US NGO withdraws invitation to Israeli doctors

Safaa Abdoun
3 Min Read

CAIRO: The Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization has withdrawn its invitation to Israeli doctors to attend a conference in Egypt upon the request of Egypt’s Minister of Health.

The conference was organized as part of the American NGO’s breast cancer awareness month activities on Oct. 21-22 in Alexandria, which brought together breast cancer awareness advocates from 10 Middle Eastern countries.

According to the Israeli news portal J Weekly, the Anti-Defamation League’s national director, Abraham Foxman, wrote a letter to the NGO’s President Hala Moddelmog, condemning the decision, describing it as “shocking and contrary to the stated purpose of these programs.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure is the world’s largest breast cancer advocacy organization and is holding the breast cancer awareness month in cooperation with the Breast Cancer Foundation of Egypt and the Suzanne Mubarak Regional Center for Women’s Health and Development in Alexandria, with support from the governments of Egypt and the United States.

Representatives of the organization were unavailable for comment.

This incident adds to a series of recent events affecting Egyptian-Israeli normalization. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit last week threatened to boycott the Union for Mediterranean Foreign Ministers conference, which is scheduled to take place next month in Istanbul, Turkey, if right-wing Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman plans to attend it.

“Forget it. I will not attend if Lieberman is there, Aboul Gheit said, according to news reports. “I refuse to sit at the same table with him, or even be in the same room as him, he added.

Lieberman had triggered Egypt’s ire in late 2008, when he said that the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak can “go to hell because he never makes return visits to Israel but receives Israeli officials in Egypt.

Last month, a visit of the Israeli Ambassador to Egypt Shalhom Cohen to the office of Al-Ahram’s Democracy Review journal editor-in-chief Hala Mostafa sparked controversy within the state-owned foundation.

Al-Ahram’s board issued a number of decrees including referring Mostafa to an investigative committee, banning any Israeli from entering the organization’s premises and banning any studies done with Zionist-related researchers, meeting with them or having joint conferences.

“This is not a personal stance of the minister [Aboul Gheit] and each organization separately but it’s that of a whole nation against the crimes which Israel commits and its impediment to the peace process, said Abdel-Aleem Mohamed, Israeli studies expert at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies.

“There shall be no normalization with the Israelis as they continue to commit these crimes against humanity and are occupying land unjustly, he added.

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