Presidents Conference calls for Ahmadinejad walkout

NEW YORK (JTA) – Leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations called for a walkout when the president of Iran speaks in Geneva next week.

The Jewish community’s umbrella group on foreign affairs issued the call in advance of the appearance by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the Durban Review Conference. Delegations should “absent themselves or walk out when Iran’s radical president” speaks, the conference said in a statement Monday.

“The invitation to a man who is guilty of gross violations of human rights in his own country, and who bears responsibility for the suffering of countless others through Iran’s state support of terror, is a manifestation of the hypocrisy and distortion of principle that has characterized the Durban process,” conference leaders said.

The conference, a follow-up to the infamous 2001 U.N. conference on racism in Durban, South Africa, is expected to focus extensively on Israel. Jewish groups have organized a series of events to protest the event.

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