Durban II Draft: Israel "Racist" State

Ad Feedback—JERUSALEM—Draft resolutions for the upcoming Durban II summit on racism indicate that the conference is likely to target Israel as an occupying state that practices racism.

Israel and several other countries plan to boycott the Durban II conference, which will be held in April in Geneva.  Last year, the Bush Administration announced that the United States would not take part in the conference.  But last week, the State Department said it has sent representatives to Geneva to work on the language of the draft resolution.

Although Israel is not mentioned specifically in the original draft resolution, it refers to the Jewish state in one part of the text: "A foreign occupation founded on settlements, laws based on racial discrimination with the aim of continuing domination of the occupied territories [is] a contemporary form of apartheid and a serious threat to international peace and security."

Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Roni Leshno Yaar, believes the document is shaping up to be a disaster for Israel and nations which treasure freedom of speech and other western values.  Leshno Yaar told The Jerusalem Post, "At this stage it is not possible to say what in the text would improve, if at all.  In fact I expect the text to get only worse on all issues which are important for western democracy."

Acts and expressions of anti-Semitism have grown dramatically around the world, and Amos Hermon, the head of a Jewish Agency task force to combat anti-Semitism, warns that the tenor of the conference, which more than 190 nations are expected to attend, will be toxic toward Israel.  "As far as we believe, Durban II is going to be the anti-Semitic event of 2009," he said.  "It looks worse than we expected, although it's not yet clear what the end result will be."

Israel and the United States walked out of the first Durban conference, held in South Africa in 2001, to protest the viciously anti-Israel atmosphere.

Sources:  The Jerusalem Post, Ha'aretz

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