NEW YORK (JTA) – Israel rejected a revised draft of the closing statement for the Durban II anti-racism conference.
A senior Foreign Ministry source said Wednesday that the draft, aimed at dropping direct criticism of Israel, reaffirms a declaration from the United Nations-sponsored conference in 2001 that refers to Israel as “a racist state” and “the change is cosmetic only,” the Ha’aretz daily reported.
In a bid to keep the European Union from boycotting, direct references to Israel and the Israel-Palestinian conflict were removed.
"This is a diplomatic ruse intended to blur matters and introduce criticism of Israel by the back door," the official said.
The statement will be issued at the end of the Durban Review Conference, to be held next month in Geneva. The conference is a follow-up to the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance held in Durban, South Africa.
Israel, the United States, Canada and Italy have announce they will boycott the Geneva conference. Other EU countries, as well as Australia and New Zealand, also have threatened to boycott.
Israel and the United States walked out of the 2001 conference when it turned into an anti-Israel, anti-Jewish hate fest.