Polish MEPs oppose controversial conference You may listen to it in English
Polish Members of the European Parliament are expressing concern about a pro-Palestinian conference that is to be staged in the European Parliament. In their opinion, this one-sided event could stir up anti-Israeli sentiments.
Joanna Najfeld reports
Polish euro-parliamentarians from all sides of the political spectrum have come together to oppose a controversial pro-Palestinian conference that is to take place in the European Parliament on the two last days of August.
The United Nations committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People is organizing a conference on the European Parliament premises and some MEPs are scheduled to speak at the event. The state of Israel is trying to block the conference, fearing that it might spread anti-Israeli sentiments in Europe.
In response to the touchy issue, Polish parliamentarians have voiced their concern. MEP Konrad Szymanski:
'It is not a question of opposition to the conference, we oppose the official patronage of the European Parliament. We think this conference sends a very unrepresentative and misleading message to our Middle East partners, because as far as we know, the conference organizers have a quite one-sided and biased agenda. This is why we think the public opinion should be aware that this is not representative of the European Parliament position which is clearly described in the official resolutions.'
Polish MEP Bogusław Sonik has written an official letter to the European Parliament President Hasn-Gert Poettering, but it is not just Polish parliamentarians who share the disapproval of the European Parliament President's decision to cooperate with the partisan conference organizer. Konrad Szymanski again:
'When the President of the European Parliament decided to do it, it was his free will and it was in his competence to do it. But we would like to voice the opinion, that this is not shared by the whole European Parliament. A lot of parliamentarians were shocked by the fact that this committee is an official partner of the European Parliament. We think that it is a mistake of the President of the European Parliament, Hans Gert-Poettering who decided to invite this committee to the Parliament. Two years ago, we had a similar situation, but Mr. Borrell refused to cooperate with this committee.'
The issue of pro-Islamic sentiments in Brussels has a wider angle, says European Union policy analyst Piotr Bonisławski:
'In 2005, upon hearing the news of the death of John Paul II, the socialist mayor of Brussels, Mr. Thielemans was quoted as saying "Champaign for everyone". Now the same controversial mayor of Brussels has banned the demonstration of the "Stop the Islamization of Europe" paneuropean organization that wanted to demonstrate against introducing the Sharia Law in Europe. According to the organization, the march would end in front of the European Parliament building with one minute of silence for the victims of September 11 terrorist attacks in America. But, according to the mayor, it would be racist and xenophobic to demonstrate on September 11 in Brussels against introducing Sharia Law in Europe.'
The controversial pro-Palestinian conference in the European Parliament will go ahead as planned, as is too late to prevent it from taking place. Polish parliamentarians hope, however, that the public opinion will notice that the views presented in the conference are not shared by all MEPs.