My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (

Sunday, May 21, 2006

European racism conference drops anti-semitism from agenda...

Under pressure from Arab countries, anti-semitism was dropped from the agenda.
Israel will boycott a European Union-sponsored conference on "Racism, Xenophobia and the Media" being held Monday in Vienna because the issue of anti-Semitism is not on the agenda, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

Diplomatic officials in Jerusalem said Israel's ambassador to Austria, Dan Ashbel, would not be participating in the conference, which was organized by the Austrian Foreign Ministry, the European Commission and the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia.

Ashbel and representatives from the other states in the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership - the 25 EU members plus 10 countries around the Mediterranean basin - had been invited to attend.

According to the diplomatic sources, this is to be the first time since the Barcelona Conference in 1995 that Israel has boycotted a conference held within the Euro-Med framework.

The Barcelona Conference launched the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, or Barcelona Process, which is a framework for political, economic and social relations between the EU and Mediterranean countries. It is unique in that Israel takes part in the forum's meetings alongside Syria, Algeria, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey and the Palestinian Authority.

Diplomatic officials in Jerusalem said that when the Vienna conference was first organized last year, it had planned to address racism in the media, including Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. Although the conference was planned well before the public outrage in Muslim countries earlier this year over the Muhammad cartoons published in a Danish newspaper, that issue made the meeting more pressing.

The original description of the conference received in Jerusalem in March said that the two-day seminar, which would be attended by a number of media personalities from Europe and the Arab world, would deal with racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.

However all references to anti-Semitism had been removed from an updated description that the Foreign Ministry received on May 11, while a report on Islamophobia in the press was still on the agenda.

Israeli diplomatic officials said that the decision to eliminate the discussion of anti-Semitism was taken following pressure from Arab countries.


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