BRUSSELS, (Reuters) – Israel on Friday attacked a U.N.-sponsored conference on Palestinian rights as a “virulent anti-Israeli propaganda effort” and criticised the United Nations and European Parliament for their role in the event.
The two-day panel sponsored by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and hosted by the European Parliament in Brussels began on Thursday amid a welter of criticism of bias from Jewish groups. “It is lamentable that … a U.N. body and especially the European Parliament have decided to take part in the organisation of such an event,” Israel’s mission to the European Union said in a statement.
Jewish human rights body the Simon Wiesenthal Center called on United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to monitor the U.N. committee for what it called “Israel-bashing”. “The event allowed them to promote their campaign of calling for boycotts and sanctions,” said Shimon Samuels, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s director of international relations. “We are asking Ban Ki-moon to monitor this committee much more closely as it is a one-country-bashing committee that does not have any legitimacy,” he added.
Samuels said he had appealed in vain to European Parliament officials not to let the event go ahead, arguing the conference programme was dominated by critics of Israel and lacked speakers to ut forward the Israeli view.
The U.N. committee was established in 1975 alongside a resolution lamenting the lack of progress in solving the Palestine problem which Jewish groups say has long since been superseded by events and subsequent U.N. resolutions.
Committee chairman Paul Badji of Senegal rejected the allegations on the first day of the conference. “I don’t think it is an anti-Israeli conference,” he told a news briefing. “We discuss the situation on the ground as it is and this does not make us anti-Israeli.”