, Oct.14, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- American Jewish Committee (AJC) is stunned by the decision of the International Organization of the Francophonie (IOF) to admit
as an associate member. Although only one percent of
's population is French-speaking, the country joined the IOF as a member state without even first becoming an "observer state," a customary step in the membership process.
"What were the conditions that led to
's admission to the IOF as an associate member is a serious question for the international organization to answer," said
, director of AJC's
IOF members share a common bond based on use of the French language. The global organization has 57 member states, 3 associate members and 19 observers. Although 20 percent of
's population speaks French, the IOF has long refused to admit the Jewish state as a member.
's admission to the IOF is yet another sad example of international organizations practicing double standards when it comes to
," said Rodan-Benzaquen. "The Francophonie's refusal to admit
demonstrates the organization's intolerance as it continues to ignore the existence of a million Israelis using French."
During the IOF's early years, in the 1960s and 1970s,
expressed interest in the Francophonie project and participated as an observer state at the informal intergovernmental conferences in 1969 and 1970. However,
was subsequently barred from participating after African IOF members objected.
In the early 1990s
tried to join the Francophonie. That effort was supported by
to the IOF.