Release Date:  20 April 2009

(Jerusalem) – On the eve of the UN’s ‘Durban II’ anti-racism conference in Geneva, an increasing number of democracies have decided not to attend the conference.  Yesterday’s decision by the governments of Australia, Netherlands, Germany and New Zealand which follows intensive action from groups including Jerusalem-based research organization NGO Monitor, increases the chance that anti-Israel activists will be prevented from hijacking the event.   This is despite the expected attendance of Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. 

 The UN Durban Conference in 2001 represented a nadir for the human rights community, as NGOs in particular betrayed genuine human rights causes in favor of intense political warfare directed against Israel.  NGO Monitor was created specifically to prevent a repeat scenario, particularly to counter the role of influential and biased NGOs. Using the Durban Strategy,  numerous NGOs and delegations from countries including Iran and Libya, sought to use ‘Durban II’ to further isolate Israel through boycotts and demonization.
There have been significant successes in recent days to counter these efforts. Several leading democracies have chosen not to participate in Geneva, including the US and Canada, which rejected pressure by Human Rights Watch to change their positions. Australia, Netherlands, Germany, Poland and New Zealand have now joined the United States, Israel, Canada and Italy in withdrawing.  In addition, what was planned as a major anti-Israel NGO event in Geneva on Saturday attracted only an estimated 200 people while the main speaker criticized those whose banners proclaimed ‘Zionism is Racism.’ 

Ahmadinejad’s expected arrival at the conference on Monday will further expose the failure of ‘Durban II’ as a genuine human rights conference.  Ahmadinejad heads a regime which is guilty of serial human rights abuses, while he has personally repeatedly denied the Holocaust and called for Israel’s destruction.

NGO Monitor’s Executive Director, Prof Gerald Steinberg, currently in Geneva commented, “The voices of morality which have worked to prevent another human rights disaster in the Durban framework have had a significant impact.  In contrast, biased NGOs that promote this demonization have lost influence.  The presence of Ahmadinejad and the focus on Iran’s gross violations of human rights will further expose the moral bankruptcy of those working for a repeat of the Durban Conference in 2001.”                 

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Editors Notes:

Please click here to view NGO Monitor’s ‘Durban II Resource Guide’

Please click here or the link below to view the ‘Durban II’ section of the NGO Monitor website.

NGO Monitor was founded to promote transparency, critical analysis and debate on the political role of human rights organizations.  For more information, see our website at 

Other recent publications and reports by NGO Monitor include:-

Betrayed by Silence:  NGOs ignore Gilad Shalit’s Rights – March 26 2009

The NGO Front in the Gaza War – February 12, 2009 

NGOs and Durban Demonization at UN Review of Israel – December 3, 2008

NGO Monitor’s Executive Director is, Prof. Gerald Steinberg.

Members of NGO Monitor’s International Advisory Board include Elie Wiesel, Prof Alan Dershowitz, Sir Martin Gilbert and R. James Woolsey

For further information, comment or interviews with Prof Steinberg contact Dan Kosky

+972 (0) 546-305-504

NGO Monitor – 1, Ben Maimon Blvd. – Jerusalem 92262 –   Israel – T: +972-2-566-1020

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