ADL Welcomes Israel's Decision Not to Participate in 'Tainted Proceedings' of U.N. Racism Conference
New York, NY, November 19, 2008 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed an announcement by Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni that Israel will not participate in the Durban Review Conference, scheduled for April 2009. The conference, to be held in Geneva, is a follow-up to the infamous 2001 U.N. World Conference Against Racism held in Durban, South Africa.
"We applaud Israel's decision to refuse to participate in the so-called "Durban II" Conference and challenge other U.N. member nations to make the same principled decision to say 'no' to anti-Semitism and outrageous charges of racism against Israel," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "While the 2001 Durban Conference had noble goals of countering international racism, the entire proceeding was monopolized and tainted by base anti-Semitism and extreme anti-Israelism. There is every reason to believe that the Durban Review Conference will not be an improvement."
The 2001 Durban conference, and its NGO forum in particular, was infamous for its hate-filled atmosphere of anti-Semitism, attempts to exclude and silence Jewish participants, and proposals by some governments and organizations to brand Israel's policies toward Palestinians and Zionism as racist.
At the preparatory meetings for the 2009 conference, some governments have once again inserted such language into the draft declaration. The Asian Regional Group submission, in particular, calls the treatment of Palestinians "a new kind of apartheid, a crime against humanity, a form of genocide." In April 2008, Canada stated that it would stay away from the conference.
"We also are concerned by the intensive efforts by the Organization of the Islamic Conference to have the conference demand that governments set restrictions on freedom of expression in order to outlaw speech they deem to be 'defamatory' toward Islam," said Mr. Foxman. "Such restrictions could violate the freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, and are tantamount to a global blasphemy code by restricting freedom of expression in the name of protecting Islam."
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.