Wiesenthal Centre Urges Germany To Bar Ahmadnejad From World Cup

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Wiesenthal Centre to German Foreign Minister: "Berlin 2006 World Cup Must Not be Hijacked for Hate"

Paris, 18 April 2006

In a letter to German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Associate Dean, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, and its Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed concern at reports that Iranian President Ahmadinejad plans to attend the 2006 FIFA World Cup on 11 June in Berlin.

Samuels recalled, "The 1936 Berlin Olympics were exploited to whitewash the Nazi regime's antisemitic incitement that culminated in the Holocaust. Will another Berlin sports summit, seventy years later, serve to appease another regime's genocidal intent?"

The letter stated that "after his denial of the Holocaust, his calls 'to wipe Israel off the world map,' his encouragement to global terrorism and his nuclear threats, President Ahmadinejad should not be welcome in Berlin."

The Centre urged that Iran's President be declared persona non grata ad personam from German soil until he desists from such behavior that violates the norms of international relations.

Rabbi Cooper suggested, "To do otherwise would call into question Germany as a negotiator on Iran's nuclear programme, and contradict the decades of German initiatives to confront the challenges of the Holocaust and to educate young people to prevent its repetition."

The Centre concluded, "The World Cup must teach mutual respect and tolerance. It must not be hijacked for hate."


For further information, please contact Shimon Samuels at 0033-609770158, or Rabbi Cooper at 001-3102109750.