-social personality (incapacity to conform to social norms, impulsiveness, irritability, aggressiveness, irresponsibility and propensity to violence)...unfit to stand trial.”

Samuels requested that the Minister discuss with his colleague, the Justice Minister, “a way to acknowledge ipso facto hate-crimes and atrocities on a fast track basis, as procedures excusing the violence on grounds of mental disorder add to serial and mimetic assault.”

The Judge has requested a third analysis for the Autumn, as justice is further delayed.

“If every psychotic has the right to commit violence against Jews with impunity, there are a lot more anti-Semites than we ever thought,” concluded Samuels.


For further information, contact Shimon Samuels at +33 609 770 158, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter feed.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

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Peace in the Mideast cannot be built with platitudes Read JNS op-ed by Rabbis Abraham Cooper & Yitzchok Adlerstein


Wiesenthal Centre Exhibition Opens in Strasbourg “Médiathèque”
Strasbourg, France, 13 July 2018

The Wiesenthal Centre exhibition “People, Book, Land: the 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People with the Holy Land”, was opened on Thursday 12 July, by Mayor Roland Ries and the Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, at the Strasbourg “Médiathèque” - an immense computerized public library for all media.

The Mayor welcomed the Wiesenthal Centre and complimented the exhibition, stressing the security and safety of the important and ancient Strasbourg Jewish community.

Shimon Samuels with Mayor Roland Ries

He noted the difficulties encountered by the exhibition at UNESCO when first presented - information he had heard from a regular visitor to Strasbourg and member of the exhibition’s Honorary Committee - the Algerian writer Boualem Sansal.

Mayor Ries praised the new Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, for keeping her promise to depoliticize the organization by creating consensus between Israel and the Arab states, to contain the annual votes attacking Israel.

Samuels thanked the Mayor and noted the efforts of the Centre’s sturdy “Three Musketeers” in Strasbourg:

- Gilbert Nerson (the Centre’s Representative to the Council of Europe)

- Pierre Haas (our co-Representative and CRIF-Alsace President)

- Salomon Levy (Strasbourg Central Synagogue President)


Salomon Levy, Shimon Samuels, Gilbert Nerson, Alex Uberti and Pierre Haas

Tracing the exhibition’s background, he acknowledged the importance of it being hosted in a youth-driven municipal facility, visited by thousands each day, fronted by an artificial sand beach for families throughout the summer season.

He compared the “Médiathèque” approach to that of the Wiesenthal Centre’s Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, a cutting-edge digitized human rights laboratory, and invited the Mayor to visit on his next trip to the United States.

The exhibition will remain open until 26 July.

“We hope to plan a Francophonie itinerary after the summer ‘rentrée’,” concluded Samuels.

For further information, contact Shimon Samuels on +33 609 770 158, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter feed.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

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Award-winning Journalists William "Bill" Farrell and Murray Weiss Lead SWC Government Advocacy Internship Program Seminar on Using the Press and Media in Advocacy
July 11, 2018

Simon Wiesenthal Center's Government Advocacy Internship Program held its weekly seminar last night on Using the Press and Media in Advocacy. The seminar was led by two of New York’s most celebrated and award winning journalists in William “Bill” Farrell, who presently serves as the Communications Director for Government Relations firm Pitta Bishop & Del Giorno.


Bill Previously served for over thirty (30) years as a leading reporter, columnist, feature writer and editor of the New York Daily News, and Murray Weiss, who currently serves as the Producer of CBS new program 48 Hours and previously spent time on the editorial staff of DNAinfo, as the Criminal Justice Editor for the New York Post, and as the Author of the 9/11 New York Times best seller “The Man Who Warned America.”

The program participants garnered an eye opening, experience in understanding the behind the scenes editorial decision making process, learning how to package and pitch stories, and how to gain maximum exposure for the issues that affect our community.

We want to thank Steven Witzel for hosting us at the Downtown offices of Fried Frank and for his wife, Debora Levit who chairs the program’s board of directors for joining us last night and for all of her incredible efforts in helping make this critical program a tremendous success.

For more information, please contact the Center's Communications Department, 310-553-9036. join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter feed.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

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Evian Revisited: From Utter Powerlessness to Sovereignty

July 11, 2018 

An international gathering of experts was held in Evian on the 80th anniversary of the notorious 1938 Conference on Jewish refugees from Nazism. The Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, was invited to keynote.

The original pre-war conference had been planned to be held in the diplomatic hub of Geneva, but due to the Swiss claim of “neutrality,” it was moved across the lake to French Evian-les-Bains.

Today’s “Evian Revisited,” or as dubbed by Samuels, “Evian II” was organized by Elihu “Hugh” Baver of New Hampshire, USA and a number of sponsors led by the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice. It took place in the Hotel Royal, the site of “Evian I.”     

“Evian was a death sentence:  

- proving Hitler's point that no-one and nowhere wanted the Jews;

- setting the appeasement scene of Munich a few weeks later;

- justifying the British White Paper that closed the doors of the Palestine Mandate;

- giving validity to the 1942 Wannsee Protocol, which listed by country the number of Jews to be murdered, totalling over 11 million.”  


“Of 32 countries represented, 31 Ambassadors rose to explain why they would not take Jews. Only one, the Dominican Republic, offered 100,000 visas for German Jewish bachelor farmers. The bachelors were expected to marry Dominican women. Agriculturists were very few. Nevertheless, some 500 arrived after the outbreak of war - the last to leave Europe.”

“On arrival, they were sent to the coastal village of Sosua, where they established two cooperatives: one dairy, the other meat.”

In 1971, Samuels was researching Israeli technical assistance programmes in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

In Santo Domingo, he heard the story of Sosua. There he interviewed community leaders. His findings were published in the 1972 edition of the American Jewish Year Book entitled “Sosua: Moshav in the Caribbean.”

From Sosua in the north, he continued to Azua in the south, where an Israeli rural settlement team was training the “campesinos” (farmers) in cooperative management. Samuels arrived in time to join the team in finishing the construction of a small church.

He stressed, “for me the journey from Sosua to Azua was dramatic in representing:

- From 1938, the Jewish condition of utter powerlessness...

- To 1948, the Jewish return to history, geography and sovereignty...

- To the State of Israel’s technical assistance team building a church for Dominican ‘campesinos’”...

“Last week Bahrain hosted the UNESCO World Heritage Committee - an institution that has been a battlefield for the theft of Jewish and Christian narrative.

Now, however, we were championing the cause of Moises Ville, a village established by the ICA - Baron Hirsh’s foundation in Paris - in 1889 for Jewish fugitives fleeing Russian and Ukrainian pogroms.

We presented Moises Ville to be acknowledged as World Heritage in gratitude to Argentina for hosting and absorbing Jewish refugees who, in turn, reciprocated as loyal and productive citizens”...

After my presentation, the Dominican Ambassador approached me: “Why not  Sosua?”... “Why not indeed? For these examples of successful absorption did not stop at ‘admission,’ but went the next step to ‘acceptance’. These are role models, best practices for today.”

Samuels announced a deal, made at this “Evian II” conference: “To work with Sosua veteran, Edith Meyerstein (pictured center with Dr. Samuels left, and Elihu Baver at right), to seek the support of the Dominican Government to begin the campaign for Sosua to be acknowledged as Dominican World Heritage.”

“Evian carries another message... the undisputable justification for a Jewish State... the wandering Jew has a home... there are no more Jewish refugees... for Jews, there can never be another Evian,” concluded Samuels.  

 

For further information, contact Shimon Samuels on +33 609 770 158




The Hill: New Mideast Peace Push - Read Rabbi Hier & Cooper’s latest op-ed


Wiesenthal Center Denounces German Authorities' Mishandling of Anti-Semitic Assault in Bonn

“Are European authorities misusing ‘psychiatric evaluation’ to whitewash anti-Semitism?” asks Center official.

July 12, 2018

The Simon Wiesenthal Center expressed outrage over the response and disposition of an assault yesterday of an Israeli professor by a 20 year-old German/Palestinian.

Media reports on how the incident was handled are deeply disturbing,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean and Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Global Social Action, adding, “First, police admit they confused perpetrator and victim. “It is difficult to fathom how a middle aged professor wearing a kippah would be identified as the perpetrator?”

Cooper continued, “Then comes word that the suspect, rather than being held in jail, received a psychiatric evaluation and then sent home? We are deeply concerned that in Germany, France, and the Netherlands, that ‘psychiatric evaluations’ are being used to whitewash anti-Semitic acts instead of confronting and dealing forthrightly with violent Jew-hatred.”

“During his recent visit to the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, we told German President Steinmeier of our concerns that German authorities aren’t doing anything to confront the anti-Semitism that many Arab and Muslim in Germany harbor. The incident in Bonn is yet another indication that Germany is not yet taking this source of anti-Semitism seriously enough. The Wiesenthal Center urges Chancellor Merkel’s government to expand the budget and powers of Felix Klein the Anti-Semitism Commissioner to ensure police and other state entities are properly trained to respond to such hateful attack,” Rabbi Cooper concluded.

For more information, please contact the Center's Communications Department, 310-553-9036. Join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter feed.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

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Wiesenthal Centre to Barclays CEO: "Barclaycard as Purveyor of Hate"
"Publicly condemn Roger Waters' venom presented under Barclaycard sponsorship!"

July 11, 2018                                                                                                                                                         

In a letter to Barclaycard CEO, Barry Rodrigues, Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed outrage at the 6 July Hyde Park “hate concert”, that kicked off the "Barclaycard British Summer Time” music festival. 

Samuels pointed to obscene political performer, Roger Waters, as "addressing the audience of families with small children wielding a banner inscribed 'F--k the Pigs!', followed by slogans on screens iconizing Russia, Putin, Iran and Julian Assange and an array of slurs against Israel."

The letter suggested that "had this show been confined to the nearby Hyde Park Corner's 'off the wall' punditry from across the political spectrum, it could, perhaps, have been dismissed as malicious nonsense." Samuels added, “Not so, Mr. CEO, when its venom is presented under the sponsorship of Barclaycard."   

The Centre called on Barclaycard "to publicly condemn Waters hate-mongering and to take disciplinary measures against the staff who endorsed this travesty." 

Noting that he and his family have been Barclays clients for over 60 years, Samuels concluded that if the banking giant fails to take such action, “ I will cancel my Barclaycard and urge our members to consider transferring their accounts to a bank that promotes prosperity - not hate," 

For further information, contact Shimon Samuels at +33 609 770 158

 



14th Annual Holocaust Essay Awards for Russian University Laureates

July 9, 2018

 Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, opened the proceedings, noting that, “this unique Holocaust essay competition programme, co-organized by the Association Verbe et Lumiere-Vigilance (VetL-V) together with the Simon Wiesenthal Centre-Europe, (CSW) and the Russian Holocaust Centre (RHC) is now in its fourteenth year and annually invites to Paris the five student winners from across the former Soviet Union, to present their research findings at UNESCO.”

 The 2018 laureates are respectively from Moscow, Vladimir, Orel, Petrozadovsk and Berlin (the latter a German intern at the RHC in Moscow). These were chosen from well over 2,000 submissions.

Attended by the delegations of Russia, Canada, Germany and Israel, the proceedings were opened by Dr. Stefania Giannini, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education. She commended the laureates' initiative as an opportunity for UNESCO’s agenda in Holocaust education", speaking of the organization's Holocaust Education Policy Guide and newly published Teachers’ Guide on Antisemitism and agreeing to consider joining Verbe et Lumiere-Vigilance, the Wiesenthal Center and the Russian Holocaust Centre, in editing for publication, the fourteen years' winning essays. Dr. Giannini quoted from the students’ papers, asking if they sought an academic career as encouraged by the network of UNESCO University Chairs. 

[Pictured above from left to right: (seated) Alexei Mikhailov, Carla Kerkman, Tatiana Victorova, Michail Zakharov; (standing) Alaxei Rogatykh, Genc Seiti, Ilya Altman, Laurence Sigal, Stefania Giannini, Georges Haddad, Alla Gerber, Jens Streckert, Graciela Vaserman Samuels, Shimon Samuels, Richard Odier, Alexei Kovalenko, Benedetto Zacchiroli, Stephane Teicher, Alex Uberti. Photo: Fabrice Gentile/UNESCO]

Russian Delegate to UNESCO, Counsellor Alexei Kovalenko, recalled "the new waves of antisemitism, historical revisionism, Islamophobia, Christianophobia... even Russophobia," hoping that students "will grow to be experienced debaters to fight on an academic level." Kovalenko stressed that "almost half of the six million Jews were murdered on the territory of the Soviet Union - a concept understood only years later... we are at a crossroads... the passing of the witnesses... In WWII, the Soviet Union did not always see eye to eye with the West, but we joined as allies to fight as an anti-Hitler coalition... It is time to reunite again... History is a never ending lesson.”

RHC President, Alla Gerber, noted, “when the Centre opened, the ‘Holocaust’ was unknown in the Soviet Union, so we defined its mission statement as ‘memory and prevention’ - ‘you will hear this in our students’ innovative approaches... Antisemitism is not an organized movement in Russia, but for the 26 years of our Foundation’s work, its main goal has been to understand the resurgence of this evil.”

Professor Georges Haddad, President of the Sorbonne University of Paris, recalled his election at age 29 - “the youngest, first Jew and mathematician appointed as Sorbonne President". He emphasized the subsequent antisemitic graffiti on the walls. Haddad invited Elie Wiesel, Simone Veil and Bernard Kanovitch, to give a series of lectures on the Shoah.

- The first was Elie Wiesel on “Can we trust G-d after Auschwitz?”, based on his book “The Trial of Shamgorod”, setting the question, "Who would agree to be the defendant counsel for G-d?"

- The second, Simone Veil, on “Can we teach the Shoah?” Her response was: “No, we can inform, but not teach or explain"...

- The third, André Caspi, on “The silence of French historians” in regard to the Holocaust and collaborationism, and the challenge of transmitting the untransmittable!

The late Claude Lanzmann, when asked by the journalist El Kabbach, “what do you fear most?” he responded “the human being!” In sum, concluded Haddad: “The Shoah is the utmost black hole of human history... nothing could equal it.”

Laurence Sigal, Founder and Curator of the Paris Jewish Museum, now Director-General of the Judaism Foundation of France, spoke of Claude Lanzmann’s documentary film “Shoah” as “changing the rules of film-making and documentaries... He understood that nations were too busy with their own post-WWII reconstruction... They wanted to go forward, not back to the darkness... It was survivors, liberators, resistance fighters, researchers and documentalists of testimonies and writers who highlighted the will for life... the victims die for a second time when there is noone to remember them.”..."history needs to be retold constantly, as the same events are subject to many forms perception throughout the generations." Sigal also stressed how art can be a testimony and therapy, giving the example of the Wiesenthal Centre's Friedl Dicker-Brandeis collection in memory of Terezin.

Dr. Ilya Altman, Chairman of the RHC, thanked the ADG for considering “the UNESCO publication of our students’ papers,” adding, “this year’s announcement was distributed by the United Nations Office in Moscow, thus receiving the submission of papers from Ecuador to the United States, as the competition went global... perhaps we could bring these students together internationally, perhaps at the Sorbonne?”

Altman then introduced each of the laureates to present the results of their research:

Aleksei Mikhailov, M.A. student of Petrozavodsk State University (Petrozavodsk, living in Karelia): «The problem of comprehending the Holocaust in the academic and political community in Sweden in the 1990's - 2000's»

Tatiana Victorova, M.A. student of Vladimir State University named after A.G. and N.G. Stolyetov (Vladimir): «Problems of researching documents on the history of the Trostenets (Belarus) camp complex»

Aleksei Rogatykh, M.A. student of Russian State University for Humanities (Moscow): «The Holocaust through the eyes of the Auschwitz liberators»

Mikhai Zakharov, M.A. student of the Orel State University named after I.S. Turgenev (Orel): «Vice versa: the European extreme right transformation of the representation of Jews and the Holocaust»

Carla Kerkmann, student at the Alice Salomon College (Berlin): «How does the Holocaust affect our lives 4 generations after?»

DCM of the Israel delegation, Joseph Moustaki, responded to Zacharov’s paper, clarifying that, “as a diplomat, I speak with all, but will not have contact with any who claim to be pro-Israel just to cover their antisemitism.” He continued, “your essays are the voice of those who died. You give them a voice through your message. The State of Israel thanks you and the organizers of this programme".. He added, "among most historical events, the Shoah is the one where the feelings and emotions are the most solicited. This type of initiative provides tools to counter the new forms of incitement and hate against 'the other'."

The Canadian Ambassador, Ms. Elaine Ayotte, asked the students, “what is the reaction of your parents to your work? Keep asking questions!”... “Canada is proud to fund the UNESCO Holocaust Education programme.”

Benedetto Zacchiroli, President of the European Coalition of Cities Against Racism and other forms of discrimination (ECCAR), asked about “vehicles for the transfer of the legacy of the Holocaust?”

German laureate, Carla Kerkmann, responded, “video cannot bring back the person, but it is still important for memory.”

German Delegation Counselor, Dr. Jens Streckert, lauded “the commitment of youth to research the multitude of data, to convey the message”... stressing “German support for UNESCO’s work on Holocaust Education.”

Genc Seiti, Director of the Division of Member States and Partners of UNESCO, acknowledged the organizers on behalf of UNESCO and added his support for a continuation of the Russian laureates programme.

Samuels thanked UNESCO Advisor to the Director General, Dr. Graciela Vaserman Samuels, for her input into the programme, as also the Centre's staff, Alex Uberti and Sheila Ryan. He congratulated Dr. Altman for this year’s choice of laureates as “the most sophisticated ever, displaying an awareness of their role and oriented towards the future.”

Verbe et Lumière - Vigilance President, Richard Odier, concluded in stressing the need for empathy... the recent loss of Simone Veil and Claude Lanzmann makes us realize that the Shoah is not just a vehicle for education, it must touch the heart." He noted "Simone Veil's reservation at the word 'Liberation', preferring 'Opening of the Doors'. Veil illustrated how her 'liberation' by the British at Bergen-Belsen did not end the over 500 per day dying of hunger and disease and the continued killings by German and Hungarian guards, retained by the 'liberators' to 'keep order'!"

Russian Federation Counsellor, Alexei Kovalenko, invited all participants to the UNESCO launch of the RHC and Russian Delegation’s exhibition on the Holocaust in the Soviet Union - entitled “Holocaust: Annihilation, Liberation, Rescue” - that was opened by Russian Ambassador Alexander Kuznetsov, Russian Jewish Congress President Yuri Kanner, RHC President Alla Gerber and Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels (pictured left at exhibition opening). 

 




Farrakhan’s Bigotry Finds Traction Across the Political Spectrum - "Jewish Journal" op-ed by Rabbi Abraham Cooper & Dr. Harold Brackman
Simon Wiesenthal Center
Louis Farrakhan ...since the 1960s sowing the seeds of racism, anti-Semitism and hate

Farrakhan’s Bigotry Finds Traction Across the Political Spectrum

By Rabbi Abraham Cooper and Dr. Harold Brackman

Louis Farrakhan, octogenarian leader of the unIslamic, anti-white Nation of Islam, has been active ever since the 1960s, sowing the seeds of racism, anti-Semitism and hate for our blessed American nation. So why worry about an aging bigot today? Suddenly, Farrakhan’s life’s work is paying off, winning accolades from the far right to the progressive left. Hatred is seeping into the mainstream of our political culture, not hidden in smoky backrooms or behind anonymous social media postings, but proudly touted on the internet and in interviews—a guaranteed path to gain name recognition, recruit voters and grab media attention.

Here are examples from the Republican side of the aisle:

· In California, John Fitzgerald, a proud Holocaust denier, captured 23 percent of the vote in the “open primary” in a California congressional district northeast of San Francisco. This made him the official GOP candidate and, initially, won him the automatic endorsement of the State Republican Party which inexplicably waited two months before it rescinded the endorsement. Among Fitzgerald’s eye-popping platform planks: endorsement of the Farrakhan’s scurrilous pseudo-history, “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews,” falsely alleging that the tiny number of colonial Jewish merchants “dominated” the massive slave trade between Africa and the Americas.

· In Illinois, “The Land of Lincoln,” Arthur Jones, who boasts that he was once head of the American Nazi Party, ran unopposed and won a GOP congressional primary in a district including parts of the city of Chicago, defending the position that: “To me the Holocaust is what I said it is: It’s an international extortion racket.” Republican Governor Bruce Rauner hesitated before declaring that the GOP faithful should vote for anybody, even a Democrat, other than the Neo-Nazi Jones.

· In Wisconsin, in retiring U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan’s district, Holocaust denier Paul Nehlen vaulted to the front of would-be successors. Before Twitter suspended his account, Nehlen photoshopped an image of Meghan Markle, Prince Harry’s biracial American bride with the face of Cheddar Man, the dark-skinned man supposed to be the first modern Briton.

Lest Democrats be complacent, Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) not long ago said: “I personally know [Farrakhan], I’ve been to his home, done meetings, participated in events with him. I don’t regard Louis Farrakhan as an aberration or anything, I regard him as an outstanding human being.” Asked specifically about Farrakhan’s history of anti-Semitic statements, “Davis was dismissive and said that many people in politics have a history of inflammatory comments.” But then Davis backtracked—or sidestepped—stating that he would like to know what Farrakhan has said about Jews “recently.” Only belatedly did Davis criticize Farrakhan.

Congressman Davis is an old inner-city politician from Chicago. Even more disturbing was Farrakhan’s intergenerational political romance with Tamika Mallory, co-chair of January 2017’s Women’s March. Mallory, an avowed Farrakhan admirer, showed up at his recent annual Saviour’s Day Address and had her photo taken with him. Far from apologizing, she doubled down, proudly sharing her attendance on Instagram. She even likened Farrakhan to the crucified Jesus: “If your leader does not have the same enemies as Jesus, they may not be THE leader! Study the Bible and u will find the similarities. Ostracizing, ridicule and rejection is a painful part of the process . . . but faith is the substance of things!”

In California, Maria Estrada, the Democratic candidate for State Assembly from Los Angeles, had this to say last year on Facebook: “Democrats turn a blind eye to the genocide against Palestinians and justify it by bringing up the Holocaust,” she wrote last year. “As if what happened 70 years ago justifies it. Anyone who believes they are one of ‘God’s chosen people’ automatically feels superior and justified in all they do. Religious fanaticism is used to justify apartheid and crimes against Palestinians and no one shuld be okay with it. #FreePalestine… It is extremely problematic when delegates are being flown to Tel Aviv by AIPAC, and even more problematic when Palestinian children are being arrested, taunted and murdered in the name of Zionism… The complete denial and/or justification of what is occurring in Gaza in the name Zionism is hypocritical and inexcusable.” Estrada who absolved Hamas of any responsibility tweeted “I, for one, enjoy listening to Farrakhan’s sermons.”

Like Farrakhan and other anti-Semites before him, Estrada has taken a page from Farrakhan’s anti-Jewish playbook and invoked ‘God’s Chosen People’ to justify her vilification of Jews, not just Zionists. She apparently took no notice that Farrakhan’s hateful dog whistle also transcends the racial chasm between Black Nationalists and White racist anti-Semites who marched in Charlottesville this past August. Alt-right Charlottesville guru Richard Spencer wants to meet with Farrakhan, to work together toward “the sort of self-determination we and the broader Alt-Right support.”

Fifty years ago, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., inspired young people of all races to dream of a color blind America. Today, we are witness to bigots from the far Left and the far Right who praise Farrakhan, energized by his divisive demagoguery. These extremists are hard at work wending their way into the mainstream of our society.

Younger generations of Americans—Democrats, Republicans and everyone else in between—better wake up and decide whose vision will guide our nation in the 21st century.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper is associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Global Social Action director.

Dr. Harold Brackman is long-time consultant for the Simon Wiesenthal Center and its Museum of Tolerance and co-author of From Abraham to Obama: A History of Africans, African Americans, and Jews (Africa World Press, 2015).

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Wiesenthal Center: Labour’s Rejection of Antisemitism Definition-Open Invitation to Anti-Semites
July 10, 2018

The Simon Wiesenthal Center denounced Britain’s Labour Party’s refusal to endorse the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism as hypocritical and a slap in the face to the UK’s Jewish community.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Wiesenthal Center said, “Jeremy Corbyn’s-led Labour Party’s refusal is an open invitation to anti-Semites and anti-Jewish activists to find a welcome within England's political mainstream and has negative implications for world Jewry."

Mark Weitzman, the SWC’s Director of Government Affairs who as the Chair of IHRA’s Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial introduced and steered the Definition to its adoption by IHRA, adding, “Labour’s refusal to accept a definition that has been endorsed by the European Parliament, officially adopted by the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly, and 135 municipal authorities, is a clear signal of the party’s refusal to deal with the reality of anti-Semitism in its ranks.

"Their utter disregard of the voices of the Anglo-Jewish community, with the exception of a few lock-step anti-Zionist radicals, exposes the Party's shameful hypocrisy on this issue, as was its decision to ignore the accepted legal definition of hate crimes established by the MacPherson Judicial Inquiry—with input from victims—and subsequently adopted by the National Police Chiefs Council.”

For more information, please contact the Center's Communications Department, 310-553-9036. join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter feed.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

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