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Canada to Boycott Durban Conference, Says it ‘Scapegoats’ Israel

Canadian Immigration Minister says Canada will not take part in Durban III, calling it a “hatefest” towards Israel.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/26/2010, 1:19 AM / Last Update: 11/26/2010, 1:13 AM

Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced Thursday that his country will not be taking part in the Durban III conference next year.

Speaking at a press conference and quoted in AFP, Kenney said: “Our government has lost faith in the Durban process. We will not be part of this event, which commemorates an agenda that promotes racism rather than combats it.”

Kenney called the conference a “charade” and a “hatefest”, and said that it is essentially all about criticizing Israel. “The government of Canada will not lend Canada's good name to the organized exercise in scapegoating (Israel) that is the Durban process.”

While Canada will not participate in the conference nor will it provide funding to any NGOs that are planning to participate, Kenney was quoted by Canadian newspaper The National Post as saying: “We obviously continue to believe in the United Nations as an important multilateral forum. But we are able to make basic distinctions between good and bad.”

The UN resolution on Durban III passed by a 121-19 vote, with 35 abstentions. The conference will commemorate the 9th anniversary of the first such conference, held in Durban, South Africa just 10 days before the 9/11 World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. That conference was described by the ICEJ as a “concerted effort by nearly all the Muslims of the world to denounce and de-legitimize the Jewish state of Israel; an awful verbal forerunner much as the one the Nazis sent before launching the Holocaust of the expunging of Israel as sovereign Jewish state from their Arab Muslim midst.”

The upcoming conference is to be held in New York City just ten days after the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, in September 2011.

The Canadian Jewish Congress praised the decision by the Canadian government on Thursday. CJC President Mark Freiman was quoted in The National Post as saying: “Both Durban I and II, ostensibly aimed at fighting racism, turned out to be little more than concerted anti-Semitic charades that set back the real fight against racism and discrimination by decades. This UN process is fundamentally flawed and by now beyond repair.”

The Canadian delegation walked out of the first Durban conference to protest a “festival hate” directed at Israel, as then federal Justice Minister Irwin Cotler called it.

Canada was also one of nine governments (along with countries such as the United States, Australia, Israel, Germany, and Britain) to boycott last year’s Durban II due to fears of anti-Semitism, which Kenney said came true when Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad used the conference as a means to launch an attack on Israel. He expressed his hope that other countries will follow Canada and recognize that Durban is nothing but a “dangerous” platform for racism and anti-Semitism.