Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

September mourn or dawn?

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Is it too much of a stretch to wonder if the Palestinian campaign to have the UN declare its support for a state on the 1967 borders on September 20 will spill over into the "Third Durban Conference" which starts two days later?

In other words, will Durban III, being held to mark the 10th anniversary of the first, descend into the abject anti-Israel and antisemitic hate fest that marred the original and overshadowed the second?

For a good report on Durban I, read an eye-opening on the ground account from 2001 by AIJAC's Director of International & Community Affairs, Jeremy Jones, who attended the conference.

And will the debate about UN recognition of Palestinian statehood be used to stoke the fires?

Whether the UN Security Council General Assembly votes in favour of or against Palestinian statehood, the issue could be used as a lightning rod to curse the US and Israel. This is especially true considering that the US, Canada, Israel, Czech Republic, Italy and the Netherlands have indicated they will not attend Durban III.

Another potentially combustible element in the Durban III mix is that, as noted by analyst Adam Daifallah, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is scheduled to address the UN on the same day that the conference will start.

Considering events at the 2009 Durban II gathering in Geneva - where Ahmadinejad was the keynote speaker, prompting delegates from a number of Western countries to walk out - it is worth asking if the inveterate headline seeker will try a repeat performance.

Ambassador Alan Baker has a good primer on the history of the Durban Conferences, including a look at the upcoming event.

Finally, will Durban III acknowledge the Arab Spring which is still very much a work in progress?

Watch this space.

 

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