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The Scandal at Davos

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on January 26, 2006

The World Economic Forum in Davos suffered acute embarrassment on Day 2 of the conference when it was revealed that an article in its Global Agenda magazine distributed to all 2,340 participants called for a boycott of Israel on the same day that Hamas rode to victory in Palestinian elections. The official position of Hamas denies the existence of the state of Israel. The article is entitled “Boycott Israel” and the deck says “Global civil society ought to boycott Israel until it ends its apartheid-like treatment of Palestinians.” It is written by Mazin Qumsiyeh. The magazine was in every hotel room and went unread, by and large by Davos participants—until today.

Klaus Schwab sent out an email to all participants stating “With great concern and pain, I jus learned that Global Agenda, a publication distributed to our members atthe Annual Meeting in 2006, contains an article calling for a boycott of Israel. This article is totally in contradiction to my own and the Forum’s mission and values. For 36 years I have been committed to fighting for mutual underwstanding in tthe world. The Forum has been deeply involved in the efforts to create better relations and reconciliation in the Middle East and throughout the world.”

Schwab goes on to say there was “an unacceptable failure in the editorial process, specifically an insufficiently short period for review of content—for which there is no excuse. He went on to say that he and the Forum would continue to “do everything possible to foster dialogue and communication among all parties based on mutual respect and recognition and not confrontation.”

The Conference hall where most of the business of the WEF is conducted buzzed with the news and participants wondered how such an inflamatory article could have passed through the editorial process without setting off alarm bells.

Reader Comments

Mazin Qumsiyeh

January 29, 2006 12:14 AM

A big ruckus about my article. What happened to free speech. The magazine in question published this article by me calling for a non-violent method to be used UNTIL Israel complies with human rights and International law. In the same issue, the magazine published articles promoting war (e.g. by Michael Ledeen). I ask the readers to first read the article (it is posted at my website before they make a judgement. Bishop Desmond Tutu said the same thing. Here is also what the Israeli Artists Declaration of 2002 had to say about this:

"If the state of Israel aspires to perceive itself as a democracy, it should abandon once and for all, any legal and ideological foundation of religious, ethnic, and demographic discrimination. The state of Israel should strive to become the state of all its citizens. We call for the annulment of all laws that make Israel an apartheid state, including the Jewish law of return in its present form" (artists' Declaration 2002).


Ries Baeten

January 31, 2006 1:56 PM

The scandal at Davos is not the article, it is the attempted prohibition of free speech.

That the "article is totally in contradiction to [Schwab's] own and the Forum's mission and values" says it all. The article is not in any way linked to Hamas, although your blog is quick to make a link.

The scandal equals the one of the European Council (Jack Straw)'s decision to refuse to publish a report critical of Israel's activities towards Palestines in East Jerusalem.

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