Miliband should boycott Durban, says Grunwald

April 20, 2009
Henry Grunwald

Henry Grunwald

The President of the Board of Deputies, Henry Grunwald, has asked Foreign Secretary David Miliband to pull out of the Durban Review Conference after it was announced that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will address the United Nations conference against racism, which began today in Geneva.

Speaking at the end of Sunday’s Yom HaShoah ceremony in Euston, under the auspices of the Board and Yad Vashem UK, he said he had spoken to Mr Miliband on Friday and asked that he refuse to attend:

“As yet I’ve heard no decision,” said Mr Grunwald.

Addressing the 500-strong crowd at London University’s Logan Hall, he said that “for a conference such as this (Durban) to be addressed by the president of Iran is almost a contradiction in terms.

“Bearing in mind his track record we fear a repetition of Durban in 2001 (when Israel and the United States walked out amid charges it had become a forum for antisemitism),” added Mr Grunwald.

Dubbed Durban II, the conference is a follow-up to the World Conference Against Racism which was held in Durban, South Africa in 2001.

President Ahmadinejad has sparked outrage for repeatedly calling the Holocaust a "myth" and for his anti-Israel comments.

Last updated: 10:33am, April 20 2009