European group to EU: Snub Durban II


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The European Jewish Congress called on the European Union to boycott an upcoming United Nations anti-racism conference.

Calling the language and tone of the Durban II draft outcome document “completely unacceptable for an official U.N. document,” EJC President Moshe Kantor said Monday that “Now is the time for EU countries and leaders such as French President Nicolas Sarkozy, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to take the lead on issues of human rights and racism in the U.N., and to make a strong and clear stand against the Durban Review Conference.

“Durban II, as it currently stands, is an affront to all those seeking to ensure human rights and the eradication of racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism," he said. "We applaud the United States for refusing to participate in this kangaroo court against Israel.”

The United States, Israel and Canada said they will not attend the April conference in Geneva, Switzerland. The 2001 conference in Durban, South Africa, was filled with anti-Israel and anti-Jewish invective.

No further meetings on the draft documents are scheduled. 

Kantor and other leaders of the EJC,  the umbrella organization for Jewish communities in Europe, will raise the issue of the anti-racism conference during a meeting Wednesday with a representative of the EU Czech presidency, Czech Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Alexander Vondra.

A draft of the closing statement prepared for the Durban II conference says that Israel’s policy in the West bank and Gaza is a "violation of international human rights, a crime against humanity and a contemporary form of apartheid," the Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported Tuesday after obtaining a copy of the statement.

Israel is also accused of committing "a foreign occupation founded on settlements, laws based on racial discrimination with the aim of continuing domination of the occupied territories," and is called "threat to international peace and security."

The draft also expresses "deep concern" over Israel’s practices of "racial discrimination against the Palestinian people as well as Syrian nationals of the occupied Syrian Golan and other inhabitants of the Arab occupied territories."


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