The United States will not attend a United Nations conference on racism that critics say will be a forum to criticize Israel, and will no longer participate in planning sessions for it, a senior UN source told Haaretz on Friday.
The conference is a follow-up to the contentious 2001 conference in the South African city of Durban which was dominated by clashes over the Middle East and the legacy of slavery. The U.S. and Israel walked out midway through that eight-day meeting over a draft resolution that singled out Israel for criticism and likened Zionism – the movement to establish and maintain a Jewish state – to racism.
Israel and Canada have already announced that they will boycott the upcoming World Conference Against Racism in Geneva from April 20-25, known as Durban 2, but President Barack Obama’s administration decided to assess the negotiations before making a decision on U.S. participation.
The decision to drop U.S. involvement comes one day before U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leaves on her first trip to the Middle East in her new capacity, including stops in Israel.
A U.S. delegation took part in negotiations this month on summit. Referring to the content of draft resolutions formulated during the preparations, the source said that during negotiations “a bad document became worse,” prompting the U.S. to end its affiliation with the conference.
Seems a lot of people were getting worked up for no good reason.
Zionist “racism” was a principal concern at the 2001 conference, which featured flat-out antisemitism.
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.”
At a parellel conference of NGOs:
The final resolution…, 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.”
Israel was, of course, the only country singled out as “racist.”