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January 12, 2017 2:08 pm

Irish University Announces It Has Not Yet Decided to Host Controversial Conference Exploring Elimination of Israel as Jewish State

avatar by Lea Speyer

University College Cork campus. Photo: University College Cork.

University College Cork campus. Photo: University College Cork.

The Irish university reportedly set to host a conference exploring the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state announced it has not yet decided whether to open its doors to the event.

University College Cork (UCC) said in a statement that “management has issued no approval” to hold the widely criticized International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Exceptionalism and Responsibility conference on its campus. 

The UK’s Jewish News quoted UCC as saying that it “has sought information on the details of the proposed conference from the organizers and will determine its position following appropriate consideration.”

According to conference organizers, the program aims, in part, to “generate a debate on legitimacy, exceptionalism and responsibility under international law as provoked by the nature of the Israeli state.” The conference was originally scheduled to take place last year at the University of Southampton in Britain, but the school rescinded its invitation following heavy objections.

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Conference topics include an examination of how the “Jewish nature of the state has profoundly affected the economic, constitutional, political and social life of…non-Jewish Arabs.” Among the speakers slated to attend and present at the conference are leading anti-Israel activists and academics.

A representative from the Israeli Embassy in Ireland told The Algemeiner last week that the conference is “incompatible with the values of democracy and goes against the essence of academic discussion.”

Organizers are “promoting an unbalanced agenda within academic institutions that seeks to demonize and delegitimize Israel,” the embassy representative said, adding, “The prejudiced approach of such activists serves only to propagate hatred of the state and its people.”

“International Law and the State of Israel” has also aroused the ire of Irish Jewish and pro-Israel groups, which sharply criticized UCC’s decision to host the event.

A spokesman from the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland called the event “an anti-Israel hate-fest,” adding, “Experience has shown that where a narrative aimed at the destruction of the Jewish state is allowed to flourish, antisemitism follows.”

A member of the Irish4Israel advocacy organization said that his group is not pushing for the cancellation of the event, but “hope[s] that UCC will ensure balance and fairness and allow both sides to be heard, which could result in a far more successful conference, rather than creating an anti-Israel echo chamber.”

Dr. Denis MacEoin, chairman of North-East Friends of Israel in England and a distinguished senior fellow at the Gatestone Institute — who has been closely monitoring the activities of the conference organizers since the agenda was first introduced in 2015 — warned that “people around the world won’t spot [its] inherent bias…and will think it is presenting perfect academic evidence for the evils of Israel, leading to support for calls for it to be wiped out.”

“International Law and the State of Israel” is scheduled to take place between March 31 and April 2, 2017.

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