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Did you know that January 27 was recognized by the UN as Holocaust Remembrance
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Was the Quebec National Assembly wrong to ban Sikhs wearing ceremonial kirpans
(daggers) from entering the provincial legislature this week?
Khaled Abu Toameh
Khaled Abu Toameh, winner of Israel’s Media Watch 2011 prize, is an Israeli Arab
journalist who covers Palestinian affairs for the Jerusalem Post, US News and
World Report, The Wall Street Journal and the Sunday Times of London.
also writes for the Hudson Institute think-tank in New York. He has produced
several documentaries on the Palestinians for the BBC, Channel 4, Australian,
Danish and Swedish television, including ones that exposed the connection
between Yasser Arafat and payments to the armed wing of Fatah, as well as the
financial corruption within the Palestinian Authority
2009, Mr. Toameh declared that "Israel is a wonderful place to live and we are
happy to be there. Israel is a free and open country. If I were given the
choice, I would rather live in Israel as a second class citizen than as a first
class citizen in Cairo, Gaza, Amman or Ramallah."
the Durban Review Conference, he criticized Israeli Arab Knesset members for
supporting extremism and calling Israel a "state of apartheid" rather than
fighting for the rights of Arab citizens of Israel:
“And then they come here to tell us that Israel is a state of apartheid? Excuse
me. What kind of hypocrisy is this? What then are you doing in the Knesset? If
you are living in an apartheid system, why were you allowed, as an Arab, to run
in the election? What are you talking about? We do have problems as Arabs with
the establishment here. But to come and say that Israel is an apartheid state is
a big exaggeration. I am not here to defend Israel, but I think that Knesset
members like this gentleman are doing huge damage to the cause of Israeli Arabs.
I want to see the Knesset member sitting in the Knesset, in Jerusalem, and
fighting for the rights of Arabs over there.”
response, Ali Kazak, the former
ambassador to Australia, called Mr. Toameh a "traitor".
Khaled Abu Toameh is the featured speaker at the upcoming FSWC ‘Lunch n Learn’
teleconference on Tuesday, February 15 at 12 noon. Participants will receive
telephone pass codes to call in and hear Mr. Toameh speak about the current
situation in Israel, and to join in a Question and Answer session. Participation
is free of charge but space is limited. To register please email Stacey Starkman
firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration is on a first come basis.
CLICK HERE to
read Mr. Toameh’s most recent article in The Hudson Institute
of the Week
Canada’s right to deny Emirates more airport landing slots
By Ezra Levant in the
Bewitched Animals and the Muslim Media
By Raymond Ibrahim in
Hudson New York
IN PARLIAMENT THIS WEEK
The House of Commons is adjourned until Monday, January 31. 2011
The blogosphere welcomes Avi Benlolo, President and CEO of Friends of Simon
Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies. You can read Avi’s insightful comments
on issues and events that have an impact on the Jewish world and beyond in his
online journal “Avi’s Version.”
Have your Say!
Do you have any questions or comments
about FSWC activities, decisions or positions on issues? Please let us know.
Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center
for Holocaust Studies
416-864-9735 x 32
IS SUPPORTED BY CONCERNED CANADIANS.
TO HELP MAKE THE WORLD
A BETTER PLACE.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: ON HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY, FRIENDS OF SIMON WIESENTHAL
CENTER FOR HOLOCAUST STUDIES (FSWC) SAYS WE ARE STILL FIGHTING THE SAME BATTLES
By Avi Benlolo
Today marks the 66th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz
concentration camp -the jewel in the Nazi killing machine -and I find myself
searching for the right words to convey what is both unimaginable and yet,
paradoxically, all too familiar. What can be written about the Holocaust that
has not yet been documented? What stories not yet told will have the power to
move readers steeped in the knowledge of both the Shoah and more recent
atrocities in far-flung countries like Bosnia, Rwanda and Sudan?
Despite the passage of time, it often feels as if we are fighting the same
battles we once thought were won. Holocaust deniers, having found fertile ground
for planting their insidious lies, multiply like weeds on the Internet and are
spurred on by the hatred voiced by anti-Semites like Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,
who has made it clear he hopes one day to finish the job Hitler began. As
Holocaust Remembrance Day is a United Nations-designated day of commemoration,
it is my hope that the UN will begin to pay greater attention to the Iranian
dictator and others like him who once again have as their mandate the
destruction of the Jewish people. Other ethnic communities, having suffered
through their own horrific tragedies and atrocities, attempt to vie for the
status of most persecuted victim.
The shadow cast by the Holocaust is a long one; it crops up in the most
unexpected places. My office recently received a letter from a gentleman in
Sudbury, Ont., who felt compelled (finally) to tell someone of an incident that
had happened to him as a boy when, by chance, he found proof of a Nazi war
criminal living in his neighbourhood. The year was 1958. He confronted the man
who, predictably, disappeared the next day. For the rest of his life the man
from Sudbury felt guilty about letting a Nazi war criminal escape. Although he
wasn't even born when the war began, the malevolence that was the Holocaust
found a way to penetrate to the most unpredictable of places and destroy yet
another innocent life.
CLICK HERE to read the full article
FSWC TALKS WITH PRODUCER ROBERT LANTOS AT EXCLUSIVE SCREENING OF ‘BARNEY’S
“Barney’s Version” producer, Hungarian born and Montreal raised Robert Lantos,
spoke to an audience of FSWC donors at an exclusive screening of the movie, for
which actor Paul Giamatti recently won a Best Actor Golden Globe award. Here are
some of the thoughts he shared with FSWC on the night of the screening:
On ‘Barney’s Version’ author Mordechai Richler
Trying to figure out how to make this sprawling novel into a film of about two
hours was the greatest cinematic trial of my career. I always felt Mordechai was
watching. . . I always felt if I made a film he didn’t like he would find a way
to even the score.
Mordechai was a writer who wrote about that which he knew himself. . . there are
pieces of Barney which are autobiographical. . . he did meet the love of his
life at the wedding to his first wife. I loved his irreverence and political
incorrectness and fearlessness of that which is expected . . . he never
hesitated to take down the high and mighty, which I found appealing.
As it happens I own the rights to ‘Solomon Gursky Was Here’ and in a way it
makes filming ‘Barney’s Version’ look easy. For sure I won’t make a movie for
another year and a half, but I plan to make it one day.
On the film’s reception in Quebec
Above all Mordechai took on the separatist movement and wrote brilliant and
satirical pieces in the New York Times and the New Yorker. Of course the
separatists couldn’t retaliate because they couldn’t get into the pages of the
New York Times or the New Yorker, and that I think hasn’t been forgiven. The box
office for ‘Barney’s Version’ in French is not the same as the box office in
English . . . so there is no love lost. Ninety-nine percent of the film’s box
office in Canada is in English.
On the Casting of Paul Giamatti
When I saw ‘Sideways’ I thought to myself, “Aha! There he is!” Once I had the
script I sent it to Paul, and he knew a good thing when he saw one.
On filming in Montreal
We could have set it somewhere else and great directors who I respect and admire
said, “why not set it in New York and make a New York story?”, but that would
have been the same as casting Brad Pitt in the movie . . . to me it was integral
that we set it in Montreal.
In the long run I think audiences around the world- when they choose to see a
movie that isn’t a sequel to a video game, look for authenticity.
FSWC IN THE NEWS: LETTERS TO EDITORS
In the National Post
Don't abuse the word 'holocaust'
Re: The Pygmy Holocaust, Geoffrey Clarfield, Jan. 20.
January 24, 2011 -
Many thanks to anthropologist Geoffrey Clarfield for alerting Canadians to the
horrific situation facing the pygmy population of Africa. However, I must take
exception to the use of the word "holocaust" to describe the ongoing abuse of
the pygmies. It is safe to say that in contemporary usage, the term Holocaust
refers specifically to the genocidal attempts by the Nazis to exterminate the
Jews; using it in the title of this article diminishes the term and its meaning,
and is unfair to the more than 10 million Jews, Roma, homosexuals and others who
were slaughtered in the Holocaust.
Furthermore, it does not help build understanding of the unique set of
circumstances under which the pygmies of Africa are struggling to survive.
Avi Benlolo, president and CEO, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust
In the Canadian Jewish News
There was no boycott
January 27, 2011 -
When e-mails condemning the rumoured boycott of Ahava products began circulating
recently within the Jewish community, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for
Holocaust Studies (FSWC) advised our membership that we were conducting an
investigation into the matter and would report as soon as we uncovered the truth
(“HBC stands firm against Israeli boycott calls,” Jan. 20). FSWC ultimately
determined there was no boycott by the Bay. This was confirmed by Ahava in
Israel and New York, and by the company’s president and CEO, Bonnie Brooks. FSWC
was the first organization to issue a community advisory stating there was no
boycott. Other organizations’ advisories quickly followed. It is therefore
surprising that the CJN article unfairly implied that FSWC was in part
responsible for the unwarranted rage against the Bay, particularly as
we follow a strict set of fact-checking protocols before issuing action alerts
to our members.
President and CEO, FSWC
SWC TO SOUTH AMERICAN-ARAB SUMMIT: “HUMAN RIGHTS, WAR AGAINST TERROR NOT SERVED
BY IMPORTING OUTSIDE CONFLICTS’
Buenos Aires, January 27, 2011 -
On the eve of the Third Summit of South American and Arab Countries, to be held
in Lima, Peru, February 14-16, the Simon Wiesenthal Center urged Foreign
Ministers of the South American bloc (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile,
Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela), that
the forthcoming Declaration of Lima include a number of principles.
Dr. Shimon Samuels, Wiesenthal Center Director for International Relations, and
Sergio Widder, its Director for Latin America, enumerated the following:
to promote democracy and human rights in the countries of both the Latin and
Arab blocs, based on the South American experience of transition from
dictatorship over the last three decades;
- to include civil society organizations in future meetings, as is already the
case for private business organizations;
to express solidarity and grant support for the Argentine campaign to bring to
justice Iranians, among them a former President, a Foreign Minister and a
current Defense Minister, implicated in the AMIA Jewish Center terrorist attack
in 1994, that resulted in 85 people killed and hundreds injured;
- a cautious approach to any non-interAmerican conflict, refraining from setting
any goals or results that need best be defined by the parties that are directly
affected and could import into the Americas an extra-regional conflict.
CLICK HERE to read the full release
HIGH SCHOOL & UNIVERSITY STUDENTS- TAKE NOTE!
FSWC LAUNCHES NEW SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
As part of our mandate to promote tolerance and social justice at all levels of
society, FSWC is committed to helping students advance these values through the
funding of scholarships at both the undergraduate and post-graduate levels.
High School Students Entering University
FSWC is offering three scholarships for high school student leaders who carry on
Simon Wiesenthal’s legacy of tolerance, justice and human rights through their
volunteer commitments and academic pursuits. The scholarships, valued at $1000,
$500 and $250 will be awarded to students pursuing secondary education in
Canada. Scholarship recipients will be announced in the spring of 2011. For
further information contact FSWC Director of Education
at (416) 864-9735 x 24.
CLICK HERE for details of the scholarship and the application form
Post Graduate Studies
FSWC is offering five graduate scholarships of $1,000 each to students pursuing
a Masters or Doctoral degree. The successful applicants will have
identified a commitment to authentic research that supports and promotes the
legitimate rights and aspirations of Israel and the Jewish people. The
application deadline is Friday, March 25, 2011. For further information contact
FSWC Director of Education Melissa Mikel at (416)
864-9735 x 24.
CLICK HERE for details of the scholarship and the application form
ASSAULT AND RESCUE: CASE STUDY ON DARING ISRAELI RAID ON ENTEBBE AIRING THIS
SUNDAY ON DISCOVERY CHANNEL
June 1976, Air France Flight 139 from Tel Aviv to Paris was hijacked by a group
of Palestinian and German terrorists and flown to Entebbe, Uganda. While the
terrorists eventually released all the non-Jewish hostages, the Israeli Defense
Force (IDF) mounted ‘Operation Thunderball’, one of history’s most complex and
daring rescue missions, to save the more than 100 remaining captives.
Nearly 35 years later, Canadian production company Frantic Films explores this
incredible accomplishment in ‘Assault and Rescue: Operation Thunderball’.
According to FSWC donor and Chair of Frantic Films, Brad Ashley, “This pilot
analyzes the tactics considered and/or used in the Entebbe rescue – from the
perspective of the actual members of the IDF involved rather than just another
dramatization of the event. It’s not about the passengers but about how the
rescue was carried out,” he explains. “All viewers will feel an incredible sense
of pride when they see it.”
Assault and Rescue
airs on January 30 at 8 pm on Discovery Channel