[See here and here for further reading.]
The movement to boycott the ‘Durban II’ Review Conference on racism appears to be gathering pace. Not only have the US, Israel, Canada and Italy decided not to attend, but now Sweden, The Netherlands and Australia have joined them.
According to Stephen Smith, Australia’s Foreign Minister:
“The 2001 Declaration [at the first conference on racism at Durban] singled out Israel and the Middle East. Australia expressed strong concerns about this at the time… Regrettably, we cannot be confident that the Review Conference will not again be used as a platform to air offensive views, including anti-Semitic views.”
Holland’s Foreign Minister meanwhile cites attempts made, primarily by Islamic states, to use the conference to prioritise religious tradition above human rights and attack freedom of speech.
It is likely that other Western states, including Germany, will join the boycott movement. It has been argued that Western states should attend the conference and use their influence in a positive way. However, in this instance it seems most countries see it as more effective to deny any legitimacy to those in the international sphere who hold anti-Semitic or anti-human rights views.