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Israel rally held opposite U.N. compound

GENEVA (JTA) — Natan Sharansky headlined a pro-Israel rally opposite the U.N. compound in Geneva, where the Durban Review Conference was completing its third day.

“Here, the struggle against racism means struggle against all the democracies of the world,” told JTA afterward. “And that’s very dangerous.”

The rally, hosted by American Jewish Committee Executive Director David Harris, featured presentations by Sharansky; former Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler; Claude Goasguen, a member of the French National Assembly and head of the France-Israel parliamentary caucus; Fiamma Nirenstein, an Italian journalist and parliamentarian; and McGill University historian Gil Troy.

“As somebody who was present at Durban I,” Cotler said, “who witnessed the racism and hate and demonization of Israel and the Jewish people, all I can say when I look out here and see the crowd and see the flags, we have taken back the streets, we have taken back the narrative and we are speaking truth to power.”

The rally took place as delegates were wrapping up the third day of the conference, whose substantive sessions all but ended Tuesday with the early adoption of the conference outcome document.

Jewish groups condemned the document, which opens by reaffirming the 2001 Durban platform that recognized the plight of the Palestinians and named only Israel among all the member states of the United Nations. 

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