Geneva, November 19, 2008 — Geneva-based UN Watch, the leading independent monitor of the United Nations human rights system, issued the following statement concerning Israel’s announcement today that it will join Canada in staying away from the UN’s “Durban II” conference on racism, to be held in Geneva in April 2009:
The latest draft of the Durban II declaration seeks to portray Israel as an enemy of humanity, using language lifted verbatim from the notorious 2001 Tehran declaration that led up to the original Durban debacle. The countries that maliciously introduced this hateful rhetoric, and those who responded with moral indifference, bear full responsibility for Israel’s understandable decision today. When the forces of intolerance turn human rights into a political weapon, everybody loses.
In establishing red lines, France, Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark and other democracies have promised to disengage from the Durban process if they are unable to remove the objectionable language—provisions that assault Israel as well as basic human rights principles. We expect them to act accordingly.