A long time campaigner against antisemitism, Chipping Barnet MP Theresa Villiers has urged the Foreign Secretary to announce that the UK is boycotting the UN Durban IV conference.
She raised this on the floor of the House of Commons in April, followed up with a letter to Dominic Raab in May, and has now tabled formal written questions in Parliament to try to finally get confirmation that the UK will play no part in Durban IV.
In her letter, Theresa explained the 2001 UN Durban conference against racism had descended into “hatred, antisemitism and criticism of Israel that was excessive, disproportionate and unfair”.
Copies of antisemitic propaganda, including The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, were reportedly distributed at the parallel NGO conference and representatives of Jewish NGOs were harassed.
Theresa said she welcomed the Foreign Secretary's recent remarks in Parliament that the UK “will not support any partisan or political attacks on Israel” and that it condemned “any and all forms of antisemitism”.
She also explained she supported the “principled decision” by the Government to vote against a United Nations General Assembly resolution to convene Durban IV to commemorate the original conference’s 20th anniversary.
But she added that voting against the decision to convene the conference now needed to be reinforced by the Foreign Secretary promising that the UK will not attend.
“I urge the UK Government to refuse to attend the commemoration in September,” Theresa said.
“I welcome the announcement that President Biden’s administration will not participate. This sends an important message that racism will not go unchallenged."
She added: “It is incumbent upon the UK to confront those who seek to espouse or endorse antisemitic views, including people who seek to delegitimise the State of Israel.”
In 2011, the UK Government boycotted the Durban III conference. The UK was the first country to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism in 2016.