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October 31, 2014 / 7 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Abraham Cooper’

SWC: Where are the Condemnations from Muslim Religious Leaders?’

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Continuing threats from French-born jihadists returning from Syria was the main issue raised today by leaders of an international delegation of Jewish leaders from the Simon Wiesenthal Center during a meeting today with French President François Hollande.

The 20-member delegation is in Paris to inaugurate the Wiesenthal Center’s new historic exhibition on the 3,500 Relationship Between the Jewish People and the Holy Land opening this evening at UNESCO World headquarters.

President Hollande confirmed that some 1,000 French citizens were or are in Syria, and that 31 were reported to have died there. Some of those who returned from Syria were scared by what they had experienced, but others have spread out among the French population, many of them armed.

The French President then outlined steps taken to protect the Jewish community, especially Jewish schools, and said that French authorities are also in contact with police and Intelligence services to better fight anti-Semitism.

“We would like to set an example to the world in fighting anti-Semitism,” but admitted the current situation reflected a “new, heavy context.”

As for the murderous attack by a French-born terrorist in Belgium, President Hollande said it was too early to conclude the terrorist had acted as a “lone wolf,” in what the president labeled a “barbaric act” that targeted the Brussels Jewish Musuem.

In his remarks, Rabbi Marvin Hier, Dean and Founder of the leading Jewish Human Rights NGO, said:

We meet at a pivotal time in history, when the Jewish community and France’s democratic values are under unprecedented attack by the forces of extremism both from the Far-Right and from extreme Islamist purveyors of religious intolerance violence and murder.”

We appreciated that in the immediate aftermath of the murders of a Rabbi and young children on the grounds of a Yeshiva in Toulouse, you and then President Sarkozy suspended your campaigns to come to Toulouse and denounce the savagery. But unfortunately, today, Mohammed Merah along with the French-born murderer of innocents at the Brussels Jewish Museum, are revered by many young Muslims, here in France and around the world.

–Why is this so?

Certainly, the Internet plays a role, but we believe the main reason is that religious leadership of the Muslim communities remains part of the problem, not part of the solution…

Mr. President, in our time these French-born terrorists, like other terrorists, were not born with hate in their hearts…In the presence of French, American, Canadian and British Jewish leaders gathered here today, I declare with certainty that if G-d forbid, a terrorist attack was carried out by a Jew against innocent civilians, there would be wall-to-wall public condemnation by every Jewish leader in the world.

No less should be expected from the leaders of the largest Muslim population in Europe.

Among the leaders of the delegation were senior Wiesenthal Center officials, Rabbis Abraham Cooper and Meyer May from Los Angeles, Dr. Shimon Samuels ( Paris) and Avi Benlolo (Toronto). Also in attendance was French Jewish leader, Baron Eric de Rothschild and Canadian MP and former Justice Minister Irwin Cotler.

UNESCO: Postponing ‘Jewish Connection to Israel’ Exhibit to June

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

A brouhaha broke out last week after UNESCO summarily canceled the opening of an exhibit it had long-promised to co-sponsor with the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

UNESCO’s reason for the last-minute cancellation was that it had been told by the Arab League that the exhibition might adversely impact the ongoing “peace process” negotiations intended to achieve peace between the Palestinian Arabs and Israel.

On Tuesday, Jan. 21 – the day after the scheduled opening – UNESCO posted a notice on its website:

Following numerous requests for information regarding the Exhibition, “People, Book, Land – The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People to the Holy Land,” UNESCO wishes to reaffirm that the exhibition has not been cancelled but postponed.

UNESCO is in discussions with the Simon Wiesenthal Center to finalize the last points and inaugurate the exhibition in the month of June.

Really?

This announcement might lead one to think that the exhibit wasn’t quite ready.  You certainly would not know, although it is true, that at the time of the original “postponement,” the exhibition materials had already been hung on the walls, thousands of invitations had been sent out, and people were already arriving in Paris in anticipation of the opening event at UNESCO’s headquarters.

This is what actually went down:

Last Tuesday, Jan. 14, the director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) sent a letter to the Simon Wiesenthal Center that despite having agreed two years ago to co-sponsor an educational exhibition, which was vetted by UNESCO-sponsored academics, about the relationship between the Jews and the Holy Land, UNESCO was summarily cancelling the exhibition opening, scheduled for the following Monday, Jan. 20.

Two years in the planning? Two years of paying academics, gathering materials, flying internationally acclaimed historians and other experts in and out, restoring the materials so that they could be displayed. But on the very day that the very first peep was heard from the Arab League, and on the basis of the League’s position – without any room for discussion, negotiation or representation – the exhibit was cancelled.

The leaders of the Wiesenthal Center, dean and founder Rabbi Marvin Hier, and associate dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper, immediately dashed off a letter to Irina Bokova, UNESCO’s director-general.

They started out reminding the good madam that the SWC had followed every request and condition laid down by UNESCO in order to ensure a smooth process and a successful event. Then they reminded her that she was the one who put her own signature on the agreement to launch the joint undertaking. And then they told her what they expected of her:

we insist that you live up to your responsibilities and commitments as the co-organizer of this exhibition by overturning this naked political move that has no place in an institution whose mandate is defined by education, science, and culture — not politics. Failure to do so would confirm to the world that UNESCO is the official address of the Arab narrative of the Middle East.

Rabbi Cooper spoke with The Jewish Press on Thursday, Jan. 16. In Cooper’s view, the exhibition was not pulled because of the content. It is a purely historical body of work. And if there are critics out there who cannot believe the SWC could be trusted to ensure absolute honesty and partiality about the topic, surely the UNESCO-appointed academics made sure that was the case.

“No, pulling the exhibition had nothing to do with the content, it was simply the very idea – truth or not – that Jews have had a 3,500 years long relationship with the Holy Land” that the Arab League could not permit and the League’s displeasure was not something UNESCO could abide for even a single day.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/unesco-postponing-jewish-connection-to-israel-exhibit-to-june/2014/01/22/

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