Britain and Spain will not send delegates to the OECD’s biannual tourism conference on October 20-22, because it will be held in Jerusalem, Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov said yesterday.
This is only the second time in its history that the conference, which this year will deal with sustainable tourism, is being held outside Paris.
“OECD officials demanded that we not bring the delegates to East Jerusalem, or that we move the conference to Tel Aviv,” Misezhnikov said. “If we agreed to that, they promised to send many delegates. We held a meeting with the Foreign Ministry and decided to reject” the Tel Aviv idea.
But even after Israel agreed not to take the delegates to East Jerusalem – and even to eschew any mention of East Jerusalem during the conference – the Palestinians urged OECD members to stay away from it, Misezhnikov charged.
Delegates from Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, South Africa, The Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Estonia and Turkey, among others, are expected to take part in the conference.
The British Embassy said in response:
“The U.K. won’t be attending this conference, but it is entirely false to suggest that this is due to a boycott of for political reasons. The U.K.’s opposition to boycotts against Israel is well known. The UK will actually be chairing a session at the OECD’s international data protection and privacy commission later this month in Jerusalem. The only reason there’s no U.K. representation at the tourism seminar is because that right delegates simply weren’t available.