Israel-bashing conference begins


A two-day conference by a U.N. committee on Palestinian rights that some believed would bash Israel apparently is living up to its expectations.

The conference at the European Parliament in Brussels, organized by the U.N. Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, was touted as supporting Israeli-Palestinian peace. But Jewish groups and Israel advocacy organizations condemned the program and list of speakers because of its focus on blaming and pressuring Israel.

That, said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a Geneva-based monitoring organization, “contravenes the balanced principles of the ‘road map’ framework in which Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are now meeting.”

According to Adam Mouchtar, director of the European Union Affairs Office for B’nai B’rith International, British Parliament member Claire Short told an audience of about 350 on Thursday that “boycotts worked for South Africa, it’s time to do it again,” referring to attempts by the largest British academics’ union to engage in a boycott against their Israeli counterparts.

Palestinian presenters include activists such as Raji Sourani, who justifies Hamas attacks as “resistance,” and Jamal Juma, who describes Israel as a “colonial racist apartheid state.” Also speaking at the conference are Leila Shahid, Palestinian envoy to the European Union and cousin of the late PLO leader Yassir Arafat. Other nongovernmental organizations are closely tied to pro-Palestinian lobby groups and campaign for boycotts and sanctions against Israel.


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