Your Online Activism Has Made A Difference

December 23, 2005

  YOUR ONLINE ACTIVISM HAS MADE A DIFFERENCE

This year, your activist, online partnership with the Simon Wiesenthal Center has made a difference. Your immediate response to our social action campaigns impacted on breaking stories and vital issues. Together, we reached out to policy makers and to world leaders – often within hours of a breaking crisis.

Iran’s Holocaust Denial: Only days after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s latest antisemitic tirade where he labeled the Holocaust a “myth” that Europeans have used to create a Jewish state in the heart of the Islamic world, 35,000 petitions were sent to Jan Eliasson, President of the United Nation’s General Assembly, demanding that action be taken to censure Iran. Your protests and each and every petition were hand delivered to Tobias Lindstrom (pictured left) in the Office of the General Assembly’s President at UN headquarters in New York by Mark Weitzman, the Center’s International Task Force Against Hate Director and NGO Representative to the UN (pictured right in photo).

Israel and the Red Cross:  Seeking to help overturn the 58-year exclusion of Israel’s Magen David Adom by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC),  we petitioned Swiss President, Samuel Schmid, to convene a special international meeting of 191 states to finally grant Israel equal status among nations within the International Red Cross. Earlier this month in Geneva, with Wiesenthal Center officials (pictured) in attendance, Switzerland pushed through a plan that finally brought Magen David Adom equal status.

Sheik Barred From Re-entering the UK:  When it was confirmed that Sheik Yussuf Al Qaradawi, the influential Qatar-based Islamist theologian was to convene a conference in the UK, the Wiesenthal Center condemned the red carpet treatment  afforded him during an earlier visit by London Mayor Ken Livingstone (pictured left, embracing Qaradawi).  Qaradawi has called suicide bombings heroic operations of martyrdom, and his sermons and fatwas have called for the killing of Jews. The Wiesenthal Center charged that his presence at the London conference after the July 7th suicide bombing attacks in London would "only encourage more terrorism.” The Center launched a campaign urging Prime Minister Tony Blair to bar the Sheik’s re-entry into the country. The outcome:  Qaradawi never entered the UK.

London Mayor Still Unapologetic:  And, you were there to add your voice to the outcry against London’s Mayor Ken Livingstone when he accused the Israeli government of "ethnic cleansing" and described Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as a "war criminal who should be in prison." During another incident, he insulted a Jewish reporter when he compared the journalist to a Nazi concentration camp guard.  To this day, Livingstone refuses to apologize.

Church Groups Pursue Anti-Israel Campaign:  A carefully orchestrated, politically motivated, anti-Israel campaign urging North American churches to divest from companies doing business with Israel, raised alarm bells in the Jewish community and within the targeted mainline Protestant Churches. Thousands of you urged church members to reject these unfair and dangerous, one-sided proposals.  The Wiesenthal Center raised its voice at Church conventions in Atlanta and Portland Oregon Pictured left) and convened educational and media events in Canada to denounce these punitive efforts and to expose the antisemitism of some key activists. As we begin 2006, many in these churches have begun to question the fairness and usefulness of such a campaign. Still, the recent news that Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) continues to meet openly with the terrorist Hezbollah organization is an indication that the struggle is far from over.

Boycott of Israel Universities Dropped:  And, you joined with the Wiesenthal Center when Britain’s leading higher education union, the British Association of University Teachers (AUT), initially voted to boycott two of Israel’s premiere universities, Haifa and Bar Ilan. That move barred all Israeli faculty members from participating in joint research or academic conferences with their British colleagues.  Through Dr. Shimon Samuels, the Center’s International Relations Director and co-chair of ARARE (Academic Response to Antisemitism and Racism in Europe, established in 1994 as the Center’s campus arm in Europe), we joined the fight that eventually saw the racist boycott overturned.

No one can fully predict what challenges and crises await us in 2006.  With your continued solidarity and support we will continue to make a difference around the world in the fight against antisemitism, hate, and terrorism, and in the struggle to ensure the security and safety of Jews everywhere.

Please renew your Simon Wiesenthal Center membership today so we can continue our dynamic and powerful partnership!  

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This e-mail was sponsored by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international organization with 400,000 members, promoting tolerance and combating antisemitism worldwide.

 

  SWC Snider Social Action Institute

This e-mail was sponsored by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international
organization with 400,000 members, promoting tolerance and combating antisemitism worldwide.