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Canadian group quits racism confab

A Canadian Jewish advocacy group withdrew its application to attend a U.N. conference on racism.

The Canadian Council on Israel and Jewish Advocacy, after receiving what its officials deemed “highly discriminatory” questions from Iran, withdrew its application for accreditation to attend the 2009 World Conference Against Racism during a two-week preparatory meeting in Geneva.

The council’s application was submitted well before the Canadian government announced earlier this year that it would boycott the so-called Durban II conference.

Iran claimed the council was a commercial organization and was not involved in anti-racism or anti-discrimination work.

“We just kept getting more and more of the same questions, which we answered, and then they kept asking them again,” the council’s CEO, Hershell Ezrin, told JTA. “We have withdrawn our application for accreditation.”

Ezrin said Iran also wanted to know why the council did not attend the 2001 anti-racism conference in South Africa. The council was not formed until 2004.

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