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Iranian delegation walks out of Danon address in Morocco

The Israeli lawmaker called for world legislatures to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism.

Knesset member Danny Danon addresses the Parliamentary Conference on Interfaith Dialogue in Marrakesh, June 2023. Credit: Courtesy.
Knesset member Danny Danon addresses the Parliamentary Conference on Interfaith Dialogue in Marrakesh, June 2023. Credit: Courtesy.

Knesset member Danny Danon, speaking in Morocco this week, called on parliaments worldwide to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism.

The former ambassador to the U.N. spoke at the Parliamentary Conference on Interfaith Dialogue in Marrakesh organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the Parliament of Morocco.

The Iranian delegation walked out during his speech.

“You talk about religious tolerance but in practice, you only promote hatred and terrorism,” Danon said of the Iranian officials. “The Iranian people deserve better leadership.”

The Inter-Parliamentary Union has 179 member legislatures including the Knesset.

The IHRA is an intergovernmental organization based in Berlin that seeks to strengthen Holocaust education. It released the widely-adopted, nonbinding working definition of antisemitism in 2016.

The definition cites 11 examples, including: “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor,” and “Applying double standards by requiring of it [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.”

Danon also called for greater religious tolerance, describing Israel as “a country that embodies diversity and multiculturalism” and one where “people of different faiths have found refuge and a homeland.”

He added that the modern-day State of Israel is a reminder of “the challenges that lie ahead in the pursuit of peace and coexistence.”

He spoke about hope for the future and in the wake of the 2020 Abraham Accords, which, he said, “demonstrate that the pursuit of peace and reconciliation can transcend historical grievances and longstanding conflicts.”

The Israeli delegation to the conference was led by Danon, who is also the president of World Likud, and included Yesh Atid MK Elazar Stern, National Unity Party MK Yifat Sasha-Biton and Likud MK Dan Illouz.

On Monday, Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said at the AJC Global Forum in Tel Aviv that the Abraham Accords have created a unique opportunity for peace in the region, and helped create unprecedented growth in his country’s trade with Israel.

“After decades of war and hatred, there is now a unique opportunity for peace,” he said. “Bilateral relations with Israel have been improving on all levels.”

Bourita noted that in the past two years, Morocco has seen more than a dozen visits by high-ranking Israeli officials, a 160% jump in bilateral trade and a fivefold increase in Israeli tourists.

In December 2020, in a three-party announcement that included the United States, Morocco re-established and upgraded its relations with Israel after a 20-year gap.

Also last week, Knesset Speaker Amri Ohana expressed support for Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara during a visit to Rabat.

Ohana spoke on the day he became the first-ever leader of Israel’s parliament to pay an official visit to the legislature of a Muslim country.

“Israel should move towards that goal of recognizing the Moroccan Sahara just as our closest ally the United States did. … I supported and pushed toward that goal,” Ohana said.

He presented the head of the Moroccan parliament with the smallest Koran in the world, printed with Israeli nanotechnology.

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