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Czechs check out of Durban II

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Czech Republic pulled out of the United Nations-sponsored conference on racism in Geneva.

The Czechs were one of 23 European Union countries to walk out Monday during an anti-Israel, anti-Western address by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and they did not return when the conference reconvened Tuesday.

"As is the case with a number of our democratic partners — whether they are among the EU Member States or not — we cannot allow our presence at this conference to legitimize the completely unacceptable anti-Israeli attacks, i.e. a repetition of events that had a strong negative impact on the previous conference in 2001, " read a statement from the Czech Foreign Ministry.

Israel, Canada, United States, Poland, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, the Netherlands and Germany had boycotted the conference before it began.

Meanwhile, the United Nations said Tuesday that it expelled from the conference several members of a Jewish student group after three of them, wearing rainbow wigs, disrupted Ahmadinejad’s speech. Members of the European Union of Jewish Students also tried to disrupt a news conference with the Iranian president.

The United Nations also said Tuesday that Ahmadinejad dropped language describing the Holocaust as "ambiguous and dubious" after meeting before his speech with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, according to The Associated Press.
 

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