Former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, standing beside a damaged yacht, Tuesday accused the Israeli navy of ramming the vessel to halt the delivery of medical supplies to the embattled Gaza Strip.
“Our mission was a peaceful mission,” McKinney told CNN after she and 15 others aboard the boat made it safely to the harbor in the Lebanese seaport of Tyre.
McKinney, the recent Green Party candidate for U.S. president and frequent center of controversy, is the most prominent political figure to join the relief voyages sponsored by the Free Gaza Movement.
McKinney was slated to travel by car to Beirut where she was expected to conducted media interviews and meet with Lebanese government officials, said Paul Larudee, a co-founder of the California-based Free Gaza group. [...]
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said on Wednesday that Israel had made a final decision not to participate in a U.N. forum on racism and urged other countries to boycott what she termed an “anti-Israel tribunal.”
The United Nations said it regretted the decision.
The World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, to be held in Geneva in April, is a follow-up to a 2001 summit in Durban, South Africa on the same issues.
Israel and the United States walked out of the first conference in protest over draft texts branding Israel as a racist and apartheid state — language that was later dropped.
In a speech to visiting U.S. Jewish leaders, Livni said she announced last February that Israel would not participate in the 2009 meeting unless it was clear it would not be used “as a platform for further anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic” activity.
She said documents prepared for next year’s forum showed it was “turning once again into an anti-Israeli tribunal, singling out and delegitimizing the State of Israel.”
As a result, she said: “I decided that Israel will not participate and will not legitimize the Durban-2 conference.”
“We call upon the international community not to participate in this conference, which seeks to legitimize hatred and extremism under the banner of the fight against racism,” Livni added [...]
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