Wiesenthal Center Calls for Removal of Far-Right Czech Official

September 22, 2011

The Simon Wiesenthal Center today is calling on the government of the Czech Republic to remove Ladislav Batora, a senior official in the Czech Education Ministry who has long espoused anti-Semitic views and has been linked with the Czech far-right, from his post.

“The Czech Republic’s strong record of support for Holocaust related initiatives is compromised by the presence of a man with Batora’s history of participation in anti-Semitic and xenophobic causes,” said Mark Weitzman, the Center’s Director of Government Affairs, “His attendance at anti-Semitic meetings, and his approval of anti-Semitic articles on the website of the Akce D.O.S.T. civic association while he was chair of that group are clear indications of his bigotry. There should be no room in a ministry devoted to education for a man who would poison people’s minds with hateful ideology.” Weitzman said that Batora’s views are in opposition to the positive efforts of the Czech government and, “as such must be forcefully repudiated, so that there can be no confusion about the true positions of the Czech Republic.”

In a meeting this week with Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwaezenberg in New York, Weitzman praised the Czech government for their efforts in tackling anti-Semitism and for their strong support of Israel. He also noted the government’s initiative in establishing the European Shoah Legacy Institute (ESLI) to coordinate activities and serve as a forum for Holocaust victims and their heirs. Weitzman chairs the Education, Research and Remembrance Working Group in ESLI’s Advisory 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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