Monday, March 2, 2009

World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder Welcomes U.S. Pullout of 'Shameful' UN Anti-Racism Conference

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The president of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), Ronald S. Lauder, warmly welcomed the decision by the U.S. Government to withdraw from the upcoming United Nations conference on anti-racism ("Durban II") in Geneva over concerns that it would become a repeat of the failed event held in Durban in September 2001. "Every day it becomes clearer that the Durban Review Conference is not about combating racism, but about promoting anti-Israel and anti-Semitic propaganda within the framework of the United Nations. The Obama administration and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton deserve praise for sending a strong warning signal to the UN. Unfortunately, the efforts by the U.S. administration to ameliorate this process have not succeeded," Lauder said.

He added: "This conference should not be attended by the governments of democratic countries because it undermines the very purpose of the UN and does great damage to this important institution." The WJC president expressed hope that other governments would also stay away from the Geneva conference. "We hope that EU and other countries will follow the lead of Canada, Israel, and the United States. It would be a travesty if the UN's anti-racism conference were to become a platform for propagating hatred and intolerance. No government should take part in such a shameful event," the WJC president said.

Lauder also pointed out that countries with abysmal human rights records were in the forefront of activities leading up to the Durban Review Conference. "Surely no good can result from a conference where countries such as Libya, Iran, Pakistan and Syria are dictating the agenda. The plights of the victims of true racism and discrimination are being ignored. Sudan is not condemned for the mass killings in Darfur, Iran has been given a pass for its cruel treatment of Bahais and other minorities, as well as its mass executions of students and dissidents. Pakistan is not being held accountable for introducing Sharia law in order to appease the Taliban. These and other countries are attempting to protect their extremist ideologies under the disguise of banning the 'defamation of religion' while at the same time refusing to condemn Holocaust denial," Ronald Lauder said, adding that "the World Jewish Congress will urge world leaders to not participate in the Durban Review Conference."

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