The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest mainstream Orthodox Jewish organization, today commended the decision of the United States and Israel to pull out of the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa.
Betty Ehrenberg, Director of International Affairs, said, “A UN Conference that was to have dealt with the issue of racism, anti-Semitism, and discrimination has failed because of a group of countries that has succeeded in subverting it in order to pursue and inflame an anti-Israel agenda. The OU praises the decision of the United States and Israel to pull out of this Conference in the face of the failure to remove blatantly anti-Israel and anti-Zionist resolutions, the result of the hate-filled efforts of those who would undermine the battle against racism and bigotry in order to further their own political aims.
The very fact that dictatorships like Iraq, Sudan, Syria and Libya are in the forefront of these invidious efforts and that the UN has allowed itself to be used by these extremists who are themselves guilty of the worst violations of human rights again exposes the shame of the UN. The U.S. Administration was right in standing up for its principles by refusing to participate in what degenerated into a racist conference, an important and courageous step. In his address, PLO Chairman Yassir Arafat yet again proved that he is not genuinely interested in peace by making his intentions perfectly clear and raising the demand of “right of return.” It is regrettable that the international body has shown so little principle and integrity and has allowed itself to be hijacked in the interests of hatred and racism. It is sad that much hope has been dashed in the hearts of those who truly seek and strive for a genuine and lasting peace.”