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Saturday, 28 February 2009

U.S. to boycott Durban 2 conference on Jewish racism

The United States will not attend a United Nations conference on racism that critics say will be a forum to criticize Israel, and will no longer participate in planning sessions for it, the State Department announced on Friday.

The conference is a follow-up to the contentious 2001 conference in the South African city of Durban which was dominated by clashes over the Middle East and the legacy of slavery. The U.S. and Israel walked out midway through that eight-day meeting over a draft resolution that singled out Israel for criticism and likened Zionism - the movement to establish and maintain a Jewish state - to racism.

Israel and Canada have already announced that they will boycott the upcoming World Conference Against Racism in Geneva from April 20-25, known as Durban 2, but President Barack Obama's administration decided to assess the negotiations before making a decision on U.S. participation.

The decision to drop U.S. involvement comes one day before U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leaves on her first trip to the Middle East in her new capacity, including stops in Israel. More

Israel, Jewish groups hail U.S. boycott of Durban 2 summit