No Israelis at the U.N.'s Durban II

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni confirmed on Wednesday that Israel will not attend the U.N.-sponsored Durban II conference this spring.

"The documents prepared for the conference indicate that it is turning once again into an anti-Israel tribunal, singling out and de-legitimizing the State of Israel," Livni said during remarks to the United Jewish Congress General Assembly in Jerusalem.

"The conference has nothing to do with fighting racism," Livni said.

The first Durban conference, held in the summer of 2001 and titled The World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, turned into an Israel-bashing session over Israel's alleged treatment of the Palestinians.

U.S. and Israeli delegations walked out of the conference in protest. Delegates produced a final resolution equating Zionism with racism and branding Israel a racist and apartheid state, language that was later deleted from the resolution's final draft.

Canada was the first country to announce it would not attend Durban II, while the U.S., Britain, the Netherlands and France have said they may boycott the conference if they feel the primary focus will be Israel and the Palestinians.

Last September, U.N. commissioner for human rights Navi Pillay stressed the need for all nations of the world to attend the conference.

Source: Haaretz

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