Mar 12, 2009

Australia Threatens to Ditch Durban II

By Dr. David Hocking

Australia May Ditch Durban II
by Hana Levi Julian (

Australia threatened on Thursday to become the next nation to abandon the upcoming United Nations anti-racism conference scheduled for next month, dubbed "Durban II."

Canada was the first nation to announce that it would not attend the conference, named for the U.N. World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance that was held in Durban, South Africa in 2001.

Israel and the United States soon followed, as did Italy, the first European nation to announce its intentions to boycott the conference due to concrete indications that this second incarnation would target Israel for recriminations, in much the same way as did the first.

While drafting the initial protocols for the conference, the planning panel – chaired by Libya and including Iran, Pakistan, Syria and Cuba – requested that provisions against Holocaust-denial be deleted.

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith issued a statement saying that his government would "give very careful consideration to what, if any, changes are made to the text to see whether it is appropriate for Australia to participate in the conference.

"If we form the view that the text is going to lead to nothing more than an anti-Jewish, anti-Semitic harangue and anti-Jewish propaganda exercise, then Australia will not be in attendance," he said firmly.

The European Jewish Congress (EJC) called on the European Union (EU) this week to pull out of the conference as well. In a statement issued by EJC president Moshe Kantor, the organization said "there is simply no alternative other than a boycott by the EU presidency and EU nations."

Durban II is scheduled to be held at the U.N. headquarters in Geneva on April 20-24.

Related Links

Australia threatens 'Durban II' boycott - Jerusalem Post
European group to EU states: Boycott Durban II - JTA
German MP calls for boycott of Durban II anti-Semitic spectacle - Jerusalem Post