Reuters News Release
February 22, 2001

NEW YORK, Feb 22 (Reuters) - The World Jewish Congress called on Thursday for Lebanon to block what the group said was an anti-Semitic Holocaust meeting funded by Iran that will be held in Beirut next month.

Lord Greville Janner, the WJC vice president, wrote to Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson on Feb. 21, asking him to "use your good offices to call on the Lebanese government not to permit this polemic, anti-Semitic and hate-inspired conference to be held in their capital."

Elan Steinberg, the WJC executive director who gave Janner's letter to Reuters, said the Jewish advocacy group appealed to Persson because his country currently holds the European Union's rotating presidency.

He said Stockholm also hosted a conference last year on Holocaust education called "Combating Intolerance" that was attended by 40 nations.

Marc Weber, director of the Newport Beach, California-based Institute for Historical Review, said his group was helping the Swiss organization Vérité et Justice put on the conference, which is called "Revisionism and Zionism."

"People in Lebanon should have the same right to attend and host a conference, the same as other people have in the United States," Weber said.

According to Weber, the Vérité et Justice director Jürgen Graf was sentenced by a Swiss court in July 1998 for what Weber called "Holocaust denial." Graf now lives in Tehran as the guest of scholars, according to Weber.

He said said he did not know whether Iran was paying for the Beirut conference.

Weber said his group did not deny the Holocaust occurred, but he said it published many works that were skeptical of what he called "the hype, hyperbole, misreporting and distortion" about the Holocaust.

((Joan Gralla, U.S. Municipal Desk, +1 212 859 1654,

Thursday, 22 February 2001 20:10:46