Wiesenthal Centre Laments UNESCO Board Decision on Palestinian Membership

Wiesenthal Centre Deplores Outrage Launched at Durban III: “To Insist On Recognition Of a Jewish State Is An Act Of Racism”

New York, 24 September, 2011

The Wiesenthal Centre delegation to the UN Durban III so-called “anti-racism” conference – Dr. Shimon Samuels (Director for International Relations) and Sergio Widder (Director for Latin America) – strongly protested the Lebanese and Syrian Foreign Ministers’ statements, which charged the very concept of “a Jewish State” as “an act of racism”.

Israel-bashing went serial as the delegates of Iran, Tunisia, Egypt, Cuba and Ecuador calumnied its “racist apartheid crimes” and “its manipulation of the international community in forcing Zionism-controlled States to boycott this Durban conference”, described Samuels

UN Human Rights High Commissioner, Navy Pillay, in opening the gathering, listed all “victim groups of the anti-discrimination agenda”, except for one.The litany of racism and targets, from African migrants to indigenous peoples, from Roma Gypsies to trafficked slaves, was read out by Sudan, by the Chair of CERD (the UN Committee
for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination) and by the Expert on the Implementation of the Durban Program and Plan of Action (DPPA).

“Reference to ‘antisemitism’ was strikingly absent, as, for the UN, apparently Jews are no longer to be included among the vulnerable”, noted Widder.

True, Sudan spoke for the African group without mentioning Ruandan Tutsis of the ethnic cleansing of Darfuris or Southern Sudanese by his own government.

The brotherhood of human rights violators provided a backdrop for Ahmadinejad and the Palestine vote bargaining in the adjoining hall.

Minus the few Western democracies that have absented themselves, the concluding Resolution A/66/L2, was endorsed by acclamation.In reaffirming the 2001 DDPA, the UN had now revalidated its original clauses that cast Zionism as “racism” and Israel as an “apartheid State”.

Only ten non-governmental organizations were permitted to speak at two round-tables. Other groups grumbled at the arguably covert manner in which they had been allegedly selected – according to Geneva UN sources, by General Assembly President, the Ambassador of Qatar Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser.

The two participating Jewish organizations were accredited to the main hall for the conference Opening and Close, but were relegated to an overflow room to watch the round-tables on a television screen.“Durban III’s fresh contribution to the fight against racism was to expose the betrayed hope of the Arab Spring.Sadly, Israel remains a
scapegoat to cover-up continuing domestic oppression and the State’s very Jewish identity is now maligned as an act of racism.

In sum, the Durban process is a contributing factor to the Middle East conflict and to antisemitism. The third Durban must be its last”, concluded Samuels and Widder

.For further information, please contact Dr. Shimon Samuels at +1 410 6036004 or Sergio Widder at +1 917 6785942.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400.000 members. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the OAS and the Latin American Parliament.