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March 22, 2017 8:10 am

Israel Advocacy Group: Upcoming Conference in Ireland Calling Jewish State’s Right to Exist Into Question Disingenuously Exploiting Academic Logo to Lend Veneer of Credibility to Controversial Event

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Flag of Ireland. Photo: John Hoey/ Wikimedia Commons.

A spokesman for an Israel advocacy group in Ireland told The Algemeiner on Tuesday that the organizers of an upcoming three-day conference calling the Jewish state’s right to exist into question are disingenuously exploiting the logo of University College Cork (UCC) to lend a veneer of academic credibility to the event, though its only connection to UCC is that its last day will be held on the school’s campus.

The Irish4Israel representative called this move on the part of the organizers of “International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Exceptionalism and Responsibility”  — who have displayed the UCC logo prominently on the conference website and promotional material — a “one-sided joke,” as even they include a disclaimer stating that the university is “neither a sponsor nor promoter.”

Irish4Israel said that UCC should “distance itself and demand organizers remove any association with the university if it wishes to maintain its highly regarded international image. This conference could have great implications for UCC research collaborations with universities abroad and future philanthropic donations. Organizers have an extremist agenda and are actively calling for Israel’s destruction or a no state solution. This event is not really about Israel or Palestinians anymore, but a simple hate fest echo chamber.”

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As The Algemeiner reported in December, upon the announcement that the conference would be held at UCC, the university said that while it would not be taking any official part in the event, it would provide space on campus for its final day.

In a separate development, one of two pro-Israel speakers invited to the conference, which begins March 31, backed out after learning that former UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian ‎Territories Richard Falk – co-author of a widely criticized report released last week by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western ‎Asia, which called Israel an apartheid regime — was invited to deliver the keynote address.

Professor Alan Johnson, senior research fellow at the Britain Israel Communications & Research Center (BICOM), said in a statement, “I had agreed to participate in an academic conference to present a paper in defense of Israel’s right to exist. But by inviting a speaker who espouses antisemitic conspiracy theories the conference is now objectively an attempt to normalize antisemitism and I cannot attend such an event.”

“International Law and the State of Israel” — which aims, in part, to “generate a debate on legitimacy, exceptionalism and responsibility under international law as provoked by the nature of the Israeli state” — was originally scheduled to take place last year at the University of Southampton in Britain, but the school rescinded its invitation after it came under a barrage of criticism.

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