The Advocate Newsletter
Israel Institute of New Zealand
The UN’s 2001 World Conference Against Racism, held in Durban, South Africa was ostensibly convened to discuss opposition to racism. In reality, it descended into a hatefest targeting one particular people group – the Jews.
Following the 2001 inaugural conference, Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel wrote:
The conference in Durban will be remembered as a forum that was governed not by anti-Israelites but by anti-Semites. The fact that militant Palestinians hate Jews — that is known already. One needs only hear the various Islamic leaders and read the books printed by the Palestinian Authority: They preach hatred and violence, not against Zionists but against Jews. Their slogan, naked and brutal and identical everywhere, was keenly felt and even heard in Durban: “Kill the Jews.”
What is painful is not that the Palestinians and the Arabs voiced their hatred, but the fact that so few delegates had the courage to combat them. It is as if in a strange and frightening moment of collective catharsis, everyone removed their masks and revealed their true faces.
By means of the disgraceful conference in Durban, history has given us, the Jews, a sign. And we had better learn how to decipher it.
New Zealand’s Attorney General Margaret Wilson attended the inaugural conference and bemoaned the diversion into “highly-politicised and divisive arguments”.
In 2009 and 2011 NZ showed moral fortitude in refusing to attend with Foreign Minister Murray McCully in 2011 commenting, We remain concerned that the commemoration of the 2001 Durban Declaration could reopen the offensive and anti-Semitic debates which undermined the original World Conference. The US also refused to attend Durban II and III.
In 2009 President Barack Obama stated that the antagonism expressed toward Israel was oftentimes “completely hypocritical and counterproductive”. On 22 September Durban IV will reconvene to mark 20 years since the Durban Declaration. Several countries are refusing to attend, including Canada, UK, Australia and USA.
Our members often ask, what can we do? Everyone has a part to play in the battle for truth and justice regarding the treatment of Israel. We encourage you to make your views known by writing to New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Nanaia Mahuta.
Articles here and here may assist you. Also, please join us on Zoom this Thursday (22 July at 7pm) to hear Ashley Church discuss these issues and many others with international law expert Andrew Tucker of THINC. Register here and feel free to send questions for Andrew Tucker via our website, or directly during the Zoom session.
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