RJC: Don’t go to Durban


The Republican Jewish Coalition is strongly opposing U.S. participation in the Durban II conference, and has issued an action alert to its members urging them to contact their members of Congress and the White House to express their opinion. So far, the Anti-Defamation League has also urged that the U.S. pull out, but many other Jewish organization have, for now, taken a more wait-and-see approach toward the April conference after the Obama administration decided to attend i in hopes of changing its direction. Here’s the RJC release:

The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) announced its strong opposition to U.S. participation in the United Nations’ Durban Review Conference, commonly called "Durban II", and issued a national action alert to its members, calling on them to contact the White House and their representatives in the U.S. House and Senate to demand that the U.S. withdraw from participation in the Durban II conference.

RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said, "President Obama’s decision to send a U.S. delegation to the planning sessions for Durban II is an extremely disturbing change in American foreign policy regarding Israel.

"Like the original Durban conference in 2001, the upcoming conference is based on a document which is specifically anti-Israel. In speaking about racism, xenophobia, and discrimination, the  ‘Durban Declaration and Program of Action’ which lays the framework for Durban II, names only Israel as an offender against human rights. The preparatory committee for Durban II is being chaired by Libya, with Iran and Cuba as vice-chairs. Durban II is based on a document that falsely targets the democratic State of Israel without mentioning real instances of human rights abuses in the dictatorships of Asia, Africa or the Middle East. It is not possible for U.S. participation in this conference to mitigate the anti-Israel hatred the conference is designed to produce.

"So far, the U.S. delegation to the planning sessions has remained silent while additional anti-Israel language was added to the conference document. When the Palestinian delegation offered language that called for international protection of the Palestinian people (ostensibly against Israeli racism) and for implementation – as an international legal obligation – of the biased and ungrounded advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice against Israel’s security fence, the U.S. delegation reportedly raised no objection, allowing the language to go through to the final conference without debate.

"It is worth remembering that in 2001, when the U.S. withdrew from the first Durban conference, Secretary of State Colin Powell expressed clearly the nature of the conference and why it was unthinkable for the U.S. to participate: ‘I know that you do not combat racism by conferences that produce declarations containing hateful language, some of which is a throwback to the days of ‘Zionism equals racism;’ or supports the idea that we have made too much of the Holocaust; or suggests that apartheid exists in Israel; or that singles out only one country in the world-Israel-for censure and abuse.’

"The U.S. showed moral clarity and stood by our ally Israel by boycotting the 2001 conference when it became clear that Durban I had degenerated into a hate-fest against Israel, Jews, and the West. This second conference will be no different. Britain, Italy and other countries are watching closely how the U.S. responds. The United States should join Israel and Canada in refusing to participate in the Durban II conference this coming April."

Recommended from JTA