March 25, 2001

Lebanese PM bans Holocaust denial conference in Beirut

Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri announced on Friday that a conference in support of Holocaust denial, scheduled to be held in Beirut later this month, was banned and canceled.

The decision of the Lebanese government followed calls by Jewish organizations and Arab intellectuals for the cancelation of the conference.

"Lebanon has more important things to do than hold conferences which harm its international standing and which stain its good name," Hariri was quoted as saying.

The conference, called "Zionism and Revisionism," is being funded by U.S. and Swiss based organizations. Preparations for the event, which was set to take place on March 31, are still continuing, according to some reports.

The Jewish National Congress has accused Iran of being behind the leading organizer, a Swiss citizen, Jürgen Graf, who heads the "Truth and Justice Institute." In 1988, he was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment in Switzerland for violating laws against racism, but fled the country and spent time in Tehran.