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October 20, 2014 / 26 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘shimon samuels’

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.

US: ‘UNESCO’s Decision Is Wrong and Should Be Reversed’

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

The Obama administration is “deeply disappointed” with a decision by UNESCO, the United Nation’s cultural arm, to cancel the opening of an exhibition on the Jewish presence in the land of Israel and is seeking its placement “as soon as possible.”

Complaints by Arab states led UNESCO to cancel the exhibition, organized by the Simon Wiesenthal Center along with the governments of Canada and Montenegro. It was scheduled to open Jan. 20 at the Paris headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power urged UNESCO to rethink the decision on the exhibition.

“UNESCO’s decision is wrong and should be reversed,” she said in a statement. “The United States has engaged at senior levels to urge UNESCO to allow this exhibit to proceed as soon as possible.”

“UNESCO is supposed to be fostering discussion and interaction between civil society and member states, and organizations such as the Wiesenthal Center have a right to be heard and to contribute to UNESCO’s mission,” Power said.

“The United States is deeply disappointed and has engaged with senior levels at UNESCO to confirm that the action to postpone does not represent a cancellation and to underscore our interest in seeing the exhibit proceed as soon as possible,” a State Department official told JTA on Friday. “We trust that UNESCO will approach this issue fairly and in a manner consistent with the organization’s guidelines and past precedent.”

UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova said Wednesday in a letter to the Simon Wiesenthal Center that the exhibit, titled “The People, the Book, the Land — 3,500 years of ties between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel,” would be postponed indefinitely. She said the decision arose out of UNESCO’s support for peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

“We have a responsibility in ensuring that current efforts in this regard are not endangered,” she wrote.

The cancellation followed a letter sent to Bokova on Jan. 14 by the Arab group at UNESCO. “The Arab group is deeply disturbed by the exhibition, which it condemns,” said the letter from the group’s president, Abdullah Elmealmi.

“This cause is championed by those who oppose peace efforts,” Elmealmi said. “The media campaign accompanying the exhibition will inevitably damage the peace talks, the incessant efforts of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and UNESCO’s neutrality.”

The State Department official said the exhibition comported with UNESCO’s mission of cultural preservation and education. “UNESCO was designed to foster just this kind of discussion and interaction between civil society and member states and the United States firmly supports the right of civil society in member states such as the Wiesenthal Center to be heard and to contribute to UNESCO’s mission,” the official said.

In an email, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s director of international affairs, Shimon Samuels, wrote that the center was outraged by Bokova’s decision. He called for an email campaign opposing cancellation.

The U.S. and Israel’s position within UNESCO has been weakened last November, when the U.N. organization suspended their voting rights, two years after both countries stopped paying dues, because UNESCO had granted full membership to the Palestinians.

The White House has since been urging the U.S. Congress to resume paying dues in order to regain its vote.

JTA content was used in this report

UNESCO Cancels Israel Expo following Arab Pressure

Friday, January 17th, 2014

Complaints by Arab states led the United Nation’s cultural arm, UNESCO, to cancel the opening of an exhibition on the Jewish presence in the land of Israel.

The exhibition, organized by the Simon Wiesenthal Center along with the governments of Canada and Montenegro, was scheduled to open Jan. 20 at the Paris headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova on Wednesday said in a letter to the Simon Wiesenthal Center that the exhibit, titled “The People, the Book, the Land — 3,500 years of ties between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel,” would be postponed indefinitely. She said the decision arose out of UNESCO’s support for peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

“We have a responsibility in ensuring that current efforts in this regard are not endangered,” she wrote.

The cancellation followed a letter sent to Bokova on Jan. 14 by the Arab group at UNESCO, which admitted the Palestinian Authority as a member in 2011. “The Arab group is deeply disturbed by the exhibition, which it condemns,” said the letter by the Arab group’s president, Abdullah Elmealmi.

“This cause is championed by those who oppose peace efforts,” Elmealmi said. “The media campaign accompanying the exhibition will inevitably damage the peace talks, the incessant efforts of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and UNESCO’s neutrality.”

In an email, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s director of international affairs, Shimon Samuels, wrote that the center was outraged by Bokova’s decision. He called for an email campaign opposing cancellation.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/unesco-cancels-israel-expo-following-arab-pressure/2014/01/17/

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