For those of you who don’t remember the “joy” of the last meeting.
The September 3 statement of withdrawal of U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell read:Today I have instructed our representatives at the World Conference Against Racism to return home. I have taken this decision with regret, because of the importance of the international fight against racism and the contribution that the Conference could have made to it. But, following discussions today by our team in Durban and others who are working for a successful conference, I am convinced that will not be possible. I know that you do not combat racism by conferences that produce declarations containing hateful language, some of which is a throwback to the days of “Zionism equals racism;” or supports the idea that we have made too much of the Holocaust; or suggests that apartheid exists in Israel; or that singles out only one country in the world–Israel–for censure and abuse.Copies of the anti-Semitic work, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, were sold on conference grounds; anti-Israel protesters jeered participants chanting “Zionism is racism, Israel is apartheid,” and “You have Palestinian blood on your hands”; fliers depicting Hitler with the question, “What if I had won?” circulated among conference attendees. The answer: “There would be NO Israel and NO Palestinian bloodshed.”On September 3, in the Israeli official proclamation, delivered by Head of the Israeli Delegation Ambassador Mordecai Yedid, Deputy Foreign Minister Rabbi Michael Melchior wrote:Racism, in all its forms, is one of the most widespread and pernicious evils, depriving millions of hope and fundamental rights. It might have been hoped that this first Conference of the 21st century would have taken up the challenge of, if not eradicating racism, at least disarming it: But instead humanity is being sacrificed to a political agenda. … Can there be a greater irony than the fact that a conference convened to combat the scourge of racism should give rise to the most racist declaration in a major international organization since the Second World War?In addition to the UN government conference against racism, Durban simultaneously hosted a UN conference of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The NGO conference, according to the UN, aimed to publicize the “voices of the victims.” In this forum, the Jewish Caucus proposed that Holocaust denial and anti-Jewish violence caused by Jewish support for Israel be labeled forms of anti-Semitism. The proposal was almost unanimously defeated. Anne Bayefsky, a NGO participant, and a representative of the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, commented. “The only group that voted for it was the Jews. Of all the ‘voices of the victims’ put into the resolution, only one voice was deleted – the Jewish voice.”Bayefsky reported, “Like all Jewish participants, I felt concern for my safety. The Jewish Center in Durban was forced to close because of threats of violence.” During an NGO discussion on Palestinian issues, representatives of human rights organizations asked Bayefsky to leave: “They explained to me that as a representative of a Jewish organization, I was biased and couldn’t be counted on to act in the interest of general human rights.”The representatives at the NGO conference removed a key paragraph on anti-Semitism by unanimous vote, prompting a Jewish Caucus walk out. The removed paragraph read:We are concerned with the prevalence of Anti-Zionism and attempts to delegitimize the State of Israel through wildly inaccurate charges of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and apartheid, as a virulent contemporary form of anti-Semitism leading to firebombing of synagogues, armed assaults against Jews, incitements to killing, and the murder of innocent Jews, for their support for the existence of the State of Israel, the assertion of the right to self determination of the Jewish people and the attempts, through the State of Israel, to preserve their cultural and religious identity.Soon after the American and Israeli pullout, the Jewish Caucus formally withdrew from the NGO conference.The final resolution of the NGO conference, which was overwhelmingly adopted, called Israel “a racist apartheid state,” guilty of the “systematic perpetration of racist crimes including war crimes, acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing … and state terror against the Palestinian people. (source)
JONNY PAUL, THE JERUSALEM POST Aug. 21, 2007The first preparatory meeting leading to the 2009 UN World Conference against Racism will take place at the UN’s offices in Geneva next week and is already being deemed a “second Durban.”
The 2009 conference, whose venue has yet to be decided, will be a follow-up to the 2001 UN anti-racism conference held in Durban, South Africa, which focused on Israel and culminated in resolutions calling Israel an “apartheid state” and equating Zionism with racism. The US and IsraelAustralia and Canada accused it of “hypocrisy.” pulled their delegations from the conference;“The anti-racism meeting in Geneva is shaping up to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a watchdog NGO based in the city. “Every indicator is that the sequel to Durban will mimic both the format and script of the 2001 conference, using the noble language of anti-racism as a cover to promote hatred of the West and anti-Semitic, anti-Israel propaganda.With the Islamic states also planning to add new accusations against the West under the claim of ‘religious defamation,’ this is a fiasco in the making.”
The preparatory meeting, which runs from August 27-31, will be chaired by Libya and include representatives of Argentina, Armenia, Belgium, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, Croatia, Cuba, Estonia, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iran, Libya, Pakistan, Norway, Russia, Senegal, South Africa and Turkey. Those countries make up the bureau, the committee that will decide on the modalities and objectives of the 2009 conference.Brasilia and New York are rumored as possible venues, although Libya and South Africa, whose Foreign Ministry is a major player in the process, are also seeking to host the conference.“The composition of the preparatory committee including Iran and Libya, meeting for the reenactment of the infamous Durban conference, suggests that nothing has been learned since 2001,” said Prof. Gerald Steinberg, executive director of NGO Monitor. “Once again, the NGO network that hijacked Durban 2001 – funded by the Ford Foundation and European government aid programs – is preparing to play a key role in using this conference for the demonization of democracies and deligitimization of Israel.
“The designated chair is Libya, a racist regime that gave its highest award in 2002 to convicted French Holocaust-denier Roger Garaudy, brutalizes black African migrants, and tortures Bulgarian and Palestinian medics for the crime of being foreigners.”
Following the active role nongovernmental organizations played in Durban in 2001, NGO Monitor has expressed concerns about politicized groups taking part in the 2009 conference. The Jerusalem based-NGO Monitor has submitted to the Preparatory Committee a detailed analysis of the impact that would result from these groups’ involvement. It has urged the committee to carefully examine the credibility and biases resulting from NGO participation in order to avoid a repeat of Durban.“Although these NGOs claim to promote universal human rights, the record shows that in reality, they advance biased agendas based on a highly distorted narrative that exploits and undermines international law,” NGO Monitor said. “Several of these NGOs, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty, played an active role in the NGO Forum in 2001. Rather than provide objective information to address the crucial issue of eliminating discrimination in all its forms, and through universal standards, many statements of these NGOs and their activities during the 2001 NGO Forum included highly inflammatory rhetoric and even anti-Semitic material, such as comparing Israel to Nazi Germany.
“The Final Declaration of the Forum endorsed the singling-out of Israel through a campaign that called for sanctions and boycotts against Israel through the abuse of the principles of human rights and international law,” NGO Monitor said.“The question is whether UN Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour and others who claim to be committed to human rights will take the action that [then-UN high commissioner for human rights] Mary Robinson failed to in 2001 and prevent this farce,” Steinberg said. “Furthermore, will the major NGO superpowers, such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, which added their weight to the 2001 Durban travesty, repeat this role?“In contrast, the Israeli Foreign Ministry, in cooperation with the US and perhaps other democratic governments, have heeded NGO Monitor’s analysis, and are actively raising these dangers with NGO funders, including the EU and its member governments, who fund these radical NGOs,” Steinberg said.The Preparatory Committee will meet again in Geneva on April 21-30 and November 17-28, 2008.