Grow­ing fear over UN race con­fer­ence

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY SI­MON ROCKER

JEWISH OR­GAN­I­SA­TIONS are press­ing the gov­ern­ment over next month’s UN con­fer­ence in New York mark­ing the tenth an­niver­sary of the Dur­ban Dec­la­ra­tion on anti-racism. They fear it will lead to a re­newed in­ter­na­tional cam­paign against Is­rael fol­low­ing the pre­vi­ous two con­fer­ences.

The Bri­tish gov­ern­ment has yet to de­cide whether to fol­low the US and a num­ber of other coun­tries in pulling out of Dur­ban III, as it is known.

A del­e­ga­tion from the Jewish Hu­man Rights Coali­tion (JHRC-UK), which rep­re­sents the Board of Deputies, CST and other Jewish or­gan­i­sa­tions, was due to meet For­eign Of­fice of­fi­cials this week, hav­ing pre­vi­ously called for the UK to with­draw from the con­fer­ence.

A Board spokes­woman said: “In 2001, Is­rael was the only coun­try specif­i­cally sin­gled out in the of­fi­cial dec­la­ra­tion from the first Dur­ban con­fer­ence.”

At the fol­low-up Dur­ban II con­fer­ence in Geneva two years ago, the dec­la­ra­tion was rene­go­ti­ated “to re­move any ex­plicit ref­er­ence to the Mid­dle East” she said.

But a draft dec­la­ra­tion for next month’s event reaf­firms the orig­i­nal Dur­ban pro­gramme, thereby pro­vid­ing po­ten­tially new am­mu­ni­tion for the UN Hu­man Rights Coun­cil to put Is­rael in the fir­ing line.

The Board spokes­woman said that there was also concern that Iran’s Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ah­madine­jad is due to at­tend the event.

It takes place dur­ing the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly, when a threat­ened Pales­tinian uni­lat­eral dec­la­ra­tion of in­de­pen­dence could add to pres­sure on Is­rael.

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