Austria joins Durban Conference boycott

Austria is the eighth country to announce it will not participate in the Durban IV conference in New York in September, marking the 20th anniversary of the World Conference on Racism in the South Africa city, which was rife with antisemitism.

“Austria supports efforts to combat racism worldwide, while rejecting the misuse of the Durban process to unfairly single out and target Israel,” the Austrian Embassy in Israel said on Friday. “Therefore, Austria abstained from the vote to hold a high-level conference in New York to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Durban conference. There will be no participation at the political level.”

In addition, Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok told the Dutch parliament on Tuesday that “the Netherlands does not intend to participate in the Durban IV conference.

“This decision was taken due to the history of the Durban process, the risk that this platform will once again be misused for antisemitic expressions and because of the conference’s disproportionate, one-sided focus on Israel, as exemplified in the original Durban declaration,” he said.

NGOs distributed rabidly anti-Jewish and anti-Israel material at the conference in Durban in 2001, accusing Israel of genocide and questioning whether Hitler was right. Copies of the infamous antisemitic trope Protocols of the Elders of Zion were sold.

The United States and Israel walked out of the initial conference. Follow-up conferences dubbed Durban II and III were boycotted by 10 and 15 countries, according to the NGO UN Watch. Then-president of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called the Holocaust an “ambiguous and dubious question” at Durban II in 2009, and a “pretext” for oppressing Palestinians.

The Netherlands boycotted both of those conferences and Austria did not attend Durban III; they now plan to continue that policy.

Other countries who intend to boycott Durban IV include the US, Israel, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and Hungary.

Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan tweeted: “We thank our friends @NLatUN who won’t attend the disgraceful UN event to mark the antisemitic Durban Conference!”

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