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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

More than 400 female Members of Parliaments and Governments from around the world re in Amman, Jordan for the Women in Parliaments Global Forum (WIP) Summit 2016 that starts today.

Under the title “Women in Politics: fast forward” the WIP Summit will "focus on the importance of parity of power, and address urgent matters such as peace, security, migration and integration."

But one delegation is apparently being barred from participating.

The head of the Jordanian House of Representatives, Atef Tarawneh, said that the Lower House refused the participation of any Israeli delegation. He told the WIP organizers ahead of time not to invite any Israelis to attend. He said in a press conference Tuesday that "we asked in advance not to invite the Israelis, and we stressed that we would not welcome the Israeli delegation."

Tarawneh indicated that he wants to ensure that the forum is hijacked to talk about Palestinian issues. He said that this event enhances the world's respect for Jordan, and constitutes an important opportunity to highlight the Palestinian issue.

In 2013 the WIP gave an award to Israel for Winner in Closing the Gender Gap - Middle East. Because Israel is a non-Arab country in the Middle East, the forum then created a separate Achievements in Closing the Gender Gap in the Arab World category, just so they could give Arabs two additional awards.

It is possible that this is all posturing on the part of Jordan's parliament, and that King Abdullah has overridden this decision. I tweeted several attendees asking if Irael was there and no one responded.

But if indeed the Israelis are banned and the WIP acquiesced to Jordan's demands, it shows how the supposedly powerful women in world governments caved to blackmail from a bigoted regime. They could and should have threatened to move the event elsewhere rather than allow a ban on one of their more prominent members - and Jordan's parliament would have been the ones to cave rather than lose the prestige of hosting this forum.

The WIP has a number of prominent partners who should be asked why they support a forum that so easily disenfranchises a nation which is a leader in women's rights.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.


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