Dina Siegel Vann, Director of the Institute for Latino and Latin American Affairs of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) regretted Israel’s decision not to participate in the World Conference against Racism, to be held in early 2009 at Geneva, and warned that the UN Human Rigths Committee –organized by the Forum- "is being used by an automatic majority."
"The United Nations are being used by an automatic majority made up by the Islamic Conference (which comprises 57 Arab countries) and the Non-aligned countries, which is why there is not a clear and serious debate and the agenda has been taken by groups with very marginal interests and is focused on delegitimizing the State of Israel", Siegel Vann told AJN Jewish News Agency from Washington.
The AJC official said it is "a pity" that countries such as Israel and Canada –and probably the United States and even France- feel forced not to participate in Durban II, but she stressed the Jewish State "has been very clear in saying that if certain red lines were crossed, which they have been," Israel would not attend the meeting.
She also recalled that the document prepared by the Arab planning meeting, which took place a couple of months ago and is being considered as a basis for discussions during the conference, was "terribly hostile towards Israel".
Siegel Vann said the "problem of racism is still afflicting many countries in the world, many of which do not acknowledge Israel".
According to Haaretz, Israel’s decision not to participate in the Conference was taken because Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni sought to ensure that Durban II will not become an anti-Semitic forum, and in light of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s ambiguous answer, she decided not to attend.
In that regard, Siegel Vann maintained "it would be important if Ban Ki-moon, considering his moral authority, would make things clear, but unfortunately, we haven’t seen that happen.
"Canada had already confirmed it would not participate in the Conference, and Israel has now joined it.
In turn, the United States and France are still considering what position to adopt.