United Nations flags_521.
(photo credit: Istock)
NEW YORK – In opposition to the United Nations’ Durban- related events, protesters assembled outside the building on Thursday, and conferences designed to fight anti-Semitic and anti- Israel sentiment were held around New York.
Israeli and Iranian flags waved outside the United Nations on Thursday in protest against the UN’s commemoration of the anti-racism conference 10 years ago that degenerated into a large-scale exercise of anti-Israel sentiment.
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Across the street from the United Nations, the Hudson Institute and Touro College led a conference entitled, “The Perils of Global Intolerance: The United Nations and Durban III.”
Calling Durban III an exercise in the deliberate delegitimization of the state of Israel, various speakers including former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton denounced the UN for its decision to commemorate a conference which went against the explicit purpose of the UN as an institution.
Conference attendees included Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel,
former New York City mayor Ed Koch, and renowned lawyer Alan Dershowitz.
Recounting his invitation to attend the initial Durban conference,
Wiesel said he told then-UN Secretary- General Kofi Annan that he would
not attend because it seemed as though the conference was becoming a
platform for anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiment.
“Elie, you were right,” Wiesel said Annan told him after the fact.
Wiesel said that the original Durban conference was “inspired by hatred
toward the Jewish state and the Jewish people.”
Durban III, Bolton said, is emblematic of the UN’s “obsession” with Israel.
The UN generally, Bolton said, has “lost the focus” of its ideals. He
proposed abolishing all mandatory funding to the UN and substitute
voluntary funding in its stead.
“The best antidote” to institutionally-sanctioned hatred, Bolton said, “is to keep fighting.”
Of the Palestinian efforts to unilaterally declare statehood, Bolton said, “if you give it dignity, it will acquire dignity.”
“Action by the General Assembly has no real world impact,” Bolton said
with blunt severity, noting that the General Assembly “could declare
Disneyland a state tomorrow” and it would have just as much effect as a
vote on Palestinian observer status.