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With New Zealand and Cyprus announcing this week that they will join the growing boycott of the upcoming Durban IV conference, 16 countries are now refusing to attend the 20th anniversary commemoration of the 2001 Durban conference.

Set to take place on September 22 on the sidelines of the opening session of the 76th United Nations General Assembly, the commemoration of 20th anniversary of the 2001 Durban conference has been widely condemned by many countries for being a vehicle for reaffirming the original Durban conference, which the ADL noted was “permanently tainted as a notorious vehicle to promote anti-Semitism and incite hatred against Israel.”

With their refusal to attend the conference, New Zealand and Cyprus join a lengthy list of countries that have stated their intention not to attend, including Israel, the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Germany, Bulgaria and Croatia.

On Thursday, a spokesperson from New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in a statement that the country “remains strongly committed to combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.”

The spokesperson added: “Consistent with our long-standing position, New Zealand will not attend the 20th anniversary of the Durban Declaration conference in New York on 22 September 2021.”

In 2011, before the Durban III conference commenced, New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully condemned the original 2001 conference, J-Wire reported.

“When the World Conference Against Racism was held in Durban, South Africa, seven years ago it was extremely contentious. It gave rise to expressions of anti-Israeli views which undermined its focus on genuine anti-racism initiatives,” said McCully at the time. “I am not satisfied that the wording emerging from preparatory discussions will prevent the Review Conference from descending into the same kind of rancorous and unproductive debate that took place in 2001.”

The original Durban event, held in Durban, South Africa, descended into an anti-Semitic hatefest, with participants distributing anti-Semitic documents, including The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and flyers praising Hitler.

All Durban conferences, including the upcoming Durban IV event, "reaffirm" the original Durban Declaration in its entirety, Jewish groups have noted.

Commemorating the original Durban conference is “outrageous and shameful,” said the ADL.

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