UK says it is ready to pull out of ‘Dur­ban II’ con­fer­ence

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY LEON SY­MONS

BRI­TAIN WOULD pull out of the so­called “Dur­ban II” con­fer­ence on racism if it de­scends into an­other round of at­tacks on Is­rael and thinly veiled an­tisemitism.

Europe Min­is­ter Jim Mur­phy told MPs that while Bri­tain would con­tinue to work to­wards mak­ing the con­fer­ence a suc­cess, he promised that a re­peat of the bla­tant bias of the con­fer­ence in 2001 would not be tol­er­ated.

The first con­fer­ence — the World Con­fer­ence against Racism, Racial Dis­crim­i­na­tion, Xeno­pho­bia and Re­lated Tol­er­ance, to give its of­fi­cial ti­tle — was held in Dur­ban in 2001.

A re­view of that event — a meet­ing whose short­hand name is “Dur­ban II” — is due to take place next year, al­though no venue has been se­lected yet.

Prepara­tory work has be­gun, and sus­pi­cions about the di­rec­tion it will take have al­ready been aroused be­cause one ses­sion took place dur­ing Passover, and an­other is sched­uled to take place on Yom Kip­pur.

An­swer­ing a ques­tion from John Mann (Labour, Bas­set­law) and Tim Boswell (Con, Daven­try), chair of the par­lia­men­tary All-Party An­tisemitism group, about prepa­ra­tions for Dur­ban II, Mr Mur­phy said: “The prepara­tory work [for the re­view con­fer­ence] is on­go­ing, but there should be no re­peat of the dis­grace­ful an­tisemitism that blighted events sur­round­ing the 2001 world con­fer­ence against racism.”

Mr Mann said that “with Libya chair­ing the prepara­tory com­mit­tee and Cuba and Iran sup­port­ing it as of­fi­cers, the signs are not good”.

He sought as­sur­ance from Mr Mur­phy that “if there is even the slight­est whiff of any­thing com­pa­ra­ble” to what hap­pened at the con­fer­ence, Bri­tain would not take part.

Mr Mur­phy re­it­er­ated: “I wish to be clear that the UK gov­ern­ment will play no part in a gath­er­ing that dis­plays such be­hav­iour. We will con­tinue to work to make sure that the con­fer­ence is a suc­cess, but we will play no part in an in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence that ex­hibits the de­gree of an­tisemitism that was dis­grace­fully on view on the pre­vi­ous oc­ca­sion.”

Both Canada and Is­rael have said al­ready that they will not take part in the re­view con­fer­ence. France’s Pres­i­dent, Ni­co­las Sarkozy, has said France would try to curb the “ex­cesses and abuses” of the first one.

PHOTO: AP

A demon­stra­tion typ­i­cal of those which took place dur­ing the first Dur­ban con­fer­ence in 2001

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