Keep 'Racist' Israel Out of OECD, Arab Rights Group Urges

Discriminatory policies should exclude Israel from club for developed countries.

An Israeli Arab rights committee sent a petition to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on Saturday opposing the addition of Israel to the organization.

After two years of official talks, the OECD will vote in May on whether to admit Israel.

Mohammed Zeidan, head of the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee, told Haaretz that a country like Israel should not be allowed to join the prestigious international organization of developed countries because of racist and discriminatory policies towards Israeli Arabs, about 20 percent of Israel's population, as well as the fact that Israel is an occupying power.

The letter calls on the OECD to lay out clear conditions for Israel to improve the economic and social position of Israeli Arabs.

About 50 percent of Israeli Arab children live below the poverty line and unemployment and crime continue to rise in the Arab sector, according to data presented by rights organizations.