vrijdag 8 februari 2008

Verenigde Staten boycot VN 'Anti-Racisme Conferentie' in Durban 2009

Als Europese landen het voorbeeld van de VS en Canada volgen, zal dat de overige staten dwingen hun kritiek en zorgen serieus te nemen, en de opzet en organisatie te veranderen. Nog beter is het wellicht concrete eisen te stellen: Israël in het organiserende comité, en bij de voorbereiding van het NGO gedeelte zijn alleen echte antiracisme organisaties welkom, niet organisaties die het voor de Palestijnen opnemen en/of Israël demoniseren.
Important preparatory meetings are being called for Passover and Yom Kippur of this year, preventing Israeli officials from participating

United States Says No to Anti-Racism Conference

By Marc Perelman
Tue. Feb 05, 2008

UNITED NATIONS ­ In a major blow to an upcoming United Nations anti-racism conference, the United States has decided to not participate, out of concern it would stir up the anti-Israel sentiments that marked the first such conference, the Forward has learned.

"We are concerned about the structure and the development of the follow-up conference," Richard Grenell, the chief spokesman for the U.S. mission to the U.N., told the Forward on Tuesday.

Until Tuesday, the United States had not publicly discussed their plans for the upcoming conference, for which details are still vague.

During the 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, Israel came under fire from Arab and Muslim countries, as well as a number of non-governmental organizations, prompting Israel and the United States to walk out in protest.

In recent months, Jewish groups have been urging Western countries not to participate in the new conference out of concern that the same problems would arise, pointing to the fact that Libya had been elected to chair the gathering with Cuba as vice-chair, while Iran was appointed to the organizing committee. Moreover, the U.N. gave planning oversight for the conference to its Human Rights Council, a body that has come under criticism for its excessive focus on Israel.

Canada was the first country to publicly back out of the conference. On January 23, Jason Kenney, Canada's secretary of state for multiculturalism and Canadian identity announced that the so-called Durban II conference "has gone completely off the rails."

"Our considered judgment, having participated in the preparatory meetings, was that we were set for a replay of Durban I. And Canada has no intention of lending its good name and resources to such a systematic promotion of hatred and bigotry," he told the Canadian media.

The U.N. declined to comment directly on Canada pulling out of the conference, but U.N. spokeswoman Marie Okabe said "racism is too important an issue for member states not to work out their differences."

The U.N. could not be reached by the Forward to comment on the decision by the United States. This decision is likely to have an oversized impact on the conference due to Washington's weight on the international scene. For Israel, the move by its main ally is a major public relations victory.

After the earlier decision, B'nai Brith Canada applauded the Canadian government, as did the World Jewish Congress, whose board voted a resolution last week commending the Canadian government for "its bold action in calling the world's attention to the corrupted Durban Review Conference process."

Kenney noted important preparatory meetings are being called for Passover and Yom Kippur of this year, preventing Israeli officials from participating. More importantly, all of the non-governmental organizations invited to the first conference have been invited back to the second. The forum for non-governmental organizations, which took place in parallel to the governmental one at Durban, was the one where the most forceful denunciations of Israel were aired.

Tue. Feb 05, 2008

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