Leaders of the European Jewish Congress have asked Wednesday the Czech presidency of the European Union to take a “very strong stance” against the upcoming Geneva UN conference on racism.
During a meeting in Prague with Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek and Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Alexander Vondra, the delegation led by EJC president Moshe Kantor, said the EU should take into account the recent US decision to disengage from the conference and try to harness other EU states to disengage from the process.
The conference is scheduled from April 20-24 at the UN headquarters in Geneva.
“This is a chance to make the voice of the EU heard on racism and fundamental human rights issues,” Kantor said.
He brought to the attention of the Czech leaders the problematic agenda for the upcoming UN Durban Review Conference also dubbed ‘Durban II’.
“The Draft Outcome Document is already filled with language that crosses the EU “red lines”, especially in regards to Holocaust remembrance, anti-Semitism and freedom of expression,” Kantor said, referring to the ‘red lines’ that were set by French President Nicolas Sarkozy during the recent French Presidency of the EU.
The inaugural UN racism conference, held in the South African city of Durban in September 2001, saw a walk-out by Israel and US delegates in protest against a bid by Arab nations to adopt a resolution that equates Zionism with racism.
After Israel and Canada had earlier indicated they would boycott this year’s gathering, the US announced last week they will not participate in the conference.
The EJC, which is a representative body for Jewish communities in Europe, ainvited Michael Kocab, Czech Minister for Human Rights, to participate in a one-day symposium “building together the future of Europe” that the Jewish body will host on March 30 in partnership with the European Commission and the European Parliament.
The symposium, will deal with anti-Semitism and intercultural dialogue in the EU, the EJC will seek to make concrete proposals on combating anti-Semitism in Europe.
Alexander Vondra promised to provide the Czech’s EU presidency as patronage to the symposium.