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Dateline Durban:
UN World Conference Against Racism
Anti-Israel T-shirt
Dateline Durban:
Anti-Israel Rhetoric Prevalent at the U.N. World Conference Against Racism

August 29, 2001, Durban — The anti-Israel rhetoric that threatens to undermine the U.N. World Conference Against Racism, which officially begins on Friday, has already surfaced in various meetings and forums being held here in the run-up to the formal conference. Speakers and panel moderators at the opening of the Non-Governmental (NGO) Forum issued strongly worded anti-Israel accusations and compared the Israeli treatment of Palestinians to apartheid in South Africa.

The rhetoric made clear that the plight of the Palestinians was a defining theme of the early stages of the conference.  A t-shirt emblazoned with the words "Occupation= Colonialism=Racism, End Israeli Apartheid" is one of the most popular shirts seen at the NGO Forum.

In her opening remarks, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson noted that the conference would deal with "particular victims of racism," putting Palestinians at the head of her list.  As Mrs. Robinson was led from the stage, the audience joined in singing refrains of the Bob Marley reggae hit “One Love, one heart, let’s get together and feel alright,” as an enormous banner passed over the crowd saying “President George W. Bush, Palestinian blood is on your hands.”

Charging that Israel Practices Apartheid

Equating Israel with apartheid in South Africa was the focus of series of "thematic commissions" - presentations on issue areas followed by drafting sessions of the NGO Declaration. A session on Hate Crime and Hate Groups, Ethnic Cleansing/ conflict/genocide featured victims from Sudan, India and the Palestinian Authority.  Another session devoted to "Palestinians - New Forms of Apartheid" featured Israeli-Arab Knesset member Azmi Bishara, who railed against Israel’s "apartheid" policy.

Anti-Semitism Redefined/Perverted

Pro-Palestinian activists disrupted the only panel on the four-day program to deal with anti-Semitism. Arab activists spread out to join each subgroup of the drafting session arguing that the Holocaust be equated with Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and that anti-Semitism be defined as "anti-Arab sentiment" since Arabs are Semites.

Holocaust Terminology Turned on Israel

In a speech delivered through an emissary, Palestinian spokesperson Hannan Ashrawi accused Israel of "demographic engineering to maintain purity of Israeli society."

The Case Against U.S. Participation
In an appearance on PBS's The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer, Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, made the case against full U.S. involvement in the upcoming U.N. World Conference Against Racism. "There's a need to discuss racism, but not in a conference which has already been hijacked" by anti-Israel forces, Foxman told NewsHour's Ray Suarez.   
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Reports from Durban Conference
Durban Update: Final Declaration Recognizes Palestinian Right of Return; Omits Language Critical of Israel (09/8/01)
Durban Update: Parties Deadlocked on Mideast (09/07/01)
Conference Continues Without U.S. and Israel (09/05/01)
Anti-Jewish, Anti-Israel Language Prompts U.S., Israel to Leave U.N. Conference (09/04/01)
Opening Day of the UN World Conference On Racism (08/31/01)
Anti-Israel Hecklers Interrupt Press Conference (08/30/01)
Anti-Israel Rhetoric Prevalent at the U.N. World Conference Against Racism (08/29/01)
Background on
Durban Conference
About the UN World Conference Against Racism
ADL Call to Conscience for All Nations
Background on Anti-Zionism at the United Nations
What is Zionism?
World Figures Refute the Zionism=Racism Charge
The Draft Declaration: Unfair Charges of Racism Against Israel
ADL Statements on Durban
ADL Letters to Media about the U.N. World Conference
Durban Derailed into a Conference of Hate
Abraham H. Foxman on the Durban Conference
Press Releases:

ADL Commends U.S. Rejection of Anti-Jewish, Anti-Israel Bias of U.N. Conference Against Racism (8/27/01)

ADL Urges Congress To Reject Incendiary Language Against Jews, Israel At Upcoming U.N. Conference Against Racism (7/31/01)

ADL Urges Foreign Ministers to Reject Anti-Jewish Rhetoric at U.N. Conference on Racism (7/17/01)

ADL Urges U.N. Members to Reject Anti-Israel Focus at Forum Against Racism (5/18/01)

ADL to President George W.Bush

ADL to Foreign Ministers of U.N. Members

Related ADL Articles:
Israel and the UN

Related Web Sites:
UN World Conference Against Racism

The United Nations
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