US to help plan 'Durban II' UN racism conference

The Obama administration said late Saturday it would participate in planning for a UN conference on racism dubbed 'Durban II' despite concerns the meeting will be used by Arab nations and others to demonize Israel. The US will decide later whether to participate in the conference. The State Department said it would send diplomats next week to participate in preparatory meetings for the World Conference Against Racism, which is set to be held in Geneva, Switzerland in April and which some countries including Israel have already decided to boycott. During the Bush administration the United States and Israel walked out the first UN conference on racism in Durban, South Africa in 2001 over efforts to pass a resolution comparing Zionism - the movement to establish and maintain a Jewish state - to racism.