Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Israel Boycotts UN Anti-Racism Conference

Left: Protesters demonstrating against Israel at the first Durban conference in South Africa in 2001. (AP)

Israel to boycott 'Durban II' anti-racism conference

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni announced Wednesday that Israel has made a final decision to boycott the United Nations "Durban II" conference on human rights this spring, fearing it would be used once again as a forum for anti-Israeli sentiment.

The World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, to be held in Geneva in April, is a follow-up to a 2001 summit in Durban, South Africa on the same issues.

Left: Tzipora (Tzipi) Malka Livni, Israeli Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs.

"The documents prepared for the conference indicate that it is turning once again into an anti-Israeli tribunal, singling out and delegitimizing the State of Israel," Livni told Jewish-American leaders at the UJC General Assembly in Jerusalem.

"The conference has nothing to do with fighting racism," she said. "In view of this situation, I decided that Israel will not participate and will not legitimize the Durban II conference."

The foreign minister also called on the international community "not to participate in a conference which seeks to legitimize hatred and extremism under the banner of a fight against racism."

Livni had said in February that Israel would boycott the meet, following assessment by the Foreign Ministry, and other Western governments, that it would be impossible to prevent the conference from turning into a festival of anti-Israeli attacks.

Full article from Haaretz

See also, Durban: Not again By Abraham H. Foxman (Anti Defamation League) Confer,

Left: Mr. Abraham (Abe) H. Foxman, National Director, Anti-Defamation League

This time there is no excuse; this time no one can say let's just wait to see what happens. This time the world knows how the noble goals of a world gathering to fight the scourge of racism can be perverted and instead become a cauldron of hate focused on a single country and a single people.

I have often said anti-Semitism is not just a Jewish problem, it is a disease that strikes at the very essence of society. Nowhere in recent history was that virus of anti-Semitism more apparent than on the grounds and in the halls of the 2001 Durban Conference. Another world gathering that is allowed to dissolve into fits of hateful, racist anti-Semitism is simply not worth having.

Gives a whole new perspective on denial.

The United States, Britain, the Netherlands and France have said they may stay away if Israel's relations with Palestinians stands to eclipse all else.


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