First Published: 2008-04-04

 
US boycotts anti-racism conference over Israel
 

US sees 'no reason' to attend Durban conference against racism as it would inevitably criticise Israel.

 

Middle East Online

Trying to excuse Israel’s racist policies?

WASHINGTON - The United States said Thursday it saw "no reason at this point" to attend the 2009 UN conference on racism in South Africa amid fears that it will become a platform for criticising Israeli policies.

The UN's first World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, held in 2001 in Durban, was condemned by the United States, Canada and Israel for descending into what they claim “anti-Semitism”, a term observes say has been abused to mean any criticism of Israel, while it used to strictly refer to anti-Jewish sentiments in the past.

"Unfortunately, some bad ideas don't ever seem to die," State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey told reporters. "So there are now plans afoot to hold a Durban II conference that is tentatively scheduled for 2009."

Casey said preparations for the conference were launched in August.

"We haven't participated in those discussions. We have ensured that there will be no funding for those discussions. And we see no reason at this point why the United States should participate in the meeting itself," he said.

Casey said in response to a journalist's question that he did not know what conversations were taking between the United States and its allies.

But he added: "Certainly we would encourage others not to participate in this event, again, because it shows every sign in its second version of being as noxious an event as the first one was."

Last December, the United Nations General Assembly had passed a $4.17 billion budget for 2008-09, voting 142-1 for the two-year budget, which only the US voted against because of provisions for the conference.

US envoy Mark Wallace said Washington opposed the budget because it contained funding for a follow-up to a 2001 racism conference in Durban, South Africa.

The United States and Israel walked out of that conference because they said it was targeting Israel as a racist state.

 

Warring Syrians set for first face-to-face at Astana

Turkey moves closer to expanding Erdogan powers

IS demolishes more monuments in recaptured Palmyra

Bodies of firemen recovered from Tehran tower

Police, ruling party hit by attacks in Istanbul

Bomb kills 4 in refugee camp near Syrian border with Jordan

Egypt says political solution 'only way' for Libya ahead of talks

Turkey concedes including Assad in Syria talks

Netanyahu congratulates ‘friend’ Trump in tweet

Israel denounces Belgian plan to interrogate ex-minister

Denmark grants soldiers permission to fight IS in Syria

Car bomb near Benghazi mosque wounds 12

UN calls IS destruction of Palmyra relics ‘war crime’

Armed settlers rescued from angry Palestinian villagers

Petition filed for Israeli court to return body of Bedouin

29 Yemen rebels killed by Saudi-led air strikes

Iran losing hope of saving trapped firefighters

Algeria’s Islamist parties unite ahead of April elections

British worker dies on Qatar 2022 World Cup site

Search continues for trapped Iran firefighters

More than 40 jihadists killed in north Syria air strikes

Trump to be sworn in as 45th US president

Trump to retain envoy to anti-IS coalition

More than 20 firefighters feared dead in Tehran building collapse

Explosions in Gaza target Fatah member

UN expert tells Saudi to end ban on women driving

Desalination plant opens in Gaza to tackle water crisis

Syria’s Assad hopes rebels disarm after Astana talks

UN says 400,000 Syrian child refugees in Turkey not in school

Libya PM skips Davos to focus on electricity crisis

Greece, Cyprus insist peace deal must include Turkish withdrawal

Mistura to lead UN delegation at Astana Syria talks

Turkey slams French satire song about Istanbul attack

Saudi minister says kingdom to become ‘softer’ after reforms

Bahrain lifts ban on electronic Al-Wasat newspaper

Arab Israelis strike in protest over house demolitions

Iran sees Syria talks as opportunity to gain influence

Kuwait upholds sentence for three royals for insulting judges

Tunisia facing mounting calls against jail-for-joint law

Iran's oldest high-rise building on fire collapses

IMF says Egypt on track for next aid tranche

Bahrain police disperse Shiite protesters

Key Syria rebel group opts out of Astana peace talks

Moroccan Sufi ‘living master’ dies at 95

France says Iraqi jihadist among 2015 stadium bombers