Along with the Palestinian Authority's request to the UN to recognize an Arab state in Judea and Samaria, this coming week will see another major anti-Israel event – the Durban 3 Conference, set to open on September 22, one day before the PA is scheduled to submit its request to the Security Council.
Judging by the last two “Durbans” - officially known as the The Durban Declaration and Program of Action – the upcoming round will feature further virulent anti-Israel and anti-Semitic propaganda, likely to be exacerbated by the hoopla surrounding the PA's bid.
In response, an organization called the Jerusalem Institute of Justice (JIJ) is organizing a protest outside the UN against the Conference, calling for nations to reject its anti-Israel agenda, and to walk out of the Conference as well – or at least to promise not to participate in any more Durbans.
While the United States and 11 other countries are already boycotting Durban 3, “it's a scandal that another 140 or so will be participating,” says JIJ director and protest organizer, Jerusalem attorney Calev Myers. “Our message will be a call to the UN to stop obsessively condemning the only democracy in the Middle East.”
The Durban Conference is the result of deliberations of the UN Human Rights Commission, which has dedicated over 40% of its resolutions to condemning Israel and has Israel automatically on every meeting's agenda – while ignoring true human rights crises, like the current violence by Syrian security officers who have killed thousands of Syrian citizens seeking regime change in the country.
“Based on events in a number of countries, it looks like the 'Arab Spring' has turned out to be a big failure,” says Myers. “But the UN has nothing to say about Syria, Egypt, Libya, or any other place where human rights are truly being violated – only about Israel.”
The fact that the Conference comes in advance of the PA's bid to the Security Council means that the protest will be even more important, says Myers. “We first applied for a permit for this protest six months ago, long before the PA made its decision on its statehood bid,” says Myers. “The rhetoric at the Conference is likely to be even more anti-Israel than in the past, so a strong presence protesting the proceedings is especially important this year.”
Myers expects anywhere between 5,000 and 20,000 participants at the protest – most of them non-Jewish, thanks to the assistance of Eagles' Wings, a group of Evangelical Christians in the New York City area who are very pro-Israel.
“We've invited Jewish groups as well, of course,” says Myers. “But having a large group of Christians demonstrating for Israel on these days will make an important statement.”
And while many Eagles' Wings member churches have expressed a strong willingness to attend the protest, “the final number we expect is up in the air, because it's going to be very hard to navigate around New York City this week,” says Myers, adding that “in any event, we intend to uncover the face of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activity at the UN, and express pride in the fact that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East.”