Jewish groups demand UK boycotts Durban IV

British Jewish groups and campaigners have intensified calls on the Prime Minister to boycott the 20th anniversary of the UN's notoriously antisemitic Durban conference


Jewish groups have intensified calls on the Prime Minister to boycott the 20th anniversary of the notoriously antisemitic Durban conference at a time of rising Jew-hatred in Britain.

Tweeting under the hashtags #NoUKAtDurbanIV and #Durban IVTargetsJews, the Zionist Federation (ZF), Likud-Herut UK and Sussex Friends of Israel joined the Board of Deputies (BOD) and the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) to demand that Britain pulls out of the "Jew hate fest".

"Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab, don't betray UK Jewry," the ZF tweeted. "By pulling out of Durban IV, Boris Johnson will be placing the UK on the right side of history."

Lekud-Herut UK added: "Do the right thing and pull out of the Jew hate fest." And anti-racism campaigner David Collier tweeted: "Why is the UK promoting Jew hate? Get out now!"

They acted in advance of a planning meeting for Durban IV, scheduled for Wednesday, in which Government representatives are expected to take part.

The campaign groups warn that a planned revival of the UN’s infamously antisemitic 2001 ‘anti-racism’ summit in Durban, South Africa, set to take place in New York this September, may legitimise anti-Jewish bigotry on a global scale.

If Britain takes part, they say, it would risk fuelling a fresh wave of race hatred in this country, which has seen a rash of antisemitic incidents linked to recent pro-Palestine rallies. 

Twenty years ago, the UN-hosted World Conference Against Racism resulted in the now notorious Durban Declaration, which singled Israel out for criticism.  

Israeli and Jewish delegates were hounded and harassed, and antisemitic material was widely distributed.

Those who attended the 2001 conference have likened the anti-Jewish hysteria on display to “1930’s Germany”.

At the forum, the Arab Lawyers Union distributed caricatures of Jews with hooked noses, fangs dripping with blood, and clutching money. 

Jewish human rights activists were intimidated and threatened as protestors screamed: “You don’t belong to the human race!” 

In a Palestinian-led march demonstrators carried anti-Israel and antisemitic placards. One read: ‘Hitler Should Have Finished the Job’.

Protesters also distributed antisemitic material including the notorious anti-Jewish tract The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. 

The US and Israel walked out in protest and boycotted a second Durban conference, held in 2009. Seven other countries also boycotted the revival, including Canada, Australia and Italy.

The British Government joined the boycott of Durban III, held in 2011. Then-Prime Minister David Cameron said that the 2001 event had provoked “open displays of unpleasant and deplorable antisemitism”.

The US, Canada and Australia are all boycotting Durban IV. But the Government’s decision to participate has provoked fear among the British Jewish community. 

Hashtags of #NoUKAtDurbanIV and #DurbanIVTargetsJews were yesterday gaining traction on Twitter, urging the Government to pull out. 

Anti-racism campaigner and investigative journalist David Collier tweeted: “The UK must not participate in the antisemitic Durban IV conference. It is state-sponsored Jew hate.”

Another tweeter slammed Durban as a “disgusting racist hate fest”.

The Board of Deputies (BOD) and the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) have also written to the Government calling for it to boycott the commemoration.   

In their joint letter, JLC co-CEO, Claudia Mendoza, and Board of Deputies interim-CEO, Michael Wegier, said Britain should not “dignify this year’s commemoration with its attendance”.

They condemned Durban as a “hostile showcase for antisemitism” and said boycotting Durban IV would be “a signal that the Government takes a firm stand against anti-Jewish racism”.

The letter added: “The event due to take place later this year is the latest in this series of events based on a legacy of open antisemitism.

“This one-day event is not a serious attempt to defeat racism internationally but a commemoration of a supposedly anti-racism conference which was itself antisemitic.”

Asian nations, meeting in Tehran before the 2001 conference in Durban, signed a text accusing Israel of a “new kind of apartheid”.

PLO chairman Yasser Arafat told delegates of the “ugliness” of “Israeli racist policies and practices against the Palestinian people”.

Cuba’s communist leader, Fidel Castro, spoke of “the dreadful genocide perpetrated, at this very moment, against our Palestinian brothers.”

The UN sponsored a parallel NGO Forum, where non-governmental organizations formally declared Israel a “racist apartheid state” that was guilty of “genocide”. 

Minutes from a series of behind closed doors meetings, being held by the General Assembly to plan the event, revealed that its aims included the “full and effective implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action”.

This would be adopted by the General Assembly at the opening plenary meeting in September. 

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said the UK would not “support any partisan or political attacks on Israel.”

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