Tuesday 15 July 2008

Israel Is 'Canceled' in Berlin, WSJ editorial

Editorial in the WSJ

"Iranian calls for the destruction of Israel are almost routine these days. But for a former official of the Islamic Republic to call for the destruction of the Jewish state in the city where the Holocaust was planned adds a repugnant twist – especially as the German government sponsored the event that gave the man from Tehran a Western stage.

At a conference on the Mideast in Berlin on Wednesday, Muhammad Javad Ardashir Larijani said the "Zionist project," which has "created only violence and atrocities," should be "canceled." Mr. Larijani, a former deputy foreign minister, is the brother of Iran's former nuclear negotiator and current parliamentary speaker, Ali Larijani.

The conference organizers, the Peace Research Institute of Frankfurt, made a clumsy attempt at damage control. "We very much regret that the feelings of several Israeli participants were hurt," the institute said in a statement, making it sound as if the problem was with oversensitive Israelis rather than with the Iranian's call for the destruction of their country. While the institute said that it rejects Mr. Larijani's comments, it still defended the decision to invite him.
The institute says it wants to provide a "forum where politicians and experts can exchange positions – also controversial ones." But calling for the destruction of a country isn't "controversial" – it's beyond the realm of civilized debate. To give such views a "forum" is to give them legitimacy."


Germany admits financing Larijani forum, by Benjamin Weinthal

Berlin forum calls for Israel's destruction, by Benjamin Weinthal

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