Swiss Synagogue Firebombings Are Testimony To Rising Antisemitic European Violence

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Wiesenthal Center To Swiss President: "Playing With Fire Got The Lugano Synagogue Burned"

Paris, 15 March 2005

In a letter to Samuel Schmied, President of the Swiss Confederation, the Wiesenthal Center's Director for International Liaison, Dr. Shimon Samuels, stated, "Yesterday's firebombings of the Synagogue of Lugano and a nearby Jewish shop are testimony to the ever-rising antisemitic violence in cities where, since World War II, attacks on Jews were thought to be taboo."

Samuels added,  "The flames that have devasted the 'Beit Hamedrash' synagogue library, in the bucolic Canton of Ticino, reflect the transformation of Switzerland's traditional neutrality into a policy of appeasement regarding Middle East terrorist groups bent upon exploding any hope for regional peace.

The letter charged, "At last week's Madrid Summit on 'Democracy, Terrorism and Security', you [Schmied] followed the declaration of Brazil's former President, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who said, 'terrorists are the enemies of humanity'" and pointed out that 'on the other hand, [you] called for the application of the Geneva Convention to defend the rights of the terrorists rather than their victims.'  This would appear to be a bizarre and inappropriate use of a convention that was not created for the protection of non-State parties."

The Center urged President Schmied to "Denounce Islamist-inspired antisemitism, the immediate arrest of the Lugano terrorists, the investigation and expulsion from Switzerland of all Jihadist elements and a reformulation of Swiss policy that has encouraged Middle East rejectionists."

Samuels concluded that "the price for continuing to play with fire is that yet another synagogue will burn."

For further information, please contact Dr. Samuels at +33 6 09 77 01 58.