20 Feb, 2016
A South African conference on water has been canceled following protests against the planned participation of an Israeli diplomat. Arthur Lenk, Israel’s ambassador to South Africa, was scheduled to take part in a “water summit” on 26 February. Lenk’s involvement prompted one of the main speakers, Lorenzo Fioramonti from the University of Pretoria, to withdraw.
The conference was being organized by the Mail and Guardian newspaper, in cooperation with the South African government. It has now been called off. Fioramonti, a political economist, said he believed it was “necessary” to support Palestinian and Israeli activists “seeking just and sustainable peace.” Backing Palestinian calls for an academic boycott of Israel, he issued a statement announcing his withdrawal from the conference.