SWC to French Foreign Minister: Palestinians, Not Just Israelis - in Need of 'Tough Love'; Iranian Threat to Israel is "Existential"

November 9, 2011

Paris—"Palestinians, not just Israelis need 'tough love' from the leaders of the International community," Rabbi Marvin Hier founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center told France's Foreign Minister, Alain Marie Juppe during an hour-long meeting at the Quay D'Orsay.

"While it is clear that there needs to be a two-state solution, only Israel is constantly pressured to make concessions, while the Palestinian leadership is given a virtual free pass," he added.

Rabbi Hier cited PA President Abbas' speech at the General Assembly where he said, "...I come before you today from the Holy Land, the land of Palestine, the land of divine messages, ascension of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the birthplace of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people," omitting any reference to Abraham or Moses or Isaiah.

"Mr. Abbas' outrageous omission, made before the world, in the speech delivered as he sought Palestinian Statehood at the United Nations, outraged Israel and world Jewry, but failed to generate any public condemnation from the diplomats gathered at the United Nations," Rabbi Hier noted. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, SWC Associate Dean added, "That is why we are extremely distressed by the UNESCO vote (which France voted for) to grant full membership to 'Palestine', we have no doubt that they will leverage their new status to pursue their campaign to erase 3,500 years of Jewish history in the land of Israel. France, which has taken on Arab anti-Semitism, including anti-Semitic TV miniseries and promotes Holocaust awareness with Arab and Muslim teachers and officials has a special responsibilty to protest the Palestinian denial of Jewish history, values and peoplehood".

Topping the list of issues discussed with Foreign Minister Juppe was the IAEA report confirming Iran is on the verge of going nuclear. "The threat to Israel is an existential one, Tehran won't be attacking Paris or Washington," said Rabbi Hier after the Foreign Minister warned talk of possible military action by Israel could be "catastrophic".

The long-range impact of the Arab Spring was also discussed. The 12-person SWC delegation at the meeting with Foreign Minister Juppe, included, Rabbis Hier and Cooper, SWC Executive Director Rabbi Meyer H. May, SWC International Affairs Director Dr. Shimon Samuels, and SWC Board Member Leslie Diamond. Center officials also met yesterday with Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO, to directly protest the 'Palestine' gambit and to endorse the U.S withdrawal of $70 million from the UNESCO budget over the vote.

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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