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NEW YORK - Arab states at the United Nations are trying to foil a proposal to raise a vote condemning anti-Semitism in the General Assembly this September.

At a closed meeting held recently in New York, UN ambassadors from Arab and EU countries met and the Arabs made clear that they do not accept the initiative for the UN General Assembly to condemn anti-Semitism.

The blunt language used by the Arabs describing their opposition, and their plans to use diplomatic means to prevent the resolution from reaching a vote, shocked the Europeans, said a UN source.

According to UN sources, the Arab delegates were also critical of a UN seminar on anti-Semitism held last month. A senior Western diplomat said that among the Arabs who spoke with the Europeans was PLO observer Nasser al Kidwe, and he was particularly outspoken in his objections to a UN General Assembly resolution on anti-Semitism.

The source said Kidwe attacked the content of UN Secretary general Koffi Anan's speech to the seminar last month, particularly Annan's pride in the cancelation of the 1975 Zionism equals racism resolution. "The Europeans were depressed when they left the meeting," said the source.

Jordanian Ambassador to the UN Prince Ziad Hussein argued that the resolution would reinforce the tendency to call any criticism of Israel, anti-Semitic. Moroccan Ambassador Mohammed Banone, said that the seminar against anti-Semitism was a terrible idea and a decision would only divide the world body. Arab League Ambassador Mahamas Hani warned that a UN resolution condemning anti-Semitism would have a negative impact on the Middle East.

The proposed resolution would issue a general condemnation of all forms of anti-Semitism and acts of intolerance, incitement and harassment. The decision would also call on member countries to take steps to block anti-Semitism.

Major countries have already committed to voting in favor. Last year, an Israeli initiative for a similar resolution failed.