Was this a prelude to a “Durban 4” hatefest and a platform for the destruction of the Jewish State?
Paris, 24 March 2021
A report from Dr. Shimon Samuels, Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations and Observer to the UN Human “Wrongs” Council closing session:
- Agenda Item 2, L.31, “Human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the obligation to ensure accountability and justice” – sponsored by Chile, Pakistan, Venezuela and Palestine.
“Wait a minute,” thought Samuels, “was this not an issue for Item 7, where all the attacks on Israel are clustered?”
The resolution passed with the support of 32 member-states: Argentina, Armenia, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, China, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Denmark, Eritrea, Fiji, France, Gabon, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Libya, Mauritania, Mexico, Namibia, Netherlands, Pakistan, Poland, Korea, Russia, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela.
Voting against were 6: Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Malawi, Togo.
Abstaining were 8: Bahamas, Czech Republic, India, Marshall Islands, Nepal, Philippines, Ukraine, United Kingdom.
The accused party, Israel, responded, highlighting “the lack of mention of Hamas terrorism, the 100,000 trucks of food sent to Gaza, 140,000 Palestinians treated medically in Israeli hospitals, of which 13,000 children and the 100,000 Palestinian workers receiving the anti-Covid vaccine.”
The Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations in Geneva, Meirav Eilon Shahar, continued: “Any member-state who votes in favour of this resolution and backs its narrative, cannot be an honest broker when it comes to peace in the Middle East.”
The horrifying moment came when the United Kingdom and the European Union expressed “satisfaction that the issue had been taken out of Item 7.” Only Brazil saw through “the King’s new clothes,” claiming “the draft resolution was anyway unbalanced and singling out Israel.”
Indeed, three more Item 7 resolutions were still waiting around the corner and were voted in the afternoon.
The good news was the EU and the UK's statements: “A firm rejection of keeping Item 7 on the agenda, as it clearly singles out Israel.” They stated that all issues regarding Israel and Palestine should be in a general Item on human rights concerns for every country. The UK and the Czech Republic declared they would henceforth systematically vote against any Item 7 resolution.
This position was reflected in Item 7, L.16 - Human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan, sponsored by Chile, Pakistan and Palestine. The EU member-states present – Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland – and the UK, together with Brazil, Cameroon, Japan, Malawi, the Marshall Islands, South Korea, Togo and Ukraine voted against, losing by a small margin.
In fact, the resolution saw 26 in favour, 18 against and 3 abstentions.
On Item 7, L.18 - Right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, sponsored by Chile, Pakistan and Palestine. The vote was 42 in favour, 3 against and 2 abstentions. Thus the UK and the Czech Republic were rejecting any Item 7 draft resolution, though all agreed, “in principle, that the Palestinians have the right to self-determination.”
On Item 7, L.30 - Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan, sponsored by Chile, Pakistan, Venezuela and Palestine. The vote was 36 in favour, 3 against – UK, Czech Rep., Marshall Islands – and 8 abstentions. This accentuated the issue of existing settlements – especially new settlements – “as still commonly viewed as an obstacle to peace.”
Item 9, L.3 – “Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against, persons based on religion or belief, sponsored by Australia, Canada, Fiji, Pakistan, Paraguay, Uruguay and Palestine.
The framework of this Item: “Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance, follow-up to and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action” resonates an above-board innocence. The resolution was accepted by consensus, but no decision was taken regarding the planned 20th Durban anniversary commemoration conference. This may be attributed to the Wiesenthal Centre letter campaign urging leaders of democratic countries to boycott a “Durban 4.”
In fact, the whole Durban process, since its inception in 2001 – and its 2009 and 2011 follow-ups – was dubbed by Centre delegates on the scene, Associate Dean and Global Social Action Director, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, and Dr. Shimon Samuels as “the worst antisemitic hatefest since WW2.”
In case of a “Durban 4” in September 2021 – that threatens to renew the antisemitic inquisition and the hypocrisy of hate –, we reiterate our call to all countries of good will not to participate and to continue rejecting the singling out and delegitimization of Israel. As the US Representative to the UN-Geneva pointed out at the close of the Human Rights Council: “We call on all to flatly reject any notion that Zionism may be equated to racism!”
A “Welcome to ‘Durban 4’ is an ‘Invitation’ to a platform for the destruction of the Jewish State.”
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“For evil to flourish, it only requires good men to do nothing.” (Simon Wiesenthal, 1908-2005)