"Following world war two, [powerful states] resorted to military aggression to make an entire nation homeless, on the pretext of Jewish suffering and the ambiguous and dubious question of the Holocaust .... and they helped bring to power the most cruel and repressive racists in Palestine."The conference was already being boycotted by several countries, including the US and Israel, due to concerns that Islamic states would attack Israel, and also push on with their attempts to outlaw defamation of religion at the UN. Yesterday's events are a huge setback for the UN, which hoped the new Durban conference would draw a line under the debacle of the last one, which ended in a similar walkout.
In our March/April issue we asked veteran UN-watcher Ian Williams to preview the Durban II conference - at the time boycotts were already seeming likely, but he expressed hope that both the boycotters and the Islamic states could find a way of sitting down to a sensible discussion in Geneva, and avoid further undermining the credibility of the UN. Sadly, this clearly did not prove to be the case.