Despite the disappointing outcome of the DRC, Israel expresses its satisfaction that accusations and incitement directed against it in the original drafts were omitted from the Concluding Statement.
(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
The State of Israel regrets that the Durban Review Conference, whose declared purpose was to address prejudice, a scourge afflicting millions around the world, was exploited to focus instead on a specific conflict that is exclusively political in nature.
Not surprisingly, the only national leader who chose to participate in the Conference was Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, who stands out among Holocaust deniers in the world, and who delivered a vitriolic hate speech at the Conference. Already in the planning stages of the Durban Review Conference, statements were made by Iranian and Syrian representatives belittling the Holocaust. Iran, Syria, and Libya were the countries that played a prominent role during the preparations for the Durban Review Conference and during the deliberations at the Conference itself.
In the preparatory documents for the Durban Review Conference, systematic attacks were made against Israel, libeling it with absurd charges of racism, apartheid, and genocide. No other country was singled out. This gross injustice was due to the preparatory committee’s politicization and hijacking by the worst human rights offenders in the world.
During the deliberations at the Durban Review Conference itself, the Iranian delegate rudely and repeatedly interrupted the representatives of the Jewish organizations, attacked the Conference President for his moderation in conducting the deliberations, and demanded time and again that the Jewish organizations be punished when they spoke out against the massive human rights violations of the Iranian regime. This attitude at the Conference sadly reflected the Iranian regime’s brutal silencing of its critics at home.
Despite the disappointing outcome of the DRC, Israel expresses its satisfaction that accusations and incitement directed against it in the original drafts were omitted from the Concluding Statement. However, the Statement most regrettably reaffirms the flawed DDPA of 2001, which Israel and other countries firmly oppose. Not surprisingly, Iran, Syria, and Libya were the countries that insisted on including in the first paragraph of the DRC’s Concluding Statement the reaffirmation of the DDPA (2001). By mentioning the Middle East conflict in a conference against racism, the DDPA twists the conflict’s political nature into an allegedly "racist" one. It also strongly implies the Palestinians are allegedly "victims of racism" by referring to them under the chapter of "Victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance."
The flaws of the Durban Review Conference brought about the active opposition and the principled withdrawal of many countries. Prominent in safeguarding human rights in their territory, these countries understood that the DRC would become a platform for incitement, and they, therefore, chose not to be a part of it. Thus, they rejected the attempts of a number of extremist states to manipulate the conference and pervert its aims by dedicating it to the denigration of Israel.
The withdrawal of many countries and the fear of additional withdrawals led the organizers of the Conference to close the Concluding Statement already at the beginning of the DRC.
Israel’s consistent and principled position that it would not participate in the Durban Review Conference, together with the withdrawal of many other democratic countries, contributed to the improvements that were made in the Concluding Statement. It has also made the UN consider downscaling Durban-related events in the future, and keeping inflammatory discourse away from the concrete work that needs to be done in genuinely fighting racism. It became clear, both at "Durban 1" and "Durban 2" that many of the issues that came to dominate the debate had essentially nothing to do with a bona fide discussion on racism.
While the DRC was a failure, Israel is hopeful that, by exposing its strident flaws, a drastic improvement of the Durban process will take place.
The Jewish people has suffered for centuries from racism and xenophobia, persecution and genocide. Israel, as the state of the Jewish people, remains fully committed to the values of tolerance, democracy, and human rights. The necessary struggle against racism and xenophobia will always find in Israel a willing and ready partner.