Saturday, October 24, 2009

Israelis barred from Komen cancer event in Egypt

The news over the past few days about this have been muddled, but the upshot is that Israelis have been banned from attending events sponsored by the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization in Egypt this week.

A couple of days ago, Egyptian authorities announced that they will not allow Israeli doctors to attend, and the Komen people said that they would do everything they could to ensure that the Israelis would be able to attend in a press release last Thursday:
Susan G. Komen for the Cure Pleased to Announce Egyptian Events to Welcome All Advocates, Including those from Israel Statement by Nancy G. Brinker, Founder, Susan G. Komen for the Cure

“Breast cancer advocates from the United States and across the Middle East are meeting in Egypt from October 21-27 for breast cancer awareness events. There have been reports that some of the invited participants would not be allowed to attend these events. Susan G. Komen for the Cure has now received confirmation that all advocates, regardless of their country of origin, are invited to fully participate in events to bring breast cancer to the forefront of public discussion in the Middle East.
It was still unclear whether any Israelis would be able to attend at that point, and a number of people on the SGK bulletin board felt that the organization should pull out of the Egyptian events if the Israelis could not attend.

The ADL praised Komen for their position on Friday.

Today, though, the Daily News Egypt is saying that the Komen Foundation has withdrawn the invitation to Israelis:

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization has withdrawn its invitation to Israeli doctors to attend a conference in Egypt upon the request of Egypt’s Minister of Health.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

The J weekly article was published on Wednesday, though, and it did not indicate that the Komen Foundation had rescinded the invitations but rather that Egypt had, so it appears that the Egyptian newspaper is not being completely accurate.