June 01, 2011: No Commemoration for Anti-Semitism at the UN
10:25 AM Jun 02, 2011
No Commemoration for Anti-Semitism at the UN
JCPA Praises US Decision to Sit out Conference, Calls for Real Conference on Bigotry
Today’s announcement that the United States will not participate in the 10th anniversary commemoration of the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance held in Durban, South Africa is a welcome decision, said the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. The State Department described U.S. position in a letter from Acting Assistant Secretary Joseph Macmanus to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. Late last year, Senator Gillibrand initiated a letter to United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations Susan Rice urging the United States to refrain from participating in the commemoration event. In addition to Sen. Gillibrand, the letter was signed by a bipartisan group of 17 Senators.
“The goals of the original conference in Durban in 2001 remain immensely important. But unfortunately, this good intentioned conference with admirable goals was hijacked by those fixated on delegitimizing Israel. We appreciate the United State’s decision not to participate in the 10th anniversary commemoration event,” said JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow. “Ending racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and all forms of bigotry are key components of our work. JCPA will continue to work every day with our partners from across the spectrum to tackle some these most intractable injustices. The conference being commemorated, however, failed to do any of that. Instead, it devolved into anti-Semitic attacks on Israel so pernicious that the US, Israel, and other nations were compelled to recall their delegations. We had hoped that this year’s commemoration event would reject the anti-Israel rhetoric and sentiment of the first conference and subsequent review conference in Geneva. That has not been the case.”
“The US appropriately decided to sit this out. We cannot allow the laudable missions of international bodies to be subverted by those intent on isolating and demonizing Israel,” said JCPA Chair Dr. Conrad Giles. “Should a good faith conference on ending bigotry be convened, free of the anti-Israel bias of the 2001 event, we will be eager to participate. Until then, we join the U.S., Israel, and Canada in refusing to commemorate a conference that was captured by an international campaign to wrongfully and maliciously equate Israel with apartheid South Africa.
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