Dutch threaten to boycott 'Durban II'

Foreign minister: "It seems like sole intention" of Geneva racism conference "is to criticize Israel."

durban anti-israel 248 88 (photo credit: AP [file])
durban anti-israel 248 88
(photo credit: AP [file])
The Dutch foreign minister threatened Tuesday to boycott a UN racism conference if anti-Israel statements are not scrapped from draft texts being drawn up for the meeting. Maxime Verhagen told Dutch radio he "will not be involved in anti-Semitism" at the April meeting in Geneva. Israel and Canada already have withdrawn. The United States has protested the conference, but has not decided if it will attend. "It seems like the sole intention is to criticize Israel and condemn the West for slavery and its colonial history," Verhagen said. At the last conference in South Africa in 2001, Israel and the United States walked out midway because of a draft resolution equating Zionism - Israel's founding ideology - with racism. The resolution was not approved. Verhagen fears a repeat performance in Geneva, and said the Dutch will withdraw unless the proposed resolutions are changed. "We won't take that decision lightly. We will take every opportunity at this time to fight racism and discrimination but we will not be used for a propaganda circus," he said.