Israeli diplomat: 32 countries set to boycott UN’s Nakba commemoration

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Israel reached out to around 100 countries in recent days in an attempt to convince them to avoid today’s event at the UN General Assembly marking the Nakba, the Palestinian term for the “catastrophe” of Israel’s establishment, according to an Israeli diplomat.

Some 32 countries, including the US, the UK, Canada and Ukraine, have told Israel they would be staying away. Ten of these countries are EU member states, says the diplomat, and three are in Africa.

India, where Foreign Minister Eli Cohen visited last week, will also not attend the event.

Other countries, including some who have been particularly critical of Israel in recent years, have told the Foreign Ministry they will be lowering the level of representation at the event, which was initiated by the Palestinian mission to the UN to mark 75 years since Israel’s founding.

“We will fight the lie of the ‘Nakba’ with all our might,” pledges Cohen in a video statement from Stockholm, “and we will not allow the Palestinians to continue spreading lies and to distort history.”

The commemoration of the Nakba, the first of its kind at the UN, will include a high-level special meeting at the UN Headquarters in New York and a special event in the General Assembly Hall. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to travel to New York to attend.

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