Breaking News: Canada will not attend ‘Durban IV’ conference

Banner advertising the first "Durban Conference" in 2001

Canada will not attend a conference later this year to mark the 20th anniversary of the so-called Durban Process out of concern that it would continue to push anti-Israel sentiment and act as a forum for anti-Semitism.

Jewish advocacy groups had urged Canada to avoid the United Nations-sponsored conference, scheduled for Sept. 22 in New York.

The UN’s World Conference on Racism, held in Durban, South Africa in 2001, turned into what advocacy groups called an anti-Jewish and anti-Israel “hatefest.”

Canada boycotted follow-up conferences in 2009 and again in 2011.

On May 6, Global Affairs announced Canada would not attend the next gathering.

“Canada remains committed, at home and abroad, including at the UN, to advancing human rights, inclusion and combatting anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and systemic racism in all its forms,” said a statement from Global Affairs.

“Canada opposes initiatives at the United Nations and in other multilateral forums that unfairly single out and target Israel for criticism.‎ Canada is concerned that the Durban Process has and continues to be used to push for anti-Israel sentiment and as a forum for anti-Semitism.

“That is why we do not plan to attend or participate in events surrounding the 20th anniversary of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action,” the statement said.

The United States and Australia have also said they would not attend the September conference.

“All Durban conferences, including the planned Durban IV, ‘reaffirm’ the original Durban Declaration in its entirety,” said a joint statement prior to Canada’s announcement from B’nai Brith Canada and Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre.

“This process has received longstanding support from anti-Semites who have hijacked the conference agenda to advance their venomous attitudes towards Israel and Jews,” the organizations stated.

The CJN is monitoring this story and will update it as developments warrant.

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