Durban Conference


Durban Conference
   The third World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance (WCAR) and the associated conference of nongovernmental organizations and other human rights activists that convened in Durban, South Africa, from 31 August to 7 September 2001 marked perhaps the nadir in Israel's historically tenuous relationship with the United Nations (UN). The laudable goals of the WCAR were undermined and delegitimized as the conference was hijacked by those countries and other nongovernmental actors interested in promoting a narrow anti-Israel and anti-Semitic agenda. Concern about the discriminatory and unconstructive nature of the proceedings led the United States to join Israel in walking out and then boycotting the conference. In the end, the Middle East provisions of the final conference communique were somewhat less shrill and defamatory toward Israel than initially anticipated. This being said, in the minds of most observers, the very fact that senior UN officials, including the influential UN high commissioner for human rights, allowed an important conference on international human rights to become derailed and transformed into a vehicle for delegitimizing Israel and dehumanizing the Jewish people marked a serious deterioration not only in Israel's relationship with the UN but also in the world body's credibility as a peacemaker.
   See also Zionism.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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