JERUSALEM (JTA) – An invitation for Israeli doctors to attend a breast cancer awareness conference in Egypt was rescinded.
Israeli doctors planning to attend this week’s conference sponsored by the breast cancer advocacy group Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which includes meetings with cancer researchers from the United States and several countries in the Middle East, were told at the last minute that they were no longer invited to the conference by order of Egypt’s health minister.
The Israeli doctors already had received security clearance from Egypt to attend, according to reports.
The Anti-Defamation League on Monday called on the advocacy group to ensure that Israeli breast cancer researchers be permitted to participate in the program in Egypt, which begins Wednesday.
"We find this last minute exclusion of Israeli experts shocking and contrary to the stated purpose of these programs — to promote regional cooperation to highlight breast cancer awareness, research and best treatment practices — and inimical to the ideals and goals of your organization," Abraham Foxman, ADL’s national director, said in a letter to Hala Moddelmog, president and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
According to a notice on the advocacy group’s Web site, representatives of 10 Middle East nations are scheduled to participate in the conference, which the group says is being undertaken with "unprecedented cooperation aimed at elevating awareness of breast cancer in the region and beyond."
The conference is being held under the auspices of Egypt’s first lady, Suzanne Mubarak, and supported by the Suzanne Mubarak Women’s International Peace Movement, the Egyptian Ministry of Health and the United States Agency for International Development, with assistance from the Institute of International Education and the Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs.