Iran seeks to block Jewish group from anti-racism conference

Wednesday, April 23, 2008 |  by Staff Writer

Iran is trying to prevent a leading Canadian Jewish group from receiving the required approval to attend next year's World Conference Against Racism, according to a report in the Toronto Star.

The Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy (CIJA) told the newspaper that it made a routine application for accreditation for the UN-hosted event, which was initially approved. However, the Iranian delegation to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva immediately disputed the accreditation. Iran was joined by Egypt and other Muslim countries in its opposition.

Iran's argument was that the CIJA had "made no significant contribution to fighting racism," and as such was not an appropriate participant in the upcoming anti-racism event.

The conference, which still doesn't have a final date or location, will be chaired by Libya and Cuba. Israel and the United States have said they will boycott the conference unless the UN can guarantee that it will not descend into an Israel-bashing circus like a similar gathering in Durban, South Africa in 2001.

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