Salutes 35 Countries Declining Participation In U.N. Commemoration
(Washington, D.C., Sept. 24, 2021)--B’nai B’rith condemns the resolution adopted on the occasion of the “high-level meeting” of the United Nations General Assembly commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA). The DDPA, which was the official outcome document of the 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa—notorious for its scenes of shocking anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hate—singled out only Palestinians for mention as supposed victims of “racism,” by Israel.
The resolution predictably claimed that the DDPA offered “a comprehensive United Nations framework and solid foundation for combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance,” and reaffirmed commitment to its “full and effective implementation.”
After a year of advocacy by B’nai B’rith and others, we salute at least 35 countries that declined to participate in the Durban commemoration. They are Albania, Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Moldova, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uruguay. Additionally, Spain’s foreign minister informed B’nai B’rith that he too instructed his diplomats not to attend.
Most of the countries announced their non-participation in advance, citing Durban’s anti-Jewish bigotry. This public disassociation by a substantial moral minority at the U.N. represents a meaningful victory against efforts to hijack the world body and the critical fight against racism—specifically racism against people of African descent—for the purposes of delegitimizing Israel by obscenely equating only it and Jews’ national liberation movement, Zionism, with racism.
Over recent weeks, B’nai B’rith has organized televised programming in partnership with the Jewish Broadcasting Service (JBS) on Durban, anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism featuring luminaries including onetime Soviet prisoner of conscience Natan Sharansky, New York Times columnist Bret Stephens, former United States national security advisor John Bolton, former Maldivian foreign minister Ahmed Shaheed, Canadian human rights icon Irwin Cotler, British Baroness Ruth Deech and French public intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévy.
The series—with a special message by B’nai B’rith President Charles O. Kaufman, and moderation by our CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin and Director of U.N. and Intercommunal Affairs David Michaels--culminated in an hourlong interview Sept. 22, at the conclusion of the U.N. Durban commemoration, with B’nai B’rith Honorary President Richard D. Heideman, who led the Jewish delegation at Durban, and his wife, International March of the Living President Phyllis G. Heideman.
B’nai B’rith mobilized the largest Jewish delegation at the 2001 conference and at the 2009 Durban Review Conference.
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit www.bnaibrith.org.