US to Boycott UN Racism Conference

Posted June 1st, 2011 at 6:15 pm (UTC-5)
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The United States says it will not participate in an upcoming United Nations conference against racism.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who had lobbied the administration of President Barack Obama to boycott the event, said Wednesday she “commended” the decision to withdraw from the event, which she said was likely to be take over by anti-Semitic and anti-American voices.

In December, a group of 18 lawmakers led by Senator Gillibrand sent a letter to the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, asking her not to participate in the conference “as long as it undermines the very goal of fighting discrimination with a demonstration of anti-Semitism.”

The conference, scheduled to be held in New York City this September, will commemorate the World Conference Against Racism, held ten years ago in Durban, South Africa.

Israel and the United States walked out of the Durban conference in protest against delegates' attempts to brand Israel as an apartheid state guilty of racism.

The United States also boycotted a 2009 meeting intended to carry forward the work of the Durban conference.

The State Department said a draft declaration from that meeting would limit freedoms of religion and speech and would unfairly label Israel's policies as racist. But it said the United States would “work with all people and nations” to put an end to racism and discrimination.