Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies

September 23, 2009 16:26 ET

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center Supports Canada’s Plan to Walk-Out on President Ahmadinejad’s UN General Assembly Speech

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 23, 2009) - Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies applauds the Canadian government's decision to protest Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's General Assembly address to the United Nations.

In recent years, President Ahmadinejad's aggressive and hateful comments towards Israel and his continuous practice of denying the Holocaust have continued to fuel the fires of hate and discontent in the international community. In recent years, Ahmadinejad has been quoted as stating that Israel should be wiped off the map and that the Holocaust was a myth.

"These types of statements from world leaders do nothing but prey on the uninformed and contribute to the creation of misinformation among the world's population," said Avi Benlolo, President and CEO of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center. "In walking out, Canada is making a strong statement about the country's relations with Iran. President Ahmadinejad needs to know that when he speaks, Canada doesn't listen."

In addition to taking exception with Ahmadinejad's stance on Israel, Canada has also been calling into question Iran's poor record related to human rights and freedom of speech. In 2003, Zahra Kazemi, an Iranian-Canadian photojournalist was killed while in custody in Iran. More recently, during the fallout of the recent Iranian election Maziar Bahari, an Iranian-Canadian reporter working for Newsweek, was also imprisoned.

In a news conference held earlier today in Ontario, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said, "President Ahmadinejad has said things particularly about the State of Israel, the Jewish people and the Holocaust that are absolutely repugnant. It is unfitting that somebody like that would be giving those kinds of remarks before the United Nations General Assembly. Canada does not want to be equivocal at all in terms of our view on that. We find it disgraceful, unacceptable and we are going to absolutely clear on that."

Directly challenging antisemitism and human rights violations by educating the public about the negative impact is central to the goals of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center.

About Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies is a Canadian human rights organization dedicated to fostering tolerance and understanding through community involvement, educational outreach and social action. The Center currently has over 25,000 members across Canada, and confronts important contemporary issues including racism, antisemitism, terrorism and genocide. Visit www.fswc.ca for more information.

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