PARIS (Jun. 25)
The co-sponsors of an international conference on resurgent anti-Semitism were received by President Francois Mitterrand Wednesday evening, several hours after the two-day meeting ended here.
The gathering represented an unusual collaboration between the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization and the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center.
UNESCO until a few years ago was a bastion of pro-Arab, anti-Western sentiment in which Israel was regularly attacked.
Mitterrand personally congratulated the organizers of the conference, Federico Mayor Zaragoza, director-general of UNESCO and Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, co-deans of the Wiesenthal Center.
Mitterrand is reported to have said that “most anti-Semitism is latent, but it could turn bloody.” He did not elaborate.
The French president, who had been scheduled to address the conference but bowed out at the last minute, apologized for his absence.
He said he was occupied at an urgent meeting of both chambers of the French Parliament in Versailles to discuss the crisis surrounding the Maastricht Treaty, which would unite the European Community.