WE HAVE TO KEEP
OUR EYES VERY WIDE OPEN!
As unrest unfolds across the Arab world following the resignation of Hosni
Mubarak in Egypt, the only certainty in the region is the uncertainty of what
tomorrow may bring. To try and make sense of this complex and unfolding story
Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC) spoke with
Israeli-Arab-Muslim-Palestinian journalist Khaled Abu Toameh (KAT), winner of
Israel’s Media Watch 2011 prize. Mr.
Abu Toameh writes about Israel, the Palestinian Territories and the Muslim world
for the Jerusalem Post, the Washington- based Hudson Institute Think Tank, NBC
News and other media outlets around the world.
many people in the west the uprisings spreading across the Arab world came as a
complete surprise. Were you prepared for this groundswell of discontent?
The writing was on the wall . . . human rights organizations like Human Rights
Watch and Amnesty International complained about the election process in Egypt.
Tunisia was a warning to other Arab dictators so this was something that was
predicted- it did not come as a surprise to us. Leaders in the Arab world don’t
seem to have learned their lesson.
How will the rebellion spreading across the Middle East affect Israel?
We have to keep our eyes very wide open. What worries me and many Israelis is
that this uprising will be hijacked by Muslim extremists and other radicals. A
victory for the Muslim Brotherhood is a victory for Hezbollah, Hamas, Iran and
for all the forces that don’t want peace or compromise in this part of the
What do you expect will happen to the Egyptian peace with Israel?
KAT: Although the Egyptian military has agreed to honour all
international agreements, it’s widely believed that relations between Egypt and
Israel will never be the same. It’s not going to be a very smooth period for
Israel or Egypt; the Egyptian military is walking a tightrope . . . they
are very worried and are actually afraid of the street. They cannot go against
the street because they see what happened when rulers go against the street.
democracy comes to Egypt does that necessarily mean peace with Israel has a
believe the majority of Egyptians want democracy and free elections. However,
the majority of people will vote against peace with Israel because the Egyptian
government has been inciting the people against Israel for many years. What
Mubarak did was what the rest of the Arab dictators have been doing for many
years which is to distract people’s attention by delegitimizing Israel through
incitement and indoctrination.
How should the US and other western democracies respond?
KAT: The US should not stand between the government and the people once
the people rise and demand information, democracy and regime change. The US
should not support the dictator against his people, and the US should not be
seen as trying to stop regime change and democracy in the Arab world.
We need to wait and see how strong the Muslim Brotherhood is and how strong the
pro-democracy secular movements are. I hope these people will prevail and this
is something we will know only when we go to the ballots.
What is the mood like in Israel?
Israelis are very worried; a new and more dangerous Middle East is emerging.
This is not the Middle East we were hoping for and this is very frightening for
many Israelis. There is a feeling that any moment things could explode, and I
think that Israel should be cautious, careful and prepared for any eventuality.
SPIRIT OF HOPE: MYSTERY SPEAKER TO BE ANNOUNCED NEXT WEEK!
With tickets going quickly and the dinner portion of the event already sold out,
Spirit of Hope 2011 is well on its way to breaking attendance records; the
opportunity to see Alan Dershowitz, David Gergen and Bob Woodward is drawing in
record numbers of donors to support the work of FSWC by registering for the gala
In an exciting development FSWC has announced it will reveal the name of the
Mystery Guest in next week’s edition of FastForward. “I think we have
kept our readers on tenterhooks long enough,” said Avi Benlolo, President and
CEO of FSWC. “It’s time to release the name of our fourth guest and let our
donors know what a truly spectacular evening they can look forward to,” he
To keep pace with this announcement, the Mystery Guest draw has also been moved
up; the winner of the “Name the Mystery Speaker” contest will be published in
the February 25 issue of FastForward. This means there is only one week
left to enter the draw to win the opportunity to ask a question of one of our
Spirit of Hope panelists (and remember: only the moderator has the privilege of
asking questions of our guests).
For the last time, here are your clues:
The guest is a man
The guest is American
The guest could not be named until this month
Good luck. Please send your guesses to
Stacey Starkman. The winner will be announced next week.
To purchase your tickets to Spirit of Hope contact
Martyn or call 416.864.9735 x 40.
FSWC HAS HIGH HOPES FOR NEW BUSINESS LEADERSHIP GROUP
FSWC’S newly launched Business Leadership Group (BLG) was developed to support
the goals of FSWC through its involvement in social justice projects which
advocate for justice, tolerance and human rights. Senior executives in the
corporate world welcome Canadian businessmen and women to support the Jewish
community and ensure the memory of the Holocaust is kept alive by joining the
new group. “I think that the Business Leadership Group will play a large role in
strengthening the agenda of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center in advocating
for human rights issues globally as well as issues affecting our own
communities,” explains Garry Foster, Vice Chair of Deloitte and Touche and BLG
member. FSWC is confident the BLG will be successful in carrying out the legacy
of Simon Wiesenthal and looks forward to the participation of a broad spectrum
of business professionals.
To join the new Business Leadership Group contact
Macey Markowitz at 416.864.9735 x 29
CLICK HERE to see the BLG advertisement in the Canadian Jewish News
FSWC LAUNCHING WOMEN’S FORUM AS STORY OF SEXUAL HUMILIATION OF AMERICAN
As FSWC continues to build a strong and thriving women’s forum, the events that
have unfolded this week demonstrate how vital it is to continue the fight for
women’s causes; the violent sexual assault and beating of CBS senior
correspondent Lara Logan by protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square is a warning
sign that women are still often treated as second class citizens and
subordinates in today’s world. According to Avi Benlolo, FSWC president and CEO,
“The brutal gang assaults on Lara Logan are indicative of the low regard with
which women are held in repressive Muslim societies. We hope that the cries for
freedom spreading across the Arab world will include women, and that Muslim
women will finally have the chance to participate equally in free societies”. As
the news circulates among members of the up and coming FSWC Women’s Forum
committee, many women are expressing their concerns about cultural practices
such as honour killings being committed in Canada. Political leaders in
France, Germany and Sweden have gone as far as denouncing multiculturalism in
favour of women’s rights; what does this
line of thought mean for Canada, which prides itself on its’ multiculturalism?
The FSWC women’s forum aims
such important questions by examining, educating and spreading awareness.
To join the FSWC Women’s Forum, or to request further information, contact
Barbara Yermak at firstname.lastname@example.org or call
416.864,9735 x 22
CLICK HERE to read about CBC correspondent Lara Logan’s Egyptian ordeal
IRANIUM - THE (CANCELLED) FILM ON NUCLEAR IRAN COMES TO FSWC
February 28 at 7.30 pm FSWC presents an exclusive screening of Iranium,
a film that was cancelled last month in Ottawa due to protests and threats.
In approximately 60 minutes,
powerfully reports on the many aspects of the danger America and the world now
faces using rarely-before seen footage of Iranian leaders, and interviews with
politicians, Iranian dissidents, and experts on: Middle East policy,
terrorism, and nuclear proliferation.
How dangerous is a nuclear Iran, even if it never detonates a weapon? To
what lengths would the Ahmedinejad regime go to carry out its agenda? How
far have Iran’s leaders already gone to fund the world’s most powerful terrorist
organizations? And why have American leaders failed to gain the upper hand
in relations with Iran during the past 30 years?
Come see for yourself. The screening takes place at the Cineplex Odeon Sheppard
Grande Theatre at 4861 Yonge Street in Toronto. Tickets are $18. Please email
FSWC Office Manager Tracey Steyn or call 416.864.9735
21 to order your tickets today.
CLICK HERE to
watch a trailer
SWC: US AND EU SUPPORT FOR ARAB NGOs SHOULD BE LINKED TO REVERSING PERVASIVE
February 15, 2011 - The Simon Wiesenthal Center urged the US and European Union
to make the reversal of anti-Jewish hate as a requirement for financial aid and
diplomatic support of advocacy groups in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere in the
“The Simon Wiesenthal Center welcomes the non-violent revolution by those
advocating democracy and freedom and we agree with President Obama that America
should support democracy-building institutions,” said Rabbis Marvin Hier and
Abraham Cooper, founder and dean and associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal
“However, if the forces of moderation and tolerance are to prevail, steps must
be taken to deal with the overwhelming popular embrace of anti-Jewish
stereotypes that, according to the PEW Poll, reaches 95 percent of the Egyptian
population. American taxpayers’ future support for NGOs must be linked to a
world view that protects religious minorities and mutual respect. The future of
the region will be guaranteed not only by free and open elections
CLICK HERE to read the full release
CLICK HERE to read Rabbi Abraham Cooper’s article on this topic in the
WIESENTHAL CENTER CALLS FOR “INTERNATIONAL MUSIC COUNCIL –UNESCO PRIZE” TO BE
STRIPPED FROM MIKIS THEODORAKIS
"Music Must Serve to Contain Hate, Not to Reward It!
Paris, 14 February 2011 -
In a letter to the International Music Council (IMC) President, Professor Frans
de Ruiter, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations,
Dr. Shimon Samuels, urged him "to vigorously condemn Greek composer, Mikis
Theodorakis, for his obsessive anti-Jewish hatemongering and to strip him of his
2005 IMC-UNESCO International Music Prize".
Samuels explained, "Last week, Theodorakis reportedly announced on Greek
television that he is 'indeed an anti-Semite ... everything that happens in the
world today has to do with the Zionists ... American Jews are behind the world
economic crisis that has hit Greece also.'"
"Only yesterday, he amplified these positions in 'Mikis Theodorakis answers the
usual circles accusing him of anti-Semitism'.
CLICK HERE to read the full press release
Fast & Furious: Feel the Need for Speed?
Join FSWC on June 26 for an introduction to the world of formula motorsports!
Imagine yourself strapped in behind the wheel of an Indy style race car, flying
an inch off the ground at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour!
This very special event offers you the unique opportunity to drive an Indy style
race car. As part of the experience you’ll learn how to maximize your
performance on a road-style course all in a safe, solo driving environment.
You’ll receive a trackside training session, in-car instruction and a drive
around tour of the tracks as you race against the clock to establish the best
time, with the winner taking home a trophy and, most important, bragging rights!
Space is very limited. To sign up as a driver, please contact Elaine Martyn at
email@example.com or call 416.864.9735 x 40
HERE to sponsor one of our drivers