Israel, U.S. coordinating Durban reply

Israel and the United States reportedly are coordinating their response to the second Durban conference on racism.

Both countries say they will not attend unless they receive guarantees from the United Nations organizers that the conference will not turn into a prolonged anti-Israel attack, as the first conference did in 2001, Ha’aretz reported Friday.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice set the coordination in a meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni during Rice’s recent visit to Israel, the paper said. Durban II is set for early next year.

Separately, a group of former top government officials and influential U.S. Jews signed an ad urging the United States to boycott Durban II.

The ad appearing April 3 in Roll Call, Politico, the Washington Times and the New York Sun called on the Bush administration and top congressional leaders to “say no to Durban II. Declare that the United States will not participate in a dialogue that promotes prejudice.”

Signatories included Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and chronicler of the Holocaust; Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard law professor and best-selling writer; Floyd Abrams, a First Amendment lawyer; William Bennett, a former U.S. education secretary; and James Woolsey, a former CIA director.

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