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Israel Applauds U.S. Decision to Boycott Racism Forum

Sunday, 01 Mar 2009 07:33 PM

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JERUSALEM — Israel on Saturday applauded Washington's decision to boycott a UN conference on racism that it considers anti-Semitic.

"Under the fig leaf of combatting racism, this conference is blatantly anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli," Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said.

"The decision of the United States should be an example to other countries that share our values," she added in a statement from her office.

A senior member of the right-wing Likud party tasked with assembling a new Israeli government after February 10 elections, also praised the US decision.

"I congratulate the United States on its decision, which proves it is faithful to its commitments to Israel," Silvan Shalom said.

"This is further proof of the close ties that unite our two countries."

US officials said Washington would not participate in the Durban II conference on racism to be held April 20-24 in Geneva after its proposed changes to a resolution governing the meeting were rejected earlier this month.

Canada and Israel have also said they will boycott the meeting.

The conference was first held in Durban, South Africa, a few days before the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, and against the backdrop of the second Palestinian intifada.

Israel and the United States walked out on the fourth day of the conference in protest against attempts by Arab nations to adopt a resolution that equated Zionism with racism.

Copyright © 2009 AFP. All rights reserved.

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