ADL Recognizes Nations Who Took Moral Stand Against The Anti-Israel Durban II Hatefest
Washington, DC, April 20, 2009 … As the Durban II anti-racism conference in Geneva predictably devolved into another anti-Israel spectacle, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called the outcome "an unsurprising reprise of the first Durban hatefest" and questioned why more nations have not followed the lead of the United States and others and pulled out.
At a special session of the League's National Leadership Conference, currently underway in Washington, D.C., ADL leaders recognized and acknowledged those nations that had the moral conviction to stay away from Durban II prior to the start of the official proceedings.
"We would have hoped that the group of nations that has chosen to absent itself from the tainted proceedings of Durban II would have been much bigger than it is," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Yet we celebrate the few that have stood up and said, 'No' to this unsurprising reprise of the first Durban hatefest. Their actions speak louder than words, and even the very small number of nations who took a principled stand against the hate is very, very significant."
Nations that decided to avoid the racism conference included Canada, Israel and Italy -- who were the first to pull out -- followed by Germany, Holland, Poland, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and the Czech Republic.
In addition, more than 40 diplomats walked out of today's proceedings to protest the stridently anti-Israel rhetoric of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who used the podium in Geneva to deride Israel as "illegitimate and "criminal."
"We urge others to follow the example of those nations who did the right thing to stay away -- there is still time," Mr. Foxman said. "And we sadly look at the rest of the nations participating at Durban II and hope that they will know for the next time – the third time – that this was and always had been a discredited conference with a predetermined outcome."
In Washington, D.C. at a session titled, "Recognizing Durban II as Tainted," ambassadorial representatives of Italy, Germany and the Netherlands were recognized before an audience of 500 ADL leaders "for their nations' moment of courage" in deciding to pull out of the racism conference in protest of those pushing an anti-Israel agenda.
"There is no moral imperative for any nation to join the prospective hatefest at Durban, which has been addressed by the king of Holocaust denial himself, the president of Iran," Mr. Foxman said. "No nation or state should lend its moral credibility to Ahmadinejad and his message of hate."
"Germany is profoundly committed to ending racism and all forms of racial discrimination," said Counselor Christoph Eichhorn, of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany to the U.S. "But all forms of anti-Semitism and hatred against the state of Israel must not be tolerated."
"The Durban conference is too important to be misused for political purposes," added Gerard van der Wulp, Deputy Chief of Mission for the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Washington, D.C. "In the final view of the Netherlands, it was a missed opportunity."
Ahmadinejad, who openly denies the Holocaust, has called for Israel's destruction, and who heads a regime that commits some of the world's most egregious human rights violations against minorities and dissidents, was a featured speaker at Monday's opening session of the Durban II conference. He was greeted with respect by U.N. and Swiss officials upon his arrival, and met with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Swiss President Hans-Rudolph Metz.
Predictably, Ahmadinejad used the podium at Durban II to attack Israel and to reprise on a world stage the anti-Semitic myths of "Zionist" world power and denial of the Holocaust – calling Israel "illegitimate," "criminal" and "violent xenophobes" and saying the state was "created on the pretext of Jewish suffering from World War II." He also called for an end of Israel and Zionism.
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.