Wednesday, 4 March 2009

France will not boycott Durban II

So far, no European country - although expressing grave concerns - has, unlike the US, Canada and Israel, decided to boycott the "Durban II" UN conference.

A French optimistic "if"

The French PM indicated that "if Israel is again stigmatized", France will withdraw.

The conference draft outcome document that has prompted the US not to attend has had no such effect on the French Government : "Sadly, however, the document being negotiated has gone from bad to worse, and the current text of the draft outcome document is not salvageable. As a result, the United States will not engage in further negotiations on this text, nor will we participate in a conference based on this text. A conference based on this text would be a missed opportunity to speak clearly about the persistent problem of racism." (US Department of State declaration)

Source: EJP

"French Prime Minister François Fillon said France would not hesitate to withdraw from the upcoming United Nations conference on racism in Geneva if Israel is again stigmatized.

Speaking at the annual dinner of CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jewish secular organizations, Fillon said: "I know that you have legitimate concerns regarding this conference."

"We will not accept that the state of Israel is stigmatized and that its policy is calumniated," he said.

"We will not hesitate to draw conclusions, in coordination with our European partners, and if necessary to withdraw from the conference," he added.

The Geneva conference, also dubbed "Durban II", will be held 20-24 April in the Swiss city. The conference was first held in Durban in 2001. Israel and the United States walked out on the fourth day of the conference in protest against attempts by Arab nations to adopt a resolution attacking Israel and equating Zionism with racism.

The US has decided last week against taking part in "Durban II". Israel and Canada are also boycotting the event.

Prior to Fillon's speech, Richard Prasquier, head of CRIF, called on France not to make any compromise on the "red lines" in Geneva. "Don’t let Iran, Libya and Cuba define what human rights should be," he said in his address.

According to Jean-David Levitte, diplomatic adviser to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who attended Monday's dinner, France is currently concerting with its EU partners in order to find a common position on the conference. "We hope that we will be able to adopt a European position," he told EJP.
On Feb. 27, 2008, a petition was sent to the French newspaper Le Monde, signed by such prominent figures as Alan Finkielkraut, Claude Lanzmann and Elie Wiesel:

"At Durban, in South Africa, the global conference against racism was held under the auspices of the United Nations, in the very city where Gandhi began his career as a lawyer. It is in the name of human rights that "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" was chanted; and it is in the name of cultural relativism that there was silence on the discrimination and violence committed against women.

The great political crimes have always needed words to lend themselves legitimacy. Words presage action. From Mein Kampf ... to Stalin to Pol Pot, examples abound that justify the necessary extermination of the people’s enemy in the name of a race, in the name of the workers’ emancipation or in the name of some divine spiritual order. Totalitarian ideologues have replaced religions. … On September 11, 2001, several days after the Durban conference, it was in God’s name that the worst terrorist crime in history was committed.

Either democracies get their act together, following Canada's example, who just announced its refusal to participate in Durban II, recognizing that it risked being "marked by expressions of intolerance and anti-Semitism," and cease to abstain from or vote for resolutions contrary to the universal ideal of 1948, or religious obscurantism and its trail of political crimes will triumph under the good auspices of the United Nations. And when the hateful words are transformed into acts, nobody will be able to say: "We didn’t know.""

Hitler hand-out at the NGO forum at Durban I


SnoopyTheGoon said...

"Either democracies get their act together..."

Wishful thinking, I am afraid.

Karl said...

Hey, according to Tundra Tabloids Sweden isn't going either!