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"Regrettably, last January, Canada announced its intention to withdraw from the Durban review conference. And this month, so did Israel. Behind these decisions stands the controversy that tainted the 2001 Durban Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, and that was caused by the anti-Semitic behavior of some non-governmental organizations at the sidelines of the conference. Yet the document that emerged from the conference itself, the Durban Declaration and Program of Action (DDPA), transcended divisive and intolerant approaches." "The Durban review conference is a timely opportunity to reaffirm the principles of non-discrimination and to build on the Durban Declaration and Program of Action. It is for states to ensure that this objective is met and implementation gaps are closed. If all states are not engaged in the process, this goal may remain elusive. Thus, the concerns expressed by Canada and Israel that the review conference will become a platform for denigrating Israel must be assuaged. Seven years ago, states did so by elevating the conference’s outcome above the hatred and hostility that took place on its periphery, and by reaching a broad agreement on the necessary measures to combat racism and intolerance. They must achieve that commonality of purpose again through active engagement rather than withdrawal. We owe a frank debate and concrete action to the victims of discrimination, intolerance and racism. We can avoid or overcome friction by focusing on how to give new momentum to the struggle against these unconscionable practices. States have a responsibility to show leadership against racial discrimination and intolerance. What message does a state boycott send to those who are suffering from racism? What message does it send to those who perpetuate racism? This struggle concerns all of us in our increasingly multi-cultural and multi-ethnic societies."