France Boycotts UN's "Durban III:" Conference Leader Commends Move in Advance of Palestinian Statehood Power Play

Sep 18, 2011, 00:33 ET from Hudson Institute

NEW YORK, Sept. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The chair of a key conference countering the UN's upcoming "anti-racism" gathering Thursday praises France for becoming the latest of a string of Western powers to boycott the world body's so-called "Durban III" event.

Anne Bayefsky, also a Senior Fellow of Hudson Institute and professor at Touro College, notes that France's exit now means that all three Western powers of the UN Security Council's five permanent members have declared they will play no part in the event, which the 193-member UN General Assembly will host.  The commemoration marks the 10th anniversary of the World Conference on Racism in Durban in 2001, which Western governments and human rights groups deemed anti-Semitic and anti-West.

"France is to be commended for boycotting Durban III, the UN's racist 'anti-racism' conference," said Bayefsky, who will preside Thursday at the day-long Durban III "antidote" conference titled, "The Perils of Global Intolerance: The United Nations and Durban III."

"With all western members of the UN Security Council's 'permanent five' having withdrawn, it is clear that the real forces behind Durban III are not only anti-Israel, but also anti-West and anti-human rights." 

Of the other Security Council permanent members, the United States and the United Kingdom are to boycott the commemoration, while Russia and China are expected to attend.

"This was always an attack on first principles – the UN Charter and everything the UN is supposed to stand for,"  Bayefsky added.  "The modern face of anti-Semitism as an attack on the Jewish state now stands exposed."

Headline speakers at the "Perils of Global Intolerance" conference will include former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former U.S. ambassador to the UN John Bolton, and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel.

Several of the speakers are expected to highlight the proximity of the Durban III gathering – and its anticipated anti-Semitic overtones – to the speech the following day of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.  Abbas has pledged to seek international recognition of Palestinian statehood this week by applying for UN membership for a state of Palestine – a move that the United States and others say could seriously undermine hopes of producing a peaceful settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

"It's clear that this is intended to be a one-two punch: You label Israel racist at Durban III, and then the next day you say you don't have to negotiate with it," Bayefsky said.

The "Perils of Global Intolerance" conference will take place Thursday September 22, 2011 at the Millennium UN Plaza Hotel in New York. That's also the same day that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is scheduled to address the UN General Assembly – presenting journalists covering his speech with an opportunity to seek immediate reaction from the conference's speakers.

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SOURCE Hudson Institute