Now Aus­tralia pulls out of Dur­ban III

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY DAN GOLD­BERG , SYD­NEY

AUS­TRALIA HAS joined the US, Canada, Israel and sev­eral Euro­pean na­tions in with­draw­ing from the con­tro­ver­sial UN con­fer­ence on racism next month.

A spokesper­son for Prime Min­is­ter Ju­lia Gil­lard con­firmed on Tues­day that she was not con­vinced that “unbalanced crit­i­cism of Israel and the air­ing of an­tisemitic views” would be avoided, her spokesper­son said.

Aus­tralia there­fore would not send a rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the meet­ing in New York, dubbed “Dur­ban III” af­ter the orig­i­nal anti-racism con­fer­ence in the South African city 10 years ago that was marred by anti-semitism, prompt­ing Aus­tralia, among other west­ern coun­tries, to walk out.

The La­bor gov­ern­ment sub­se­quently boy­cotted the sec­ond con­fer­ence in 2009, dur­ing which Ira­nian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ah­madine­jad un­leashed a vit­ri­olic at­tack on Israel and the Jews.

The PM’S spokesper­son said Aus­tralia re­mained in­volved in early con­sul­ta­tions “to op­pose at­tempts to en­dorse ex­treme lan­guage or ex­plicit ref­er­ences to the text of the Dur­ban Dec­la­ra­tion.”

But Aus­tralia would not be able to “sup­port a meet­ing that chooses to reaf­firm the orig­i­nal Dur­ban Dec­la­ra­tion, as ap­pears likely,” the spokesper­son said.

Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil of Aus­tralian Jewry pres­i­dent, Dr Danny Lamm, wel­comed the de­ci­sion, which he had been urg­ing since last Novem­ber.

“We have said that Aus­tralia should take no part in a process that re­mains ir­re­deemably cor­rupted by racism and by at­tacks on Israel’s le­git­i­macy as the State of the Jewish peo­ple,” he said.

“When a re­spected mid­dle power democ­racy like Aus­tralia de­cides to stay away from as high pro­file an event as Dur­ban III, it sends a pow­er­ful mes­sage to the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, that the UN Hu­man Rights Coun­cil and re­lated or­gans of the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly need to clean up their act.”

The Czech Repub­lic, Italy and the Nether­lands have also de­clined to at­tend.

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