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.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.