Arab MKs Praise U.N. Racism Conf.

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli Arab MKs (members of Knesset) voiced strong support for the U.N.-sponsored racism conference, with several attending the week-long event, which begins Monday in Geneva.

"Any conference against racism is welcome, especially when it is held under the auspices of the U.N.," Balad MK Said Nafa said.

"There are dangerous signs of racism in Israel, including a party that is super racist," Nafa said in reference to Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu party.

Balad chairman MK Jamal Zahalka, referring to himself as a victim of "Israeli racist apartheid," said he will speak about Israel's "official racism" during his address at Durban II.

MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List - Ta'al) claimed racism in on the increase in Israel.

"Since the last elections, there has been an increase in racism, which has become mainstream in Israeli society," Tibi said.

"I can understand the shame of Israel, which is why they fled and aren't participating. It wouldn't be pleasant for Israel to be present there," Tibi concluded.

"Israel's lack of participation is a form of running away. Israel is being accused there, and Israel solves the problem by claiming anti-Semitism. But not everyone who is critical of Israel is [embracing] anti-Semitism," he said.

The opening day of the conference, when keynote speaker Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addresses participants, is the anniversary of Adolph Hitler's birthday.

Monday evening, Israelis begin the annual Holocaust Memorial Day observances.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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