April 22, 2001

Jordanian writers postpone Holocaust revisionist meeting

The Associated Press

AMMAN, Jordan - The Jordanian Writers' Federation has postponed a controversial meeting on the Holocaust until May 15, to coincide with the anniversary of Israel's creation in British-mandate Palestine in 1948, the federation's president said Sunday.

"It would be more appropriate to discuss the Holocaust on that day since it is relevant to the creation of the Zionist entity -- the main theme of the meeting," the president, Fakhri Qawar, told The Associated Press. The meeting was to have been held Sunday. Qawar said the delay was an initiative by the federation, not the result of intervention from the government, which had previously said it opposed any such meeting.

There was no immediate official comment on the delay, the second since April 8. The government had asked the federation to postpone the April 8 meeting because it came two days prior to Jordan's King Abdullah II's first White House audience with U.S. President George W. Bush.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the U.S.-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish center of research on the Holocaust, sent a letter on April 11 to Jordan's ambassador to Washington, Marwan Muasher, inviting writers' federation members to visit the center and meet Holocaust victims to learn about the tragedy face-to-face. "This recent phenomenon of Holocaust denial in the Muslim and Arab world is, to say the least, quite troubling to us," Cooper said in a telephone interview Thursday from Los Angeles, California.

Sunday's meeting was to be addressed by prominent Jordanian writers Hayat Atiyah, Arafat Hijazi, Hisham Hudeib and Ibrahim Alloush. Atiyah said the four will address the May 15 meeting. She said her lecture will focus on exploring the historical link between Zionism and Nazism and the Jews using the Holocaust to gain the sympathy of the world, while they are exposing the Arabs and the Palestinians to a similar Holocaust.