SWC to UN Human Rights Commissioner: Denounce Syria for "Blood Libel"

Paris, 10 June 2010

In a letter to United Nations Human Rights Commissioner, Navi Pillay, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, strenuously protested "the racist language of Rania Al Rifaiy, the Syrian delegate to your United Nations Human Rights Council.”

Samuels noted that Al Rifaiy barefacedly stated: “Let me quote a song that a group of children on a school bus in Israel sing merrily as they go to school: ‘with my teeth I will rip your flesh, with my mouth I will suck your blood.’”

The letter added that ”such Syrian racism is recidivist and constant. Indeed, twenty-five years ago, the Wiesenthal Centre – with international support – slammed Syria's official publication of its Defense Minister Mustafa Tlas’ book, 'The Matzah of Zion'".

"The Centre had exposed Syrian policy to deliberately resuscitate the charge of ritual murder brought against the Jewish community of Damascus in 1840 - based on false medieval accusations that Jews murdered Christians for their blood, to bake the Passover unleavened bread”

It had stressed that “this blood libel resulted in repeated pogroms and massacres", adding that "this week, their latest version was uploaded to your United Nations website for global and eternal dissemination.”

Samuels expressed astonishment that “the Council’s current President, Alex Van Meeuwen, did not see fit to censure Syrian bigotry. His silence may be construed, by some, as passive endorsement and as par for the course of the Human Rights Council.”

He stressed to the High Commissioner, "in your capacity as Secretary-General for the implementation of the Durban Review Conference Plan of Action against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, you could not possibly countenance unadulterated racism in your Human Rights chamber.”

The Centre appealed to Pillay ”in all conscience, to call Syria to order, to condemn its delegate’s incitement and strike her speech from the record, thereby championing a new utopia - the expulsion of racism from the Human Rights Council.”


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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