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August 29, 2015 / 14 Elul, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Simon Wiesenthal Center’

A Frank Discussion With The UN Secretary-General

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Last week two delegations, one from the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the other from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, sat down for a 90-minute meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon in his office for an open and frank discussion about the latest war in Gaza ignited by Hamas.

Anyone who has met Mr.Ban knows he is a person with deep respect for Jewish values. A former foreign minister of a country (South Korea) with neighbors like North Korea, Communist China, and Russia, he reiterated to the 11 Jewish leaders in the room – including Malcolm Hoenlein, Abraham Foxman, and leaders from Bnai Brith and Hadassah – that “I understand very well Israel’s security concerns.”

The secretary-general and his team took notes as we outlined the Jewish world’s deep concerns:

  • The audacity of the UN Human Rights Council in appointing a commission to investigate the Israeli incursion into Gaza without ever mentioning the name Hamas, which is the only reason Israel had to (re)act in Gaza.

Legal experts we consulted listed at least 19 violations of international law by Hamas, including crimes against humanity victimizing both Israelis and Palestinians.

We have no doubt the current commission will attempt to outdo the outrages of the original Goldstone Report, an investigation so fatally flawed that it was later disowned by Judge Goldstone himself.

Heading the new legal lynching is a Canadian jurist who previously urged that former president Peres and Prime Minister Netanyahu be put on trial.

  • Why, we asked the secretary-general, wasn’t the Human Rights Council investigating the underground terror tunnels whose sole purpose was to kidnap Israelis and launch a mega-terrorist strike on Rosh Hashanah?
  • How is it, we asked, that UNRWA, the UN agency mandated to help Palestinian “refugees,” would allow its facilities to house Hamas rockets and then return them to the terror group when word got out? Why didn’t any of the thousands of UNRWA employees who know exactly from where Hamas is firing rockets inform the secretary-general that Hamas was violating international law by situating its launchers in heavily populated neighborhoods, sometimes just a few meters from UN facilities, in order to attack Israeli civilians?

We didn’t accept the secretary-general’s explanation that UNRWA is not there to make political statements; after all, during the fighting UNRWA officials repeatedly gave interviews to the international media criticizing Israel’s actions.

We suggested to Mr. Ban that he himself had crossed a line with his rush to judgment in characterizing Israel’s attack on a UN school as “criminal,” when it wasn’t at all clear who was responsible for the attack.

  • Why, we wanted to know, does he insist that 75 percent of the Palestinian casualties in Gaza were civilian, when Israel has provided the names and ages of 900 Hamas terrorists killed in the conflict?
  • And why does he criticize Israel for “disproportionality” when it is confronted with Hamas’s strategy of weaving its military and terror infrastructure in heavily populated civilian areas with many mosques and hospitals?

We pointed out that if these new “rules” had been in place at the end of World War II, Winston Churchill and the president of the United States would have been the leaders put on trial at Nuremberg.

  • The secretary-general was also asked how it was that UNICEF, an organization devoted to protecting children – and one heavily supported by Jewish philanthropy for 50 years – condemned Israel for targeting children when in fact the opposite was true.
  • We raised the issue with Mr. Ban of the toxic attacks on Jews in Europe, Australia, and the Americas and urged him to take all necessary measures to ensure that the next UN General Assembly, which meets during the High Holy Days, doesn’t turn into another hate-fest against Jews.
  • Finally, we told the secretary-general that if the rights of democratic countries to respond to naked aggression against their citizens are further curtailed, the only winners of future wars will be the terrorists.

Overall, the Jewish leaders were quite disappointed with many of the points the secretary-general offered in response.

Human Rights NGO Informs UN’s Ban: Hamas is the Bad Guy in Gaza

Friday, August 15th, 2014

For an entity that maintains access to a lot of important addresses, the Simon Wiesenthal Center sets the mold for firm but polite.

The leadership of the Jewish, pro-Israel Human Rights non-governmental organization met with the secretary general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, on Tuesday, August 13.

Sometimes even people who value diplomacy and access feel compelled to inform a gracious (at least outwardly) host that he’s chosen the wrong party to back. And the SWC leadership was unequivocal in the message they delivered, even while coaching the verbiage in friend-to-friend terms.

After the United Nations meeting yesterday, the SWC presented Ban with a letter detailing the ways in which Hamas is the evildoer in the Gaza conflict, and gently reminding him that the U.N. has been hammering the wrong party – Israel – repeatedly.

After thanking the secretary general for meeting with them, the authors of the letter immediately launch into a bold, unequivocal statement:

we must frankly ask you how many times will the world allow itself to be held hostage to Hamas? This is the third time since 2005 when Israel unilaterally left Gaza that Hamas has brought death and destruction to the people of Gaza. Once again they are using the people of Gaza, the civilian infrastructure and UN facilities in its non-stop campaign to terrorize the Jewish state.

After asking the million dollar rhetorical question and plainly stating the general point, the SWC proceeds with what it calls, “a number of truths that must not be ignored.”

Among those truths are: Israel never willfully targeted any Palestinian civilians; the U.N. must act quickly to repair its “tarnished integrity” caused by UNRWA having allowed itself to become an instrument of Hamas.

NO MORE UNRWA IN GAZA

The SWC states plainly that UNRWA must not be permitted to continue in its role of funds distributor or auditor, as it has failed at both. Again, the rhetoric soars:

The systemic hijacking of previous aid, cement and building materials by Hamas to build an underground superhighway of terror is scandalous and a violation of the wishes of the donors who did not contribute funds for rockets or tunnels. Those who failed to stop such theft and serial abuse of humanitarian aid must be held accountable and should not have any involvement in supervising or dispersing of future funds.

NAVI PILLAY SHOULD BE CENSURED

The Jewish pro-Israel NGO then comments on the eruption of “anti-Semitism and genocidal hatred against Israel from Europe to Australia,” while the UN’s own High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has actually contributed to it, rather than attempted to disarm it, “by being so rabidly one-sided in her criticisms of Israel.” The SWC calls on Ban to issue a public censure of Pillay:

During her tenure there was no effort to investigate previous crimes against humanity by Hamas, including its own admission that 160 Palestinian children died building their terrorism tunnels.

TAKE SPOTLIGHT OFF ISRAEL, ESPECIALLY GIVEN GLOBAL DISASTERS

And the U.N. secretary general must also help “ensure that the upcoming U.N. General Assembly, which is confronted with a human rights disaster of epic proportions in Syria, with ethnic cleansing in Iraq, with a difficult situation in Ukraine and with continuing human rights outrages in North Korea, not be allowed to degenerate into an anti-Israel hate fest.”

19 VIOLATIONS OF INTERNATIONAL LAW BY HAMAS

The letter concludes with eight additional pages in which 19 separate violations of international law are laid out. These include rocket attacks directed at Israel’s civilian population centers; staging attacks from residential areas and protected sites (such as schools, medical facilities and places of worship); booby-trapping civilian areas; using human shields;  exploiting children; interfering with humanitarian relief efforts; using the uniform of the enemy; targeting civilian objects; mistreating the dead.

US Taxpayers Should Not Pay Salaries of Terrorists

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Senior officials of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish Human rights NGO, are calling on President Obama to suspend funding the PA until President Abbas removes Hamas from the Palestinian Unity Government.

“Hamas’ political chief, Khaled Mashaal has nothing but praise for the kidnappers of three Israeli teens ten days ago, proving yet again that Hamas remains true to its anti-Semitic, genocidal founding charter that calls for the destruction of the Jewish State. His statements are a signal that more kidnappings will be attempted in the future,” charged Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, Dean and Founder and Associate Dean of the Wiesenthal Center.

“In defending the kidnappings, Mashaal declared, ‘Blessed be the hands that captured them. This is a Palestinian duty, the responsibility of the Palestinian people. Our prisoners must be freed; not Hamas’s prisoners – the prisoners of the Palestinian people.”‘

“This is a time for clarity: The United States and the European Union should acknowledge that Hamas’ inclusion in any unified Palestinian Authority creates insurmountable obstacles to ever reaching a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian-Israel conflict,” Center officials said.

“As the agony of the three families of the missing teens continues, the United States must take the lead in making clear that it has run out of patience with those who claimed that having Hamas inside the government would serve to moderate their words or actions. Nonsense. President Obama should immediately suspend funding of the PA until the members of Hamas are removed from the government’s payroll. US taxpayers shouldn’t be paying terrorists’ salaries and that is exactly what the members of Hamas are,” Hier and Cooper concluded.

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 decision to work with PA-Hamas Government Victory for Terrorism

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish Human Rights organization, expressed its shock and deep disappointment that the Obama Administration declared it will work with the new hybrid PA-Hamas government.

“The mirage of technocrats in charge of the economy cannot disguise the reality that terrorists remain in charge of the rockets. Today, no one in the Middle East believes this is anything but a victory for Hamas, a terrorist organization that has consistently shown through words and deadly actions that it has not backed away from its founding charter seeking the Jewish State’s destruction,” said Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, dean and founder and associate dean of the human rights NGO.

“There is no fig leaf large enough to cover Hamas’ blood-drenched legacy. No Israeli leader, left, right, or center, would ever agree to a Palestinian State as its immediate neighbor that includes lackeys of the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran, who have lobbed thousands of rockets at Israeli population centers and unleashed suicide bombers murdering and maiming innocent men women and children in Israel,” they added.

“We applaud US Secretary of State John Kerry’s tenacity in trying to bring Israeli and Palestinians closer to peace. Unfortunately, the decision to defacto legitimize an unrepentant Hamas empowers not the peacemakers but the bomb throwers,” Hier and Cooper added.

“The table for peace in the Middle East will be set when the US and the European Union hold President Abbas’ PA accountable for the billions in aid they received, foreswear violence and introduce a curriculum of peace instead of one that demonizes and delegitimizes its Jewish neighbors,” they concluded.

Wiesenthal Center: European Leaders Must Act Following Belgian Attack

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

A gunman walked into the Jewish Museum of Belgium on Saturday, May 24. He opened fire and shot four people. Three died almost immediately; a fourth died later, at the hospital. The police arrested one man in connection with the shooting, and a second is being sought.

“The Simon Wiesenthal Center condemns the murderous terrorist attack today at the Jewish Museum in Brussels that left four innocents dead and a community in shock,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate Dean of the leading Jewish human rights NGO, who will be addressing an international Conference on Anti-Semitism starting this Sunday at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University.

“While Belgian authorities have raised the terror alert to level 4 ( highest), the fact is that a terrorist—who shot—to kill—all too accurately, remains on the loose, leaving a shocked Jewish community deeply shaken,” Cooper said.

“At this point, it is not known if the terrorist is tied to an organized group, or like the Toulouse French Jewish School murders or the Passover Eve attack on the Jewish Community Center in Kansas City, carried out by a lone-wolf who may have honed his skills in the Middle East or online. Either way, this clinical, cold-blooded attack takes place against the backdrop of a massive spike in anti-Semitic attitudes and acts across much of Europe.”

“Of course we expect Belgian authorities to take all necessary measures to protect Jewish lives and Jewish Life in their nation but is all time for them and all the European leaders to also take measures to reverse the extreme anti-Israel and anti-Jewish attitudes held by as many as 150 million European citizens,” Rabbi Cooper concluded.

Rabbi Cooper spoke tonight with Joel Rubinfeld, who heads up the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism and asked him to express condolences to the victims’ families and the Jewish community on behalf of the 400,000 members of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Approximately 40,000 Jews live in Belgium, about half of whom live in or near Brussels.

Why We Should Never Forget the Holocaust

Monday, May 19th, 2014

On the first part of this week’s podcast, show host Douglas Goldstein meets Rabbi Marvin Heir, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles and the Center’s documentary film division, Moriah Films. Rabbi Hier explains why he founded the Center, the lessons that need to be learned from the Holocaust, and why it is important never to forget.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/goldstein-on-gelt/why-we-should-never-forget-the-holocaust/2014/05/19/

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