Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is heading to New York to join with other pro-Israel luminaries in protesting Durban III, a UN-sponsored conference on racism Thursday that’s gained notoriety as a platform for anti-Semitism.
Mr. Kenney will join Nobel laureate Eli Wiesel and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee in speaking out against Durban III, the United Nations meeting that commemorates the anniversary of the 2001 Durban conference on racism.
The Calgary MP and 16 other speakers will headline a counter-conference Thursday called The Perils of Global Intolerance: The United Nations and Durban III. The lineup also includes John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the UN.
“As Prime Minister Harper has said, when Israel—the only country in the world whose very existence is under attack—is consistently and conspicuously singled out for condemnation, we are morally obligated to take a stand,” Candice Malcolm, a spokeswoman for Mr. Kenney’s office, said.
The pro-Israel gathering, which takes place as Palestinians are pushing to be recognized as a sovereign state at the United Nations, is expected to raise concerns about how international institutions such as the UN are being hijacked by countries to blame the West for their problems and de-legitimize the state of Israel.
Fourteen democracies including Canada and the United States are boycotting Durban III because of how the last two Durban forums fomented hatred of Jews and Israel.
“Canada is clearly committed to fighting against racism, however, we believe the UN’s Durban Conference, its declaration, and the non-governmental activities associated with it, provide a dangerous platform to single out and demonize Israel,” Ms. Malcolm said.
Durban III’s full UN title is the “one-day plenary event on the 10th anniversary of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance.” It takes place Thursday.
Mr. Kenney is the co-keynote speaker at The Perils of Global Intolerance conference and will also be holding a news conference to attack Durban III along with Mr. Bolton and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz.
The last two Durban-related gatherings have seen participants vilify Israel.
At a human-rights forum that took place before the 2001 conference, participants adopted a document accusing Israel of engaging in genocide and ethnic cleansing against Palestinians. A flier circulating at the forum said; “What if Hitler had won? There would be no Israel, and no Palestinian bloodshed.”
In 2009, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad used a speech at Durban II to describe the Holocaust as a “pretext” for Jews to “render an entire nation [Palestinians] homeless.”
Kenney laces into UN in wake of Durban 'hatefest'
His comments came as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrived at the UN General Assembly in New York to seek statehood for Palestine and as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad caused yet another mass walkout during the UN meeting after he laced into his usual targets.
"I am proud to be here in New York where my country is standing against provocation, and for peace in the Middle East," Kenney said, adding the "pathological refusal" of Durban organizers to recognize their failure is baffling.
"If there's one thing the self-appointed defenders of human rights can't get enough of, it's camping out in five star hotels in New York while slinging abuse at America and its allies."
Kenney laced into UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay for expressing shock that Canada and several other western democracies would boycott the conference, while failing to "express one syllable of dismay" that the event in 2009 was led by now-deposed Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi as chairman, vice-chair Ahmadinejad and a rapporteur from Fidel Castro's Cuba.
"It's hard to imagine a better example of the upside-down word of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights," he said in a speech at the Perils of Global Intolerance conference.
"This is why our government has lost faith in the Durban process . . . We will not support an agenda that exculpates undemocratic and oppressive regimes or glosses over violence against Jews and Israel."
Co-hosted by the Hudson Institute and the Touro College Insitute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, the Perils of Global Intolerance conference coincided with the daylong Durban III celebration commemorating the 2001 adoption of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action — the international community's blueprint for fighting racism.
Canada was the first country to boycott the last UN anti-racism conference in 2009 which saw Ahmadinejad take the podium for the first time to espouse his radical ideals. Canadian representatives walked out of the first meeting in 2001 after it degenerated into an anti-Israel, anti-West "hatefest."
"The Durban declaration was long on calls for reparations and compensation, but short to the point of silence on the responsibility of corrupt regimes to institute free political, legal and commercial systems," Kenney argued.
"It's an old refrain: If anyone, anywhere is suffering, it's the liberal, democratic West that is to blame, and it's sung enthusiastically by many Western NGO's whose capacity for guilt is exceeded only by their gullibility."
Kenney said he got plenty of "flack," when Canada pulled out of the last conference, much of it from Canadian NGO's who were refused federal funding to attend. And the reason for that refusal, he said, is that they were among the same NGO's accredited to attend the first conference where "vulgar displays of Nazi imagery" and "spontaneous" anti-Semitic protests erupted.
Echoing a key highlight of his government's new foreign policy direction, first expressed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a speech to partisans earlier this year, Kenney said Canada will no longer endorse UN processes that reward human rights abusers with representation.
"Canada will no longer make the mistake of confusing process with results, or participation with action," he said.
"Most importantly, we will not be afraid to stand on principle and defend our own interests and those of our friends."