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Dateline Durban:
UN World Conference Against Racism
ADL Downgrades Its Participation at Durban Racism Conference
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, who was named a public member of the U.S. delegation to the U.N. World Conference Against Racism, advised the White House that he would not go to Durban due to continuing efforts to use the forum to de-legitimize Israel with unfounded charges of racism. His decision came in advance of the Administration's announcement that Secretary of State Colin Powell will not attend, which ADL applauded.

ADL downgraded its status at the World Conference from official participation to a monitoring/observer role. The League's representatives — Stacy Burdett, ADL Associate Director of Government & National Affairs, and Michael Salberg, ADL National Commissioner — are sending regular briefings as part of this online resource.

Dateline Durban:
Anti-Semitic Materials/Slogans Proliferate On Opening Day of UN Conference

  • Anti-Semitic Materials and Slogans Proliferate
  • Anti-American Tone Permeates Conference
  • NGO Forum Set to Reject Jewish Caucus Submission
  • Executive Director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Condemns Treatment of Jewish Caucus
  • Jesse Jackson Meets With Arafat

    August 31, 2001, Durban —

    Anti-Semitic Materials and Slogans Continue to Proliferate; Jewish Delegates Met With Chant: "Kill The Jews."

    Pro-Palestinian South Africans, Arabs, and area Muslims marched in front of the conference center today with speakers saying, "What we have done to apartheid in South Africa, must be done to Zionism in Palestine."

    The demonstration of about 1,500 made navigating the conference today difficult for Jewish delegates after one by-stander wearing a yarmulke was greeted by a spontaneous chant of, "kill the Jews."

    Copies of the infamous anti-Semitic forgery, The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion were for sale, and signs included slogans such as "Hitler Should Have Finished the Job," "Israel a Terrorist State," "Sharon is a war criminal," "Zionism is racism" and "End Israeli Apartheid."

    Local Muslim clerics have reportedly been hanging similar anti-Israel posters in neighboring townships. On an encouraging note, some Durban residents were organizing taxi-driver union members who work in the townships to take down the posters.

    Anti-American Attitude at the Conference

    Along with anti-Israel and anti-Semitic attacks, a strong anti-American attitudes are being expressed at the conference. This photo was taken at one of the meetings held in the run-up to the conference.

    NGO Forum Set to Reject Jewish Caucus Submission

    The Jewish Caucus, representing dozens of Jewish non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from around the world, learned that its submission on language to the final declaration was challenged by a group of delegates which include Arab NGO leaders, including Israeli-born professor Uri Davis. Davis is the author of the vehemently anti-Israel book, "Israel, An Apartheid State," and serves as an Observer Member of the Palestine National Council.

    As the final declaration will be ratified on the Jewish Sabbath, as of this writing, the Jewish caucus was reaching out to find a delegation to read a statement from the caucus condemning the process and the final document.

    Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Condemns Treatment of Jewish Caucus

    Speaking a news conference, Wade Henderson, Executive Director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the largest civil rights umbrella agency in the U.S., called for civility at the conference and specifically condemned the inequitable treatment of the Jewish caucus and the offensive language being raised in the debate at the forum.

    Jackson Meets with Arafat

    On opening day of the U.N. World Conference, there were reports that Yasir Arafat, the Palestinian leader, had made a promise to civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson that he would reject the "Zionism is racism" charge that has dominated the preliminary documents of the conference. The Associated Press reported that Arafat told Rev. Jackson he would support language condemning the Holocaust and recognizing anti-Semitism.

    AP's story did not refer specifically to which language Arafat said will be removed and did not relate to the numerous condemnations of Israel embedded in the document to date.

    At the same time, Reuters quoted Arafat during an address to world leaders accusing Israel of being a "racist" state, guilty of "ethnic cleansing."

    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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