NEW YORK (Jul. 26)
The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith has protested the exclusion of the city of Jerusalem from the forthcoming World Conference of Historical Cities to be hosted by the city of Kyoto.
In a July 23 letter to Japanese Ambassador Nobuo Matsunaga, ADL national director Abraham Foxman said that barring Jerusalem, which is “rich in cultural and religious history, serves the interests of those who seek the political delegitimization of Israel’s capital.”
The conference, which is scheduled in November, will be represented by 35 cities. The Kyoto City Council voted not to extend an invitation to Jerusalem. The ADL first raised the matter of Jerusalem’s exclusion with the Japanese Embassy in Washington last May. But the Embassy has informed the ADL that the decision still stands.
Expressing “disappointment and dismay,” Foxman said that barring Jerusalem “contradicts several of the conference’s stated aims, including those of promoting ‘international friendship’ and contributing to world peace.”
Kyoto’s decision, he added, “is not an isolated instance of Japanese political bias against Israel.” Foxman cited Tokyo’s support of the Arab economic boycott against Israel and Japan’s refusal to engage in scientific exchanges with Israel and promote cultural ties.
“We believe that the inclusion of Jerusalem in the Kyoto conference would be an important step in bettering Japanese-Israeli ties and we urge the (Kyoto) council to reconsider its exclusionary decision,” Foxman said.