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FRIENDS OF SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER FOR HOLOCAUST STUDIES 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FASTFORWARD

January 17 - 21, 2011

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center is holding a Video Contest for our
 2011
Spirit of Hope Gala.
Please submit your Human Rights video entry by Friday, March 4, 2011.
For complete details please visit www.fswc.ca

 

 

DONATE ONLINE

Become an FSWC Member Today!


 

POLL QUESTION

Was the Quebec National Assembly wrong to ban Sikhs wearing ceremonial kirpans (daggers) from entering the provincial legislature this week?

 

CLICK HERE to vote

 

PREVIOUS POLL RESULTS

 

Earlier this week the Jewish Defense League held a support rally for the English Defense League (EDL), a right wing group in the UK concerned about radical Islam. Do you believe the EDL has a right to speak in Toronto?

 

Yes:  71%


No:   28%

 

WEEKLY FEATURES

 

Donor’s Corner:

SPOTLIGHT ON

Helena Fine

 

Helena Fine, the Founder and Artistic Director of Te-Amim, an organization that provides tolerance education through the arts, joined Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC) because she felt the mandate of the two organizations to educate youth about social justice and human rights meant working together would be a natural fit. “When I first approached Avi about educating people through the arts I was really impressed that he and I were on the same wavelength and that he believed in the same issues – like the importance of fighting racism, antisemitism and discrimination -as I did, and that’s how our relationship began,” Helena explained.

 

FSWC and Te-Amim have in fact partnered on a number of projects, ranging from an event in 2003 dedicated to Simon Wiesenthal that included readings and an interpretive dance based on his novel “The Sunflower,” to the more recent FSWC sponsorship of a Te-Amim production of “Ten Green Bottles” about the Jews of Shanghai, and the current Tolerance Arts Education Project with students from York Region funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

 

Helena, who says the opportunity to meet Elie Wiesel at the 2010 Spirit of Hope Benefit was “more thrilling for me than meeting a movie star,” looks forward to FSWC becoming more involved in the wider community and forming creative partnerships which are beneficial and life changing for the participants.

 

“The arts provide a wonderful way of collaborating and of deepening the educational experience –reaching young people on a very different level and making the impact more profound,” she says. “It’s always our hope that people will see the value in what we do and continue to support arts education and the Wiesenthal Center.”

 

 

News Features
of the Week

How much anti-Semitism is too much?

 

By Anne Bayefsky in the Jerusalem Post


Europe’s Muslim Lobby

 

By Soeren Kern in Hudson New York


IN PARLIAMENT THIS WEEK

The House of Commons is adjourned until Monday, January 31. 2011



Avi’s Version

 

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.”

 

 

 


 

FASTFORWARD
                   Have your Say!

Do you have any questions or comments about FSWC activities, decisions or positions on issues? Please let us know.

Email mailto:sstarkman@fswc.ca

 


 

 

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Media Contact
Stacey Starkman
Communications Manager
Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center
 for Holocaust Studies

416-864-9735 x 32
sstarkman@fswc.ca

 

 

FSWC IS SUPPORTED BY CONCERNED CANADIANS. 
PLEASE CALL 416-864-9735
TO HELP MAKE THE WORLD
A BETTER PLACE.
VISIT
WWW.FSWC.CA

 

RABBI STEINMETZ IN MONTREAL TO FSWC: “ANY ACT OF ANTISEMITISM IS INTOLERABLE”

 

Further to the acts of violence against the Jewish community in Montreal earlier this week, FSWC spoke with Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz of Congregation Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem in Cote St. Luc, Quebec, whose synagogue was one of five targeted by vandalism. Here’s what he had to say about the incident.

 

FSWC: Media reports on this story indicate there have been other acts of minor violence that have gone unreported in the press. Why?

 

Rabbi Steinmetz: When there is vandalism there is a reluctance to go to the press because there is a fear of copycat incidents. As a community we are not always comfortable running forward with every incident and there’s been a certain amount of judgment being exercised because we don’t want to encourage copycats. However, these particular incidents demonstrate a certain level of sophistication, and we felt it was time to go to the press and make some noise.

 

FSWC: Is the situation for the Jewish community in Montreal deteriorating?

 

Rabbi Steinmetz: The honest truth is that the situation for the Jewish community in Montreal is not bad. People are not getting harassed or beaten up in the streets. There has been a rash of vandalism but essentially things are like they were five or ten years ago; there hasn’t been a dramatic change. However, even if it's not worse than 10 years ago, as Jews and Canadians, we know that any act of antisemitism is intolerable. And sadly, antisemitism can spread when men of good conscience remain silent.

 

FSWC: Are there any other issues the community is currently facing?

 

Rabbi Steinmetz: The only other incident we are dealing with concerns the Member of the Quebec National Assembly- Amir Khadir who supports and continues to boycott a merchant on St. Denis for selling Israeli footwear. It’s awful what these people are doing to him – they are looking for the smallest victory over Israel, and yet there has been a huge backlash in the French press against this boycott attempt. Yves Archambault, owner of Le Marcheur, has shown so much backbone and the entire French media has backed him up, so that’s been rather good. Although there really isn’t a feeling of great discomfort here, and even if the French media has attacked Mr. Khadir's protests outside Le Marcheur, I believe we as a community must stand up for the store's owners. We must show our gratitude for our friends.

 

FSWC: Has the wider Quebec community offered any words of support?

 

Rabbi Steinmetz: People are still trying to figure out what’s happened. I have received so many gestures of support, phone calls and emails all day and all night from Ministers, Priests and Imams, and from Jason Kenney and Michael Ignatieff, as well as from Irwin Cotler, who is a member of the synagogue. Jean Charest has also been very supportive so I would say these incidents have received a terrific response.

 

CLICK HERE to read FSWC’s Call to Action after the attack in a Global TV article

 

 

FROM MONTREAL TO TUNISIA, TORONTO GAY PRIDE AND AHAVA TO NAZIS IN CANADA AND SARAH PALIN, FSWC PRESIDENT AND CEO AVI BENLOLO WEIGHS IN

 

Each week Avi Benlolo discusses FSWC’s stand on events happening in Canada and around the world in One on One with Avi Benlolo. Here’s a sample of this week’s issues:

 

Q. Rumours about a boycott of Israeli based Ahava skincare products by The Bay continue to circulate within the Jewish community, despite clear statements made by the Bay President and CEO that there is no boycott. How can we deal with this rumour, and how can we prevent similar situations from occurring in the future?

 

A. These rumours only serve the interests of the anti-Israel groups that wish to delegitimize the Jewish state and the longer they are kept alive, even by people of good will who are concerned for Israel, the more pervasive the ideas of the delegitimizers become. We can only work with absolute facts and documentation and evidence: both Ahava and the Bay have told us the product has not been boycotted, and for that we should feel both reassured and proud that a major corporate organization is in fact supporting the state of Israel.

 

Q. What do you make of Sarah Palin’s use of the term ‘blood libel’?


A. The Simon Wiesenthal Center has denounced Sarah Palin’s use of the term “blood libel” to attack the media’s response to the horrific shootings at Tucson this past weekend. According to Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Wiesenthal Center, “It is simply inappropriate to compare current American politics with a term that was used by Christians to persecute Jews. She has every right to criticize journalists without going over the top,” he said.

 

CLICK HERE to read the full text of One on One with Avi Benlolo

 

SWC: CONGRESSMAN COHEN INVOKING NAZI COMPARISONS TO REPUBLICANS, DEBASES PUBLIC DISCOURSE AND THE TRUE LESSONS FROM NAZI ERA

 

January 20, 2011 - The Simon Wiesenthal Center, denounced U.S. Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) for comparing Republican opponents of President Obama’s Health Care reforms to ‘Big Lie’ Nazi tactics used by Joseph Goebbels and labeling Republican claims a “blood libel.”

“The inappropriate and outrageous invoking of Nazi imagery by any elected official debases public discourse in our democracy, insults the memory of the victims of the Third Reich and obscures the true lessons that need to be learned from the Nazi era,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. “Congressman Cohen joins a growing line of people from both sides of the political divide who inappropriately invoke the ‘Nazi card.’ It was a mistake to do so and shameful that he has refused to apologize.”

 

CLICK HERE to read the full release

 

 

WIESENTHAL CENTER 2010 ANNUAL STATUS REPORT HIGHLIGHTS REMARKABLE RISE IN NUMBER OF INDICTMENTS AND NEW AND ONGOING INVESTIGATIONS OF NAZI WAR CRIMINALS

January 13, 2011 - Jerusalem – The Simon Wiesenthal Center today officially released its 2010 Annual Status Report on the worldwide investigation and prosecution of Nazi war criminals, which covers the period from April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2010.

Among the highlights of the report are:

1. a dramatic increase of over 300% in the number of indictments filed from five to twenty-one, the highest figure in the past decade;

2. a remarkable increase in the number of new investigations opened from three hundred and fifteen to four hundred and fifty-six, with Germany more than tripling the number of new cases initiated;

3. a significant increase in the number of ongoing investigations from seven hundred and six to eight hundred and fifty two, with Germany increasing its figure almost six-fold.

 

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 Melissa Mikel 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: OPERATION THUNDERBALL AIRING THIS MONTH ON DISCOVERY CHANNEL

 

In 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

 

                                                 

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