Friday, June 8, 2007

From Bucharest: An Arab NGO demonstrates why we need these kind of meetings... despite himself

This morning, at a session on dsicrimination against Christians, the representative of the Islamic Societies of the Arab States [an NGO] launched into a long and virulent attack on Israel.

He began by claiming that Islam was under seige all over as exemplified by the headline in an Austrian [I think it was Austrian, he was hard to understand] paper: Islam: The Fascism of the 21st Century?

He said that there is an urgent need to discuss the attacks on Islam particularly the scurrilous [my word] link betwee "terrorism and Islam which is a religion of ethics, tolerance, and values."

He stated unequivocally that "All Arab states condem all forms of terrorism and intolerance."

He then turned to Israel. He said: "Rejection of racism and antisemitism does nhot mean that we have to remain silent towards the occupation powers which deny the legitimate rights of the Arabs in general and the Palestinians in particular."

"The question is: why are the Moslems and Arabs accused of antisemitism when at the same time they are subjected to occupation."

"Antisemitism is an European phenomenon. It was not known in the Arab lands at all."

He attacked Israeli MP and Cabinet Member Herzog for "mixing between antisemism and anti-Israeli policies and anti-Zionism which is a political doctrine based on occupation and expantionism."

"Antisemitism must not be exploited," he said, "to cover up the occupation power and pracitices of Israel... including the racist wall."

His distortions of history [Jews and, for that matter, Chrisitians were persecuted in Arab lands and contemporary facts, i.e. the intense antisemitism on Egyptian and Syrian TV or Ahmadinejad's comments [just two examplesamong many others], what I find amazing is the absolute refusal of people such as this and his Egyptian partner the day before to acknowledge that maybe -- just maybe - they too have done something wrong.

At the very least, when he finished the Chair asked all other spreakers to be short and constructive.

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