Geneva may be site for racism confab


South Africa reportedly dropped its bid to host a second U.N. anti-racism conference in Durban.

The 2001 U.N. World Conference Against Racism in Durban became a fury of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hatred. South Africa had indicated interest in hosting the anti-racism conference again, but Jewish activists said Thursday they were optimistic the 2009 World Conference Against Racism would be held at the United Nations in Geneva.

The Geneva-based U.N. Watch, a watchdog group that monitors U.N. bodies for bias, said South Africa had backed off its request to handle the 2009 conference.

Jewish groups in Geneva monitoring preparations for the 2009 parley said some U.N. officials and Western countries want to avoid a repeat of ’01 and believe that holding the ’09 event on U.N. turf will help guarantee certain protocols and security.

“The expected adoption of a controlled U.N. headquarters as the venue, be it Geneva, Paris, or Vienna, is something we fought for, as one of many necessary steps to prevent a repeat of the ugly street scenes of Durban in 2001,” U.N. Watch said in a statement.

Regardless, activists say they expect Arab and Muslim member states to continue their tradition of singling out Israel in international forums for its treatment of Palestinians.

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