Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

New Zealand withdraws from Durban III

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New Zealand has decided to withdraw from the Durban III conference to be held on 22 September in New York. The previous two Durban "anti-racism" conferences are known to have been hijacked by antisemitism and anti-zionism, and as noted in a previous blog post, the document released for this conference make it clear that this one is unlikely to be an improvement.

New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully stated:

"New Zealand is fully committed to combating racism and we agree the UN should lead discussions on the elimination of racism. That is why we engaged constructively in the preparatory discussions in New York. However, in the end, the text is not one that we could support."

He also said:

"We remain concerned that the commemoration of the 2001 Durban Declaration could re-open the offensive and anti-Semitic debates which undermined the original World Conference. For these reasons, we have decided not to participate".

New Zealand joins a growing list of countries who have withdrawn from Durban III, they include: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Austria, Israel and the USA.

Poland is also attempting to distance itself form from Durban III, as it has been reported that Poland does not plan to send an official delegation to participate in Durban III. Jacek Biegal, a spokesman for the Polish Embassy in Berlin, in an email to the Jerusalem Post stated: "Poland's high-level delegation is not planned for the Durban III conference". When the Jerusalem Post asked if Poland intends to walk away from the Durban III event, Biegal said: "That is [the] final official statement with no other comments."

Poland's decision, as current chair of the European Union, appears to send a strong message and could be viewed as EU policy.

Sharyn Mittelman

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