EJP: European Jewish Group calls on Czech EU presidency to boycott ‘Durban II’


Leaders of the European Jewish Congress will ask the European Union to boycott the upcoming United Nations Conference on racism, during a meeting on Wednesday with the Czech EU presidency in Prague.

European Jewish Congress president Moshe Kantor is to meet with Czech Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Vondra.

In a statement issued on Monday, the EJC, a Paris-based umbrella organization for Jewish communities across Europe, called upon the European Union “to show strong leadership and to boycott the Durban Review Conference (‘Durban II’), scheduled to take place in Geneva in April, taking into account concerns already voiced by Denmark, the UK and the Netherlands.”

Calling the language and tone of the Durban II draft outcome document “completely unacceptable for an official UN document,” Moshe Kantor said: “Now is the time for EU countries and leaders such as French President Nicolas Sarkozy, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to take the lead on issues of human rights and racism in the UN and to make a strong and clear stand against the Durban Review Conference.”

“Durban II, as it currently stands, is an affront to all those seeking to ensure human rights and the eradication of racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism. We applaud the United States for refusing to participate in this kangaroo court against Israel.”

The United States has decided last week against taking part in the conference after it quit the previous session in 2001 over claims of anti-Semitism.

The conference was first held in Durban, South Africa, in 2001 but Israel and the United States walked out on the fourth day of the meeting in protest against attempts by Arab nations to adopt a resolution equating Zionism with racism.

According to Kantor, “there can be no turning back now from the hate-filled language included in the draft outcome document because there will be no more instances of negotiation before the actual conference.”

“It is time for European leaders to stand up for human rights and combat the perverse anti-Semitism that scapegoats Jews and Israel for all the world’s ills and announce now, today, that they will not take part in Durban II. The world is watching and waiting for European leadership on this issue.”

On Monday, French Prime Minister François Fillon said France would not hesitate to withdraw from the conference “if Israel is again stigmatized.”

France is reportedly seeking a common EU position on the issue with its partners.