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Effort Made to Stymie Israeli Attendance at Philosophical Congress

The International Philosophical Congress, which convenes every fifth year, is next scheduled to be held in Varna, Bulgaria, in Sept. 1974. It has been a rule that the host country must commit itself in advance to allow all qualified participants into the country.

According to a well informed source, a problem has arisen concerning the entrance of prospective participants from countries which do not have diplomatic relations with Bulgaria. Israel is one of those nations. The question is particularly important because apparently the Congress is interested in having Israelis attend. There is a rather active philosophical life in Israel and Israelis participate in international scientific gatherings including philosophical conventions.

The source noted that the board of directors of the International Federation of Philosophical Societies, the board responsible for international congresses, has decided that visas for Israelis must be obtained in Israel. The Bulgarian members of the board agreed. As alternatives to visas being obtained in Israel, it was suggested that prospective Israeli participants get their visas from third countries or else on their arrival at the airport in Sofia. Israelis have rejected these suggestions contending that what is involved is a matter of principle and that the proposals, furthermore, are not technically feasible, the source said.

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