In the picturesque Swiss city of Geneva April 20-24, 2009 the United Nations held its second global summit on racism a 'human rights' gathering designed to review the outcomes of the hate-filled fiasco held in Durban, South Africa in the week before the 9/11 attacks of September 2001.
The US, Australia and Germany were among a handful of influential western democracies that joined Israel and Canada at the last minute in boycotting the gathering, in part because the arrival of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Geneva promised to turn the entire event into a farce.
UN protocol dictated that Ahmadinejad was given the platform first as the sole head-of-state in attendance. He used it to accuse Israel of having "a racist government" and commiting genocide against the Palestinians. His speech prompted a mass walkout by European diplomats, and prompted condemnation from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon who criticized the Iranian leader for using the forum "to accuse, divide and even incite."
The events in Geneva on April 20th just as Israel was beginning the solemn annual observance of Yom Hashoah - Holocaust Memorial Day - provided vindication of President Obama's 11th hour decision to boycott the gathering.
The ICEJ is proud that we played our part in the chorus of voices from both the Jewish and Christian world that called on him to stay away and appreciate the grassroots support of nearly 5,000 online activists who signed up in support of our Boycott Durban II Petition.
That petition was delivered to the White House on Friday April 17th, together with an impassioned plea from ICEJ Executive Director Rev. Malcolm Hedding for President Obama to resist the mounting pressure to send a delegation to Durban II.
On the ground in Geneva the ICEJ national directors of Switzerland, France and Russia were standing with hundreds of Christians and Jews as part of series of city-wide protests against the Durban II conference and in memory of the Holocaust.
Meanwhile, in the Czech capital of Prague, ICEJ national director Mojmir Kallus spearheaded a rally at the Senate that led to the withdrawal of his nation from Durban II within hours of Ahmadinjad's opening tirade. In Jerusalem ICEJ International Director Dr. Jürgen Bühler refuted the charge of Israeli racism in an extensive debate on the influential Arabic language satellite channel Al-Hurra.
The fight against the rising tide of global anti-Semitism continues.