Australia concerned about anti-Semitism at Durban II


SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — Australia is concerned that anti-Semitism could mar a United Nations conference on racism next year.

A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said this week that America, New Zealand and the European Union supported Australia’s concern about the follow-up to the 2001 Durban conference against racism, which is scheduled for April in Geneva, Switzerland.

The U.N. Durban conference in 2001 has been described by critics as an anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hate-fest. Israel and America walked out in protest midway through the conference.

The Australian spokesman, Scott Bolitho, confirmed that Australia had not yet decided whether to attend the conference, which has been dubbed “Durban II."

"We will base this decision on a thorough consideration of whether Australia, and other countries with a genuine interest in countering racism, can positively influence the outcomes of the Review Conference," he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Canada and Israel have already withdrawn from the conference.

Christopher Pyne, of the Opposition Liberal Party, said Australia should not attend because by doing so it would "tacitly sign up to a warped view of racism."

Last December, Australia voted against providing funding for the conference, along with Israel, America, Canada and more than 30 other countries.

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