Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Europe: 15 years since Durban - the conference that ushered in an era of Israel-demonization

One of the main players at demonising Israel at Durban was Belgian Pierre Galand (Socialist Party, Oxfam, Russell Tribunal on Palestine etc). From NGO Monitor 2004:
Immediately before the notorious UN Durban conference on racism took place in September 2001 Galand’s activities were a central part of the preparations. In a speech disseminated through the website of the Maoist Parti du Travail de Belgique (Workers Party of Belgium), and again at Durban, Galand declared: "Palestine has become the new Vietnam, the symbol of the unjust war. A people deprived of its rights, just like the Vietnamese of 50 years ago, the Palestinians represent in the eyes of a growing number of peoples, … a heroic people, who defend their basic rights and above all their dignity, in the face of an aggressive Israel …."  

Gerald Steinberg of NGO Monitor @ Algemeiner:
For both supporters and detractors of the state of Israel, no single conference of the past 15 years has had a more enduring impact on the evolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict than the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, held in Durban, South Africa.

The event, which took place in September 2001, was hijacked by many of the over 1,500 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in attendance, as well as by governments that reject Israel’s right to exist. Multiple instances of antisemitic imagery and language were reported at the UN-sponsored NGO Forum, and Jewish attendees were intimidated and excluded. Even the initial governmental draft, prepared at a UN preparatory conference in Iran, sought to demonize Israel, reinstating the antisemitic slander that Zionism equals racism. In the mainstream Jewish community, the overwhelming majority of which professes the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in their ancestral homeland, there were no delusions as to whom was being targeted as a whole when the term Zionist was used in such a derogatory context. [...]

Since 2001, this declaration has served as a blueprint for the well-financed NGO network, aiming to demonize and isolate Israel internationally. The grossly unfounded accusations have exhaustively been repeated by anti-Israel groups, which lobby to influence the foreign policies of Israel’s allies, especially in Europe, and pursue investigations by UN bodies, the International Criminal Court and national justice systems of supposed Israeli “war crimes.”

Likewise, Durban marked , trade unions, media outlets and on many college campuses.
a turning point with the emergence of BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) campaigns, which are rooted in the strategy set out in the NGO Forum’s Final Declaration. The situation has progressively worsened as Israel is obsessively targeted for boycott, prosecution and condemnation in the UN, European capitals

For many observers, the “Durban Strategy” marked the coming out party for a “new antisemitism.”
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