Gov't campaign in works to block anti-Israel seminar in Brussels
Israel to launch public campaign to call off seminar scheduled to take place at European Parliament.
Israel is about to launch a public campaign to call off an anti-Israeli seminar scheduled to take place at the European Parliament in Brussels later this month, Foreign Ministry sources told Haaretz. The ministry is enlisting the support of parliament members and Zionist leaders in Europe.
The seminar is being organized by the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, established in 1975. Since Jerusalem learned of the seminar two weeks ago, diplomats have been trying to persuade the European Parliament to ban the event, which Israeli sources described as geared toward "passing unilateral condemnations against Israel."
Government sources said they intend to launch a public campaign to win the support of pro-Israeli European organizations. The seminar is expected to deal with subjects such as human rights in the West bank and the Israeli response to demonstrations against the separation fence. The event will include a workshop on "increasing the resistance to the Israeli occupation."
One government source in Jerusalem said the event was being "conducted under the guise of promoting the peace process, but in fact, under this banner we are seeing organizations that promote anti-Israel boycotts and are working to defame Israel."
After sources in the Israeli Foreign Ministry contacted the European Parliament to request clarification about the seminar, scheduled to begin on August 30, they were told the parliament "was not sponsoring the event, but merely making its facilities available for the participants."
The explanations failed to impress Jerusalem because the seminar is supported by many European Parliament members, some of whom plan to attend and take part. Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik asked her counterpart at the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pottering, to reconsider the plan to allow the seminar to take place at the parliament seat in the Espace Leopold complex in Brussels.
In her letter to Pottering, Itzik said that by allowing the seminar to take place, the European Parliament would be legitimizing an anti-Israeli organization. Foreign Ministry sources said they had not yet received a response from Pottering.