ADL Calls on U.N. Member-States to Avoid 'Durban III'

New York, NY, December 24, 2010 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is calling on United Nations member states to declare that they will not participate in the so-called “Durban III” conference, set to be held in New York in September 2011, calling the proceedings “a conference that will undermine rather than advance the fight against discrimination.”

The U.N. General Assembly early this morning passed a resolution approving the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the infamous 2001 U.N. World Conference Against Racism, which was marred by anti-Semitism and extreme anti-Israel sentiment. The vote was 104 in favor, 22 against, with 33 abstentions.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

We call on governments to announce that they will not participate in a conference that undermines rather than advances the fight against discrimination.

At its very inception in 2001, the Durban process was tainted by the very bias it purported to work against. In the official conference, as well as the associated NGO gathering, Durban marked the start of a new chapter in the vilification and delegitimization of the state of Israel and the Jewish people. We recall how many abused the conference as a platform to turn the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into a racial conflict and their incendiary branding of Israel as an apartheid state.

It is indeed vital for all of us to focus on what U.N. member states have done to fight racism and intolerance and to do so in a worthy forum. Thus, responsible nations must take a stand against racism and demonstrate leadership in this fight by disassociating from the Durban process and the September 2011 Durban III conference.

We express our appreciation to Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, the Netherlands, Palau, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom, and the United States for voting against the resolution. We are disappointed with the numerous countries, including Austria, Belgium, France, Greece, Hungary and Spain, who chose to abstain.

The Durban Declaration and Program of Action adopted by the 2001 Durban Conference singled out the “plight of the Palestinian people under occupation,” thereby focusing on one regional conflict for discussion in a biased way, and wrongly branded Israel’s treatment of Palestinians as racism. The April 2009 U.N. Durban Review Conference Against Racism (Durban II) embraced and affirmed the controversial Declaration. The resolution and the Durban III resolution clearly and repeatedly will follow the same course.

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias education programs for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all.

More from this Section