NEW YORK, Sept. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC welcomes the French decision not to participate in the upcoming Durban 3 conference.
That commemoration, which marks the ill-fated World Conference on Racism in Durban in 2001, is slated to take place at the UN on September 22. Among the expected speakers is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has made a mockery of human rights, called for a world without Israel, and denied the Holocaust.
The French decision was just announced [translated from the original French by AJC]: "France recalls that the  conference gave rise to an unacceptable diversion from the principles and commitments in the battle against racism. For this reason, and as pointed out by several European Union partners, France will not participate in this event. France reaffirms its dedication to the universality of human rights and its determination to fight against racism. France is committed to the pursuit of collective efforts within the UN and other international settings to fight effectively against all forms of racism, antisemitism, xenophobia and racial discrimination."
France becomes the 13th nation – and ninth European Union member state – to withdraw from Durban 3. The others to date are: Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, United States and United Kingdom.
"We applaud the French decision," said AJC Executive Director David Harris. "Together with twelve other leading democratic nations that have said 'no' to Durban 3, it sends a powerful message that the Durban process, originally conceived to fight racism but hijacked by those intent on promoting hatred of Israel and Jews, most assuredly does not merit commemoration."
Harris added: "As British Prime Minister David Cameron so aptly said, 'Ten years ago, the World Conference on Racism [Durban I] saw open displays of unpleasant and deplorable antisemitism. It would be wrong to commemorate those displays. Indeed, they should be condemned. And that's why the UK will play no part in this conference.' We hope that other nations committed to the genuine struggle against racism, including antisemitism, will show similar principle, and join the distinguished roster of 13 nations that have opted to skip Durban 3."
SOURCE American Jewish Committee