U.S., Australia, and Canada to Boycott Durban 20th Anniversary Event Over Antisemitism Concerns

A demonstrator at the 2001 Durban conference.

May 7, 2021

The United States, Canada, and Australia have announced that they will not participate in an international event later this year marking the 20th anniversary of the infamous UN World Conference Against Racism, also known as the Durban Conference.

When the 2001 conference took place in Durban, South Africa, it became a venue for antisemitism and the widespread smearing of Israel as an “apartheid” state. Numerous national delegations staged walkouts due to the extent of the anti-Israel sentiment displayed.

Since 2001, there have been several follow-up conferences, and, in 2009, Durban organizers invited then-Iranian President and Holocaust denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a keynote speaker.

In a Twitter post praising Canada’s move, Canadian lawmaker Anthony Housefather cited his worries about the conference’s anti-Israel sentiment and antisemitism.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison noted similar concerns when he announced Australia’s intention to boycott the conference.

“We will not associate Australia with one-sided and contentious language that singles out Israel or an event that champions such language,” Morrison said.

The United States confirmed its boycott of the 2021 Durban Conference earlier this week via a State Department spokesperson who spoke to The Jerusalem Post.

Other Western countries are expected to follow. In 2009, a total 14 nations refused to participate.

The Durban Conference’s fourth iteration is set to take place at the UN headquarters in New York City on September 22.