On November 19, 2008, Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, announced that Israel will not participate in the Durban Review Conference in Geneva in April 2008, joining Canada as the only governments to formally boycott the conference. She noted the ‘Draft Outcome Document,’ which “singl[es] out and delegitimiz[es] the State of Israel,” and “legitimiz[es] hatred and extremism and anti-Semitism under the banner of a fight against racism.” The US, the UK, France, and Denmark have threatened to boycott the conference, as well.
On November 19, 2008, the Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, announced that Israel will not participate in the Durban Review Conference in Geneva in April 2008. According to a MFA press release, “The vitriolic tone and context of the ‘Draft Outcome Document’ continue to undermine the genuine aims and objectives of the Durban Conference, and leave us no choice, but to withdraw from what, once again, will apparently become a platform for denigrating Israel.” Specifically, contribution of the Asian Regional Group, which was incorporated into the conference’s ‘Draft Outcome Document,’ repeated the hateful, anti-Israel rhetoric of “extremist Arab and Muslim states.” NGO Monitor welcomed the statement, and will continue to work with other organizations to press the leaders of democratic countries and the major NGOs to prevent the Durban Review Conference from being used to further demonize Israel and damage the moral foundations of human rights.
The Review Conference is scheduled to begin on April 20 2009 in Geneva, and all signs point to a repeat of the highly destructive 2001 World Conference Against Racism that took place in Durban. This UN sponsored event, and particularly the NGO Forum, was itself guilty of racism and antisemitism, falsely accusing Israel of ‘apartheid’, ‘crimes against humanity’ and ‘genocide’, while erasing terrorism. As reported by NGO Monitor, October’s preparatory meeting (PrepCom) in advance of ‘Durban II’ was characterized by the same language and narrow focus, reinforcing concerns that ‘Durban II’ will again exploit human rights, while ignoring the real concerns of marginalized and oppressed people across the world.
Israel joins Canada as the only countries to formally announce boycotts of the Review Conference. Other governments, including the United States, the UK, and France, have linked their participation in the Geneva conference to demands that the agenda does not seek to repeat the abuses and antisemitism of Durban. And Denmark has demanded that the language regarding alleged defamation of religion, which is being promoted by the members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, be removed from the Final Outcome Document.