U.S. to boycott global racism conference over anti-Semitic history
June 1st, 2011
09:15 PM ET
12 years ago

U.S. to boycott global racism conference over anti-Semitic history

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Obama administration is boycotting the 10-year commemoration of a global conference to combat racism because previous meetings have included what it called "ugly displays of intolerance and anti-Semitism."

The first conference, which took place in 2001 in Durban, South Africa, focused in large measure on Israel's treatment of Palestinians. Delegates produced a draft resolution at the conference that equated Zionism with racism.

The U.S and more than a half-dozen other nations boycotted a subsequent U.N. conference on combating racism held in Geneva in April 2009 over concerns about the treatment of Israel. European delegates at the conference walked out of the conference after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad railed against Israel during his speech, calling it a "repressive, racist regime."

In a letter to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, Acting Assistant Secretary of State Joseph E. Macmanus said the U.S. would boycott the conference. He wrote that the Obama administration had voted against the United Nations resolution establishing the meeting because earlier events "included ugly displays of intolerance and anti-Semitism and we did not want to see that commemorated."

In a speech to the AIPAC, the main pro-Israel lobby, President Barack Obama promised “efforts to chip away at Israel’s legitimacy will only be met by the unshakeable opposition of the United States.”

"I commend the Obama administration decision to withdraw from this event," Gillibrand said in a statement. "It is an insult to America that the United Nations has decided to hold the Durban III conference in New York City just days from the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks."

The meeting is to be held on September 21 on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.

soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. jewnazi

    Israel is doing a better job that the third reich at ethnic cleansing.

    June 1, 2011 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  2. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The problem is that Jews are still hated by many groups. Some Arabs seem to revel in their hatred of Jews and the West to lesser (not much) degree. Many of the other countries in the Middle East don't like that there is a democratic state that works in their area.

    When Israel is compared to any of the nearby countries in terms of how it treats their own citzens, there is none that comes close to the level of freedom that Israel grants its citizens. They can protest and have their complaints heard in court. The courts in Israel have told the military to stop doing somethings and the military has complied. There isn't one Arab or majority Muslim country in the Middle East that comes close to that.

    June 1, 2011 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  3. Clwyd

    Another feather in Obama's cap for leadership!

    June 1, 2011 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  4. Larry L

    America needs to set the standard for the rest of the world to follow. We also need to look into our own hearts and attack the racism and bigotry that dwells within each of us. We can be the beacon guiding others to a better world, but we must deal with our own demons. Our President is an outstanding symbol and role model.

    June 1, 2011 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    I guess Obama is going to hide his anti-semitism for a few years longer...

    June 1, 2011 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  6. kat

    This man, if you can call him that is such an idiot. What did the American people ever see in him to elect such an incompetent person to lead our country? Help us if he wins in 2012!

    June 2, 2011 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  7. Thinker23

    It is indeed an insult to the United States to hold this display of anti-Jewish racism in New York City. It is an insult to the entire world to call it an "anti-racist conference". Nothing new here, however. As recently as 1970s the Soviet Union referred to itself as "the most democratic country on the planet" while the UN delegates applauded...

    June 2, 2011 06:57 am at 6:57 am |