Wiesenthal Centre to Montreal Mayor: "Stop World Social Forum Antisemitic Take-Over of Your City"

Tel.: +33(0)1 47 23 76 37
Fax: +33(0)1 47 20 84 01

"The WSF is an agency for those who seek to inflict the greatest harm on Israel and its Jewish and Gentile supporters. For the next five days, it will abuse the hospitality of Montreal, sowing hateful repercussions in its aftermath."

Paris, 9 August 2016

In a letter to Montreal Mayor, Denis Coderre, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations Dr. Shimon Samuels, warned of "the consequences of antisemitic imagery and language pervasive throughout the World Social Forum (WSF) programme, opening today at the hospitality of his city."

Samuels, who regularly attended WSF assemblies in Porto Alegre, Brazil and Mumbai, India, explained how "This anti-globalization organisation, year after year, allowed its legitimate agenda - on behalf of victims of violence, poverty and discrimination - to be hijacked by the Palestinian cause, while ignoring constant terrorism against Jewish victims in Israel and Jewish targets in Europe and beyond".

The letter noted, "The WSF, founded in Porto Alegre in 2001, was to become the vector for the legacy of the, also 2001, Durban UN World Conference Against Racism: a campaign for the delegitimization of the Jewish State," adding, "The small Durban synagogue was for the first time in its history, besieged by Hitler-poster waving demonstrators, screaming that 'he did not finish the job' ... When the WSF came to Mumbai, the synagogue required police protection for the first time in its over 1,000 year history."

Samuels found listed among the, "main themes of convergence" in the 2016 official WSF Montreal programme, "The BDS campaign, (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) against Israel."

The following fifteen items feature among the related activities: -

- The Big Conference on 12 August at the University of Quebec: "Confronting Israeli Apartheid: the Role and Goals of BDS", led by Ali Al Bunimah founder of the 'Electronic Intifada'; Omar Barghouti founder of the 'Palestinian BDS Committee' and Jamal Joma'a of 'Stop the Wall'.

- The same day, an exhibition "BDS 101" is to be opened by BDS-France.
- 10 August, "BDS: G4S and Municipal Campaigns" (targetting the
British/Danish security company for its ties with Israel).

- 11 August, "Decolonizing Israel-Palestine through Challenging the Jewish National Fund" [an ecological afforestation organisation that has provided technical cooperation throughout Africa!].

- 12 August, "The Response of the BDS Campaign to Repression by States Complicit in Colonization" [to coordinate a campaign against France, Canada, the US and the UK].

- "BDS 101 Coordination workshop of BDS France and Quebec".

- "Divesting your Church or Denomination 101 – BDS for Peace and Justice" with the Sabeel Liberation Theology Centre, Kairos Palestine and the YWCA.

- "Fighting for BDS: Facing Down Israel's Backlash" ['how to defeat the Zionist Offensive']

- "Call for a Canadian Military Embargo toward Israel" ('A worldwide campaign… We wish to profit from the WSF...to present our campaign to pressure governments, multilateral organisations, the UN, institutions and companies – both public and private – that are closely or distantly linked to the Israeli army… especially Canada'.)

The Centre argued, "Mr. Mayor, French courts have recognized BDS as a contributing factor to antisemitism, resulting in successful suits against its protagonists – many of whom are among the WSF organizers in Montreal", continuing, "... Moreover, it is now recognized that University campuses in North America espousing BDS have the highest number of antisemitic incidents against Jewish students."

Other troubling events programmed for WSF this week include:-

- "Good and Bad Terrorists – A Theory for Useful Terrorism and
Capitalism-Zionism", featuring Sayyed Ali-Mousavi of the Centre for
Religious Dialogue and Peaceful Coexistence.

- "Terrorism, Wahhabism, Zionism", with the same speaker.

- "The 'New Anti-Semitism' or the 'New McCarthyism?' The Israel Lobby's War on Palestine Solidarity and How Best to Resist".

- "Israeli Apartheid: Is it Acceptable in the West?"

- "Israeli Colonization: Anatomy of a Historical, Ideological and
Economic Crime"[Zionism as a business in Palestinian death]
- "Our Land, our Hope: Experience of Dispossession in Palestine and
Canada – Theologies/Spiritualities of Liberation".

Samuels claimed, "The WSF has served as an international meeting point to set agendas and campaigns, for example BDS, but also – since 2008 – the flotillas to Gaza and trade union action".

This year, we find:

- "The Women's Boat to Gaza" (due to sail in 2016) organised by the Freedom Flotilla Coalition.

- "The History of the Freedom Flotilla – Challenging Israel's Blockade of Gaza" (claiming that 'Israel murdered the activists on the Mavi Marmara') organised by 'the Canadian Boat to Gaza', speaker David Heap.

- "Women Resisting militarization, occupation, wars of aggression", Union of Palestinian Women.

Finally, though not exhaustive, a weird conspiracy theory, meeting on "Syria-Palestine Solidarity" ('imperialist and colonialist actors that are the cause of suffering in both societies'). "This is almost as vapid as the charge at the last WSF in Porto Alegre, that the Biblical concepts of 'promised land' and 'chosen people' were colonialist and racist."

"Mr. Mayor, the WSF is an agency for those who seek to inflict the greatest harm on Israel and its Jewish and Gentile supports. For the next five days, it will abuse the hospitality of Montreal, sowing hateful repercussions in its aftermath," concluded Samuels.

For further information please contact Shimon Samuels + 33 609-770-158, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter feed.

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).