Wednesday, December 17, 2008

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder: 'UN Anti-Racism Conference Must Not Become Another Platform for Spreading Anti-Semitism'

PP Note: Guess the real question is what stance Barack Obama will take? Will this conference be a repeat of the last one where the U.S. walked out? Or will Hillary be happy to sit there with a smile on her face courtesy of her new boss?

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The president of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), Ronald S. Lauder, has praised the minister of foreign affairs of the Netherlands, Maxime Verhagen, for making a clear statement regarding an upcoming United Nations conference on combating racism.

In an interview with Dutch radio, Verhagen had said that his government might boycott a United Nations anti-racism conference in Geneva in April 2009 unless anti-Israel statements are removed from official draft documents. "It seems like the sole intention is to criticize Israel and condemn the West for slavery and its colonial history," Minister Verhagen had said, warning of a repeat of the first UN anti-racism conference in Durban, South Africa, in 2001, which degenerated into an anti-Semitic and anti-Israel debacle.

WJC President Ronald S. Lauder said: "We appreciate the Dutch government's principled stance, and we hope that other democratic countries will take this as an example and make their voice heard as well. The United Nations anti-racism conference must not become yet another platform for spreading anti-Semitism and unfairly singling out Israel for criticism. Sixty years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is high time that the UN live up to its own founding principles!"

Lauder pointed out that any imbalanced conclusion of the UN conference would render the final declaration meaningless and reflect badly on the UN's ability to fulfill the purpose of the Geneva forum. "Avoiding a repeat of Durban I is a crucial litmus test for the UN and its member states," the WJC president said, adding that the World Jewish Congress would continue to lobby governments on this issue.

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