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Durban III Set for New York City in September 2011

12:30 PM, Nov 2, 2010 • By ANNE BAYEFSKY
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The role of “civil” society in Durban I is best remembered for producing out-of-control NGO mobs. These gangs broke into the one NGO session on combating anti-Semitism, forcing it to end. After threats of violence, they necessitated the closure of the Durban Jewish Community Center, which had been the meeting place for Jewish NGOs attending the conference. They disrupted a press conference of Jewish NGOs who were seeking to raise alarm bells. They required Jewish representatives from all over the world to flee the final session with a police escort because their safety couldn’t be guaranteed if they remained. In the end, the alleged “anti-racism” NGO community deleted from their declaration multiple references to combating anti-Semitism and added that the self-determination of the Jewish people, or Zionism, was a form of racism.

The conclusions of October’s intergovernmental working group appear to be setting the stage for another NGO debacle. They read: “The Working Group…invites…NGOs to participate fully in the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the DDPA [and] invites…civil society…to organize various initiatives to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the DDPA with high visibility…”

In the next three weeks, the Obama administration will have to vote on the General Assembly resolution containing the “modalities” for September’s Durban III in New York City. The administration should not only vote no, but must also respond clearly and unequivocally to the following question. Does President Obama plan to attend Durban III, and will his administration take immediate steps to prevent the U.N.’s use of New York City as a vehicle to encourage anti-Semitism under the pretense of combating racism?

Anne Bayefsky is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust.

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