BERLIN – The third UN-sponsored anti-racisim conference, which plans to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the 2001 anti-Israel Durban I event, will face a counter-conference in September featuring Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, seeking to debunk a Durban process which critics say is riddled with hatred and intolerance.
The Durban process, so named for the South African city where the first conference took place in 2001, is shrouded in controversy because the first conference singled out Israel for attacks in its political document.
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“The Durban conference legitimized hate speech on a global scale,” said Anne Bayefsky, director of the Touro College Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, and a principal organizer of the counter-conference. She added that the September 22 daylong conference, sponsored by the Hudson Institute and Touro College and titled “The Perils of Global Intolerance: the United Nations and Durban III”, will serve as a call to action.
“Given the events that Durban III is intended to commemorate, the UN will sadly serve as a global platform to promote the inverse of its original purposes and principles. It is imperative to deny legitimacy to prejudice and the Durban Declaration,” said Bayefsky, who is also a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and is scheduled to speak at the conference.
The event features a “who’s who” of prominent speakers from the
academic, public policy, journalism, human rights, political and
In addition to Wiesel, the opposition conference has attracted speakers
across three continents, including best-selling British journalist
Douglas Murray, former Israeli UN Ambassador Dore Gold, former New York
City Mayor Ed Koch and Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz.
Khaled Abu Toameh, the Jerusalem Post
’s award-winning Palestinian
affairs reporter, is slated to speak along with John Bolton, former US
Ambassador to the UN, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and
Bernard Lewis, a leading scholar on Islam and professor at Princeton
Academy-award winning actor Jon Voight, Wafa Sultan, a psychiatrist who
magazine named one its 100 most influential people in the world,
Sudanese human rights activist Simon Deng, Ron Lauder, president of the
World Jewish Congress, and Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American
Islamic Forum for Democracy, are listed as speakers as well.
Jason Kenney, Canada’s minister of citizenship, immigration and
multiculturalism, is slated to to talk at the event. Canada was the
first country to pull out of Durban II and III.
“At the widely-perceived racist ‘anti-racism’ conference, the streets
were filled with signs such as ‘for the liberation of Quds machine guns
based on faith and Islam must be used,’ and handouts with Hitler’s photo
read ‘What if I had won? The good things: there would be no Israel...,’
according to a statement from conference organizers. Durban I ended three days before 9/11 and The Durban Review Conference, or Durban II, was held in Geneva in 2009. The only world leader to attend was Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.”
At that conference, Ahmadinejad denied the Holocaust and proclaimed the Jewish state “illegitimate” and “criminal.”
He called for the obliteration of Israel and Zionism, declaring,
“Governments must be encouraged and supported in their fights at
eradicating this barbaric racism. Efforts must be made to put an end to
Ahmadinejad used the UN stage to voice, according to critics, his
oft-repeated form of Holocaust denial, saying that Israel was “created
on the pretext of Jewish suffering from World War II.”
Six countries from the UN’s 193 member nations have pulled out of Durban
III, including the US, Canada, Italy, the Czech Republic, the
Netherlands and Israel. Though Germany stresses that Israel’s security
interests are integral to its national security, Germany’s Foreign
Ministry is slated to attend the event.
“Germany’s behavior toward the UN’s Durban III conference raises serious
questions about its commitment to combat modern anti-Semitism. As an
event which will commemorate the hatefest held in Durban in 2001, and
its Durban Declaration, which singles out only one country on Earth –
the Jewish state – it is shocking that Germany has not refused
unequivocally to withdraw in solidarity with Israel, the United States,
Canada, Italy and other European nations,” Bayefsky said.