Haaretz reports that the final text of the Durban 2 declaration “omits references to Israel, Zionism, the Middle East conflict and other divisive issues that have made Western powers shy away…”, thus increasing pressure on the United States to attend the conference.
However, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is still scheduled to speak at the event, with the possibility that his remarks will prompt a walk-out like the one in 2001.
Negotiations are continuing for a compromise agreement that would enable the United States to attend the Durban 2 conference in Geneva. But, as the Jerusalem Post points out,
even as diplomats squared off over language for an acceptable text, opponents of the conference […] argued that the event was tainted and could not be rescued because of the heavy involvement of human rights abusers such as Libya and Iran.Libya has chaired the planning committee, whose membership includes countries like Iran and Cuba.
The Post also draws attention to the fact that
Saudi Arabia, which also has a problematic record on human rights, has contributed $150,000 to the event, China $20,000 and Iran $40,000.Russia, which has chaired the committee on the draft text, has donated $600,000.
WJC secretary-general Michael Schneider is quoted as saying that the forthcoming Geneva event is being set up in a dangerously ambiguous way, with the possibility that even if a text that is acceptable to the United States is agreed, amendments may be proposed from the floor during the proceedings and adopted without warning:
“…My feeling is that people who want to harm Israel are playing a game,” he said. “It seems as if the United States is caught between its foreign policy prerogatives and the anti-racism conference.”
The heart of the question appears to be how to remove the exclusive emphasis on Israel at the conference, and to focus on the many other human rights issues across the world.
Hat tip: Leopoldo