Czech Republic becomes ninth state to boycott Durban conference

Czech Republic will not participate in the Durban Review Conference in New York in September, Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhánek said, citing concerns about antisemitism and targeting Israel.

“I’ve taken this decision due to historic concerns regarding antisemitism and the misuse of the platform for attacks against Israel,” he tweeted. “We will continue to fight racism and discrimination and promote human rights.”

The conference in September, also known as Durban IV, is meant to mark the 20th anniversary of the World Conference on Racism in the South African city.

Antisemitism was rife at the 2001 Durban Conference’s NGO forum, where copies of the anti-Jewish conspiracy theory The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion were distributed, Israel was accused of genocide, and participants considered whether Hitler was right.

Israel was the only country singled out for racism in the statement made by UN member states participating in the conference. The US and Israel walked out.

In 2009, 10 countries boycotted Durban II, and 15 opted out of Durban III in 2011. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called the Holocaust an “ambiguous and dubious question” at Durban II in 2009 and a “pretext” for oppressing Palestinians.

Last week, Austria and the Netherlands announced they would not take part in Durban IV due to the antisemitism at past conferences.

The US, Israel, Canada, Australia, the UK and Hungary also said they would boycott the event in September.

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