October 09, 2010

OECD collaborates with the occupation but don't tell anyone

I think that's the position. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is holding a tourism conference in Jerusalem which is bang out of order when you think about it because the international consensus is that Israel is illegally occupying Jerusalem and the OECD is an official international body. Well typically the Israelis have started bragging that the situating of the conference in occupied territory means the conferment of legitimacy which of course seems to be a correct interpretation. Well this has caused some embarrassment to the General Secretary of the OECD. Here's Ha'aretz:
Angel Gurria, Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), sent a harsh letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning that due to comments made by Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov (Yisrael Beitenu), the decision to hold a tourism conference in Jerusalem could be hindered.

Misezhnikov said in an interview with Haaretz on Monday that although some countries have cancelled their participation in the OECD conference to be held in Jerusalem later this month, the fact that most countries have not cancelled their participation is a show of support for Israel's territorial claims in Jerusalem.

It's interesting that the OECD is so put out by this because by holding their conference in Jerusalem they are clearly poking even minimalist Palestinian aspirations in the eye but the OECD still wants to play ball with Israel:
Gurria wrote in the letter that he demanded clarifications regarding Misezhnikov's comments and claimed that the OECD had made it known to Israel that their decision to hold the conference in Jerusalem was not meant to have political implications.

The Secretary-General protested the fact that Misezhnikov had linked the conference to political issues and said that the incident could hinder the planning of future conferences in Israel.

Now I don't know how often these conferences take place but with 30 members why do they have to be considering now whether or not to hold future conferences in Jerusalem? It would appear that the spectre of not holding future conferences in Jerusalem is a gambit to go ahead and support Israel's claim on Jerusalem whilst appearing to take action against it. Unless Israel digs in and embarrasses the OECD still further, the scheduled conference will take place in Jerusalem and the location of future conferences will be largely forgotten.

I hope I'm wrong of course and, according to the Ha'aretz article, the UK and Spain are actually boycotting the conference this time around specifically because it is being held in Jerusalem.

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