20 Apr 2009
The inflammatory incitement and by the Iranian President constitute clear proof that the conference’s agenda has been diverted from racism-related deliberations to an unabashed tirade against Israel.
The World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (Durban 2) opened on Monday, 20 April 2009, in Geneva. The opening address to the high-level session of the conference was made by the Iranian President, Mahmud Ahmedinejad.
The organizers of the event enabled a Holocaust denier, a ruler who has made a policy of persecuting the minorities in his own country, to open the conference. An address by such an individual stands in stark contradiction to the claims that this conference actually contributes to the struggle against racism. It is both symbolic and sad that this event is taking place on the eve of the Holocaust Memorial Day.
The blatant inconsistency between the declared goals of the conference and the spirit of the deliberations and the wording of the draft documents has not gone unnoticed by leading democracies, who feel a true commitment to the struggle against racism. These countries have decided to boycott the conference, and Israel once again expresses its appreciation to them. Israel also expresses its disappointment over those countries for whom the subject of racism is dear to their hearts, but have nevertheless decided to participate in the conference - even if most of these countries chose to send low level delegations.
The extremist and slanderous speech made by the Iranian President caused a mass, demonstrative walkout of those Western delegates not boycotting the conference, and loud heckling from the visitor’s gallery.
The offensive and inflammatory incitement and humiliating and intolerable appeal to racist hate by the Iranian President, which were expressed during the first hours of the conference, constitute clear proof, for those who still require it, that the conference’s agenda has been taken hostage and diverted from real and necessary racism-related deliberations - to an unabashed tirade against Israel.
Reactions to Durban 2 conference in Geneva
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:
"This evening, the State of Israel marks Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day. Six million of our brethren were massacred during the Holocaust. Sadly, not everyone learned the lesson. While we gather to honor their memory, in Switzerland there will assemble a conference allegedly aimed against racism. Its guest-of-honor is a racist Holocaust-denier who does not hide his intentions to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. I commend the countries that are boycotting this show of hatred. As opposed to those dark days, today a strong Jewish state stands to ensure the continued existence of the Jewish people in the face of this new anti-Semitism."
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman:
“Israel has decided to boycott the international conference supposedly promoting the struggle against racism, because it reached the regretful conclusion that instead of discussing issues regarding the international struggle against racism and xenophobia, the conference will once again serve as a platform to denigrate Israel and single it out for criticism. This was the case with the first Durban Conference in 2001, during which the real issues on the international agenda were ignored in favor of unfettered attacks against the State of Israel.
An international conference, in which Ahmadinejad - a racist known for his constant preaching of Israel's destruction - is not only invited to participate, but is welcomed as a central speaker, clearly demonstrates the forum's true goals and character. Israel cannot ignore the fact that the conference, which is hosting a serial Holocaust denier, is taking place precisely on the day in which Jewish people commemorate the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, murdered in Europe by Nazi Germany and its followers. The State of Israel expresses its gratitude to those countries who have already announced that they will boycott this conference of hypocrisy opening tomorrow in Geneva, and calls on other countries to follow their example.”
Video response to Durban 2
You can be anyone ( Download | Play | YouTube )
Human Musaic - short ( Download | Play | YouTube )
Human Musaic - long ( Download | Play | YouTube )