Twenty years ago, the world’s human rights community came to Durban, South Africa for a conference called to eliminate racism and discrimination. This event took place just a few days after a Palestinian terror attack in Jerusalem killed and maimed Israelis in a pizzeria filled with teenagers and young families. But the thousands of self-proclaimed human rights activists at Durban did not mention the attack or the victims; for them, Israelis do not have human rights. Instead, the diplomats, UN officials and leaders of powerful non-governmental organizations (NGOs) focused on demonizing Israel and Zionism.
Durban was the blueprint for the 21st century antisemitism. The Arab Lawyers Union distributed caricatures of Jews with fangs dripping blood, and delegates picked up copies of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion forgery. Well-organized mass marches through the streets, with placards declaring “Zionism is racism,” were accompanied by speeches denouncing Israeli “apartheid.” Arafat and his chief propagandist Hanan Ashrawi were flown in to denounce Israeli “apartheid.”
The plan to hijack Durban was formed months before, at a UN preparatory conference in Tehran. There, the strategy of equating Israel to apartheid South Africa was developed into a full scale war plan. The NGO Final Declaration and Program of Action, composed in Tehran, was a strategy for political war. Israel was labeled as a “racist apartheid state,” guilty of “genocide,” and racist crimes against Palestinians.” They demanded that all countries implement policies for “the complete isolation of Israel as an apartheid state.”
Immediately after Durban, the same NGOs and UN allies moved to implement the strategy. Human Rights Watch led the other groups with allegations of war crimes following every Israeli response to terror, whether from Hamas in Gaza or Hezbollah from Lebanon.