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Dec 20, 2010

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As a supporter of the true principles of human rights and equality, I urge the 27 member states of the European Union to vote No on the U.N.’s plan for a “Durban 3” gathering next year in New York.
The draft resolution calls for a summit of world leaders on September 21, 2011, “to commemorate the Tenth Anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration.” The event would be jam-packed with “an opening plenary,” “consecutive round tables,” “thematic panels,” a “closing plenary meeting,” culminating in a “political declaration” — all in celebration of the 2001 “World Conference of Racism” held in Durban, South Africa, which scapegoated America, the West, and Israel.
The U.S., Canada, Australia and several European states already voted No at the committee stage. In its statement, the U.S. said it was “deeply troubled by the choice of time and venue for the 10th anniversary commemorative event. Just days earlier, we will have honored the victims of 9/11, whose loved ones will be marking a solemn 10-year anniversary for them and the entire nation. It will be an especially sensitive time for the people of New York and a repeat of the vitriol sadly experienced at past Durban-related events risks undermining the relationship we have worked hard to strengthen over the past few years between the United States and the UN.”
As you know, the 2001 Durban conference not only failed to combat racism—it actually incited racism. Durban became the worst international manifestation of anti-Semitism in the post-war period.
The 2001 declaration targeted Israel as an alleged perpetrator of racism, singling out “the plight of Palestinians under foreign occupation.”
Inflammatory speeches were ubiquitous. PLO chief Yasser Arafat described the “ugliness” of “Israeli racist policies and practices against the Palestinian people.” Cuban president Fidel Castro spoke of “the dreadful genocide perpetrated, at this very moment, against our Palestinian brothers.”
What’s worse, the U.N.’s Durban 3 draft specifically invites non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to “organize and support” various “high visibility initiatives... to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration.”
This is alarming given that the U.N.-sponsored NGO Forum of the 2001 conference was entirely dominated by anti-Western, anti-Israel extremists. They formally declared Israel a “racist apartheid state” guilty of “genocide.” On the streets of Durban, a Palestinian-led march saw thousands waving placards saying, “Hitler Should Have Finished the Job.” Others handed out copies of the notorious anti-Jewish tract, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” Jewish human rights activists at Durban were physically intimidated and threatened. Students were traumatized.
Thankfully, the 2009 attempt to replicate these scenes in Geneva, at the Durban II conference, was thwarted. Firm red lines by the European Union kept the worst language out of the outcome text. And UN Watch organized mega-events with genuine human rights victims that seized the public space, captured international attention and reframed the narrative.
The European Union is the most influential bloc of democracies at the UN. It should not bestow the appearance of moral authority on a platform that will be dominated by racist murders like Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Libyan dictator Moammar Qaddafi.
Accordingly, to truly support the principles of human rights and anti-racism, I urge all EU states to vote No on the U.N.’s Durban 3 resolution.



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