The UN Third International Conference on Racism

"The World Conference will be a unique and important opportunity to create a new world vision for the fight against racism and racial discrimination in the new millennium. In order to have a real impact, the Conference should not only promote greater awareness concerning the scourge of racism, but also lead to decisive action at the national, regional and international levels in order to help those who suffer on daily basis from racism and racial discrimination"


For a full outline of the conference's aims see:


The Situation

Despite praiseworthy intentions, the UN Third International Conference on Racism became a circus for anti-Israel and often AntiSemitic statements. The conference was hijacked by those not interested in fighting Racism or racial discrimination, resolved to dominate it with their particular agenda. Israel was delegitimized and Zionism, the national movement of the Jewish People, was outcast.
Never, in recent times, has there been such a vicious attack on Israel and the Jewish people.

43 countries, including all 15 EU states, Canada, Russia, South Africa and India, objected to the content and format of the proposed closing resolution, and the US went even further. Following the US decision to pull out of the Conference, Israel also decided to vacate the arena.

Eventually, the worst possible scenario was averted and the concluding resolution did not contain allegations that Israel is a racist or apartheid state. However, the situation had been brewing for over six months, contributing to new waves of Antisemitism in Europe and on North American campuses. Morever, it seems set to continue after Durban.

The Need for Response

To experienced observers, this is easily identified as a massive re-run of the old Zionism=Racism libel, in new formats and under a broader coalition. Official Israeli organs therefore decided to take a cautious stand ahead of the Durban Conference, engaging diplomatic forces worldwide in the effort to change the disturbing alignment against Israel's legitimacy as the Jewish state. The seriousness of the events brings into question the closeness of this call in what is supposedly a tolerant and liberal age, the role of the UN and its affiliated agencies, and the overall requirement for operative ideas to combat Antisemitism in different formats and forums.

In this unit, we bring an overview of what has been happening, with built-in resources, hands-on activities, training suggestions and links. While they do focus on the events at Durban and the context around them, they are intended to be equally useful in the longer term.





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15 Mar 2007 / 25 Adar II 5767 0