Pro-Israel organization urges Ireland not to attend Durban IV conference

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(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

by Dan Verbin(A7) An Irish pro-Israel group is urging the Irish government to boycott this month’s Durban IV conference scheduled to occur alongside the opening session of the 76th United Nations General Assembly on September 22.

“The legacy of Durban, first held in 2001, is one of anti-Semitism and incitement to violence,” said Jackie Goodall, executive director of the Ireland Israel Alliance, in a statement.

The Durban IV ceremony, commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Durban 2001 Conference, has already been widely condemned by a lengthy list of countries out of concern that it will be a vehicle for anti-Semitism as it reaffirms the original conference.

The ADL described the 2001 Durban conference as “permanently tainted as a notorious vehicle to promote anti-Semitism and incite hatred against Israel.”

Goodall noted that “only a few months ago, Ireland solidified its reputation and status as the most anti-Israel of Western Nations – as Sinn Féin’s legislative extremism towards Israel was unanimously and resoundingly endorsed.”

“Now in only a few days, the Durban IV conference will take place in New York and our country must make a clear choice: Will we be a party to the anti-Semitic legacy of Durban and continue our descent into extremism, or will we follow the example of other leading democracies in boycotting this conference of hate?” Goodall said.

Countries boycotting Durban IV include including Israel, the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Germany, Bulgaria, Croatia and New Zealand.

Ireland’s government has not made any official statements about its intentions to attend Durban IV.

The Ireland Israel Alliance is running a campaign asking its supporters to write to Simon Coveney, Ireland’s foreign minister, urging the country to join with other Western nations who have already announced they will not be attending.

“I do not hold out much hope that Ireland will boycott Durban IV,” Goodall said. “The foreign policy of successive Irish governments spearheaded by Simon Coveney has been one of cuddling up to the Iranians, whilst targeting Israel for condemnation and sanction at every opportunity.”

Goodall added: “Perhaps, Durban IV fits nicely with Ireland’s foreign policy: singling out one state (Israel) for vitriol and applying standards of conduct to Israel’s self-defense which have no root in law or logic.”