Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies

September 10, 2009 15:41 ET

Academy Award Winning Rabbi to TIFF Protesters: Your Script Is Riddled With Revisionism and Distorts History

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 10, 2009) -

A photo for this release will be available via Marketwire on the picture wire of The Canadian Press

A protest in response to the Toronto International Film Festival's spotlight on Tel Aviv as part of its new City to City program, has taken criticism of Israel to a new low, says Rabbi Marvin Hier, a two-time Academy Award winner and founder of Simon Wiesenthal Center. According to the Rabbi, the views of the signatories represent those of a vocal minority who are shamefully distorting history.

"Their treatment of recent events in the Middle East is like telling the story of World War II with a script that starts on the bombing of Normandy, D-Day, and seeing the Allied forces blast the French coastline," said Rabbi Hier. "That wasn't the first scene. The first scene began with Hitler's attacks on continental Europe, swallowing up one country after another. The Toronto protestors would have us believe that Gaza was the opening act, rather than the murderous and irresponsible behaviour demonstrated by Hamas after receiving control of Gaza from Israel. Israel did not want to retaliate on Gaza, but was forced to defend its citizens."

"Tel Aviv is one of the freest cities in the world - warts and all: a model city of diversity, freedom of expression and tolerance, for Arabs and Jews. It is the height of hypocrisy to signal out Tel Aviv. These protestors cannot masquerade their hatred toward Israel which so distorts their view."

Articles in mainstream media and personal calls to the Center from celebrities and other leaders during the past few days support the Center's position.

"Israel is a State that needs and deserves our support," said Avi Benlolo, president and CEO of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center in Toronto. "The country and its citizens, both Jews and Arabs, want to live in peace and share equal rights, freedoms and a commitment to peace with a Palestinian leadership that respects Israel's right to exist."

The Rabbi was hoping to use his visit to Toronto to introduce a new film on Churchill, Walking With Destiny, produced by the film division he founded in 1981. The film will document Churchill's leadership in 1940 that helped save Western Civilization from the tyranny of the Nazis. The movie will be making its world premiere on December 7th at Cineplex Odeon Varsity, one of the very same venues hosting TIFF screenings and the international film community.

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center in Toronto has set up the website to shed light on the accusations and attacks directed to Israel and encourage a well-balanced understanding on the issues at play.

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 for more information.

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