At Israel’s prodding, record 31 nations to boycott Durban conference anniversary

September 22, 2021

Envoy says dozens of countries will shun this year’s anti-racism conference at UN after past antisemitism; Bennett to make debut address at General Assembly next week

By TOI STAFF
Thirty-one nations will boycott a UN meeting marking the 20th anniversary of the Durban World Conference on Racism — also known as Durban IV — on Wednesday, over concerns that it will veer into open antisemitism as it has in the past.
The first Durban conference — held from August 31 to September 8, 2001, just days before the terror attacks of September 11 — was marked by deep divisions on the issues of antisemitism, colonialism and slavery. The US and Israel walked out of the conference in protest at the tone of the meeting, including over plans to include condemnations of Zionism in the final text.
At the 2009 conference, a speech by Iran’s then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attacking Israel sparked a temporary walkout by many European delegates.
Thirty-one nations will boycott a UN meeting marking the 20th anniversary of the Durban World Conference on Racism — also known as Durban IV — on Wednesday, over concerns that it will veer into open antisemitism as it has in the past.
The first Durban conference — held from August 31 to September 8, 2001, just days before the terror attacks of September 11 — was marked by deep divisions on the issues of antisemitism, colonialism and slavery. The US and Israel walked out of the conference in protest at the tone of the meeting, including over plans to include condemnations of Zionism in the final text.
At the 2009 conference, a speech by Iran’s then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attacking Israel sparked a temporary walkout by many European delegates.
This year, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan said Friday, a record 31 countries will be skipping the event, over double the amount that have done so in the past.
“In recent months I have worked for the world to understand that the Durban Conference was fundamentally rotten,” he said in a Monday tweet. “I’m glad many more understand this today.”
The United States, Canada, the UK, Australia, and France are among some of the key nations set to boycott this year’s meeting.

Vaccines, climate, nuclear deal on General Assembly agenda

The highlight of the UN General Assembly, during which world leaders and other top officials deliver addresses from the marble-backed podium, begins on Tuesday in New York and will see a mixture of in-person speeches and pre-recorded video messages sent from around the world.
This year’s event and is markedly different from last year’s, which was conducted mostly online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to the speeches by world leaders, the General Assembly usually also has hundreds of side events, but only a limited number are being held this year, mainly virtually or outside UN headquarters.
These include events on vaccines, on children as invisible victims of the coronavirus and conflict, on multilateralism and democracy, and on global hotspots including Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Additionally, the UN Security Council will hold a high-level meeting Wednesday on climate and security.
Afghanistan and other major global challenges are expected to be on the agenda, including the lack of progress on the United States rejoining the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Iran’s new foreign minister, Hossain Amir Abdollahian, will be in New York and there is speculation that he may meet with the five countries that remain part of the deal — Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.
There are also high-level meetings on energy and the nuclear test ban treaty, and a summit on the connected system of producing, processing, distributing and consuming food, which according to the UN contributes an estimated one-third of greenhouse gas emissions.
Thirty-one nations will boycott a UN meeting marking the 20th anniversary of the Durban World Conference on Racism — also known as Durban IV — on Wednesday, over concerns that it will veer into open antisemitism as it has in the past.
The first Durban conference — held from August 31 to September 8, 2001, just days before the terror attacks of September 11 — was marked by deep divisions on the issues of antisemitism, colonialism and slavery. The US and Israel walked out of the conference in protest at the tone of the meeting, including over plans to include condemnations of Zionism in the final text.
At the 2009 conference, a speech by Iran’s then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attacking Israel sparked a temporary walkout by many European delegates.
This year, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan said Friday, a record 31 countries will be skipping the event, over double the amount that have done so in the past.
“In recent months I have worked for the world to understand that the Durban Conference was fundamentally rotten,” he said in a Monday tweet. “I’m glad many more understand this today.”
France are among some of the key nations set to boycott this year’s meeting.

Bennett’s debut

According to a provisional list of speakers for the General Debate, US president Joe Biden will speak on Tuesday morning, in America’s traditional slot as the second speaker of the General Debate.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will be another one of at least 83 world leaders who plan on attending in person, according to Turkish diplomat Volkan Bozkir, president of last year’s gathering. Twenty-six leaders applied to speak remotely, Bozkir said earlier this month. Bennett will address the gathering on Monday, September 27.
In his address, Bennett will speak about Israel’s national security and regional issues, according to his office. His remarks will likely focus on Iran’s nuclear program and its support for armed proxy groups.
Bennett’s predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, was known for making headlines with his speeches on the Iranian nuclear threat at the UN General Assembly, often using cardboard graphics and other props to get his point across.
Israel’s regional partners will also be represented, according to the provisional list. Egypt and Jordan will send their heads of state, while the foreign ministers of Israel’s new Gulf allies Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, will speak.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and new Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi are both sending prerecorded addresses to be broadcast at the event.
https://www.timesofisrael.com/at-israels-prodding-record-31-nations-to-boycott-durban-conference-anniversary/

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Every Day during the Corona crisis our Advisory Board Member Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs (NL) writes a diary, on request of the Jewish Cultural Quarter in Amsterdam, which is published on the website of the NIW, the only Jewish Dutch Magazine. Rabbi Jacobs is the head of Inter Governmental Relationships at the Rabbinical Centre of Europe. We will be regularly publishing a selection of his informative, sometimes light hearted, but always wise pieces.
 
For our Dutch readers you can follow the diary every day at NIW home page: https://niw.nl
 
It was another week of sorting through my stuffed inbox. A nice surprising was the initiative of an unknown person who only has a Jewish father. He wants to set up a website entitled: “ask the rabbi”.
 
I thought it was nice that someone who is therefore according to Halachah non-Jewish approached me to do this. So, I immediately made contact and agreed to participate.
 
The intention is that people ask their question online and that the administrator, him in this case, then forwards the questions to one of the participating rabbis. It seems sensible to me that some sort of pre-selection takes place, but although he thought the questions would be limited to questions about knowledge, I expect many more requests for help.
 
A request for help is very difficult to answer in writing. And so my proposal is that the rabbi call the questioner from an unnamed number. Experience has taught me that most of the questions that come to me are dressed up in a simple factual question, but that behind that simple question lies a much deeper question or problem. I cannot perceive this problem if the question is asked in writing.
 
And so the webmaster gets to work and looks at how we can separate the wheat from the chaff, but at the same time not throw the baby away with the bath water. I’m curious! So although I got up too late, because I went to bed much too late, my working day became too short. Especially because I had to come to Veldhoven to take part in an Israeli broadcast debating anti-Semitism and the question of how politics deals with Israel. And that was, despite first glance, fun.
 
I had brought to my friend Louk de Liever a bottle of Israeli wine specially from Judea and Samaria, which has been bombarded by the anti-Jewish lobby into a so-called ‘occupied area’ and these products must be provided with a label on which the origin can be recognised. So, product of Israel is of course out of the question, but also coming from Judea and Samaria is not accepted. It should read product from “occupied territory”. And while I had just returned from the city centre of Amersfoort, where Louk lives, after my walk, I see a message that in Dubai products from the so-called “occupied territories” may be sold without a label because they support the Palestinian economy. I am curious if the United Nations will now pass a resolution against the United Arab Emirates and I am even more curious how our Ministry of Foreign Affairs will respond.
 
Are they now sending a number of employees to fine the Chamber of Commerce in Dubai, as they did a few months ago to Nijkerk? Making sure that animal suffering in the slaughterhouses was limited, there was not enough staff available for that, but those few bottles of delicious Israeli wine from the “occupied territories” apparently had enough time and staff and that was really much more important than unnecessary animal suffering…But even if that reporting isn’t correct yet, it doesn’t matter. Because in politics, today’s truth can be tomorrow’s lie, or vice versa!
At 6:00 PM left for Veldhoven, near Eindhoven, for the Israel evening. It started at 8:00 PM and lasted until 9:15 PM. What a great program, what energy the SGP has put into this.
 
What pro-Israel warmth. And how grateful I am that I was able to participate in this. The background was a large photo of Jerusalem with the burning menorah in front of it. Perfect music, live interview with someone from Israel and someone else from Iraq. It was amazing.
 
But of course I had to think about what to say. It takes energy, but thank G-d I have that. At 11:15 PM I was home, floored. Wrote the diary and had another conversation with a political person to try to get a visa for a father who lives in Israel, is divorced and wants to visit his two small children, who live with his ex in the Netherlands. Problem: Visa is not granted due to corona. The political insider will see what he can do. And now, my faithful diary readers , if you don’t know what to do with your time for an hour and fifteen minutes, click on this link: https://youtu.be/NYJQaIjQIt8. Enjoy our friends of Israel, because we really have them!
 

German Football Association president urged to resign after Nazi remark

The remark triggered a storm of criticism and Keller has since apologized

German Football Association (DFB) president Fritz Keller faced calls to resign on Sunday after he sparked outrage by comparing his deputy to a Nazi judge.

Presidents of the DFB's regional associations, which run Germany's semi-professional and amateur leagues, announced after weekend crisis talks that Keller had lost a vote of confidence and has been "asked to step down from his position."

DFB general secretary Friedrich Curtius was likewise asked to vacate his role after losing a confidence vote.

The turmoil comes after Keller in a recent meeting likened DFB vice-president Rainer Koch to Roland Freisler, the infamous head of the Nazi party's court in the 1940s.

Freisler was also a participant at 1942's Wannsee Conference, where it was decided that 11 million Jews should be exterminated.

The remark triggered a storm of criticism and Keller has since apologized to Koch, acknowledging that his words were "totally inappropriate, notably towards the victims of Nazism."

Keller ruled out stepping down over the incident, however. Koch has not said that he has accepted the apology.

In a statement, the leaders of the DFB's five regional and 21 state associations called Keller's Nazi reference "completely unacceptable" and said they condemned it "in the strongest possible terms."

"The president's comments are incompatible with the principles and values of the associations," they added.

According to the statement, Keller and Curtius have asked for time to consider the resignation requests.

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