CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - The United States joined Canada and Israel in boycotting the United Nations-sponsored "anti-racism" conference, Durban II, slated for early 2009.
Both the US and Israel said they would consider attending the Durban II conference, providing it would not be a remake of Durban I.
The first conference in September 2001 in Durban, South Africa, billed as a forum dealing with racism and xenophobia, instead provided a "legitimate" setting that equated Zionism with racism, downgraded the Nazi Holocaust and labeled Israel an apartheid state.
Arab delegates called Israel a state "born in sin" that promoted ethnic cleansing of Arabs in the past and was committing genocide against the Palestinian population in the present.
Israel says Durban's sponsors, which include the United Nations Human Rights Commission, the U.N. nonaligned states (dominated by Arab nations) and the government of South Africa, to mask their agenda so they'll draw as many U.N. member nations to the conference as possible.
"We are concerned this time too there will be criticism and an anti-Semitic attack," one Foreign Ministry official said. "What can you expect from a conference whose organizers include Cuba, Iran and North Korea?" he asked.
On Wednesday, an ad placed in major U.S. newspapers across the country called on America to boycott Durban II, which would provide another platform "slated to encourage hatred of Israel and the U.S."
The U.S. and Israel plan to publish a joint statement on their decision to boycott the 2009 conference.
"Israel is sorry that the U.N. Secretary-general [Ban ki-Moon] and the U.N. Human Rights Commission are not doing enough to change the content, despite their dissatisfaction," one Jerusalem-based official said.
"This is another example of how a U.N.-sponsored conference to fight racism and xenophobia is about to become an arena for extreme political Israel-bashing, while ignoring areas in the world where racism, religious persecution and intolerance of foreigners are rampant," he said.