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Jason Kenney heads to New York to condemn those who condemn Israel

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Sept. 19, 2011.

CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is heading to New York to join with other pro-Israel luminaries in protesting Durban III, a UN-sponsored conference on racism Thursday that's gained notoriety as a platform for anti-Semitism.

Mr. Kenney will join Nobel laureate Eli Wiesel and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee in speaking out against Durban III, the United Nations meeting that commemorates the anniversary of the 2001 Durban conference on racism.

The Calgary MP and 16 other speakers will headline a counter-conference Thursday called The Perils of Global Intolerance: The United Nations and Durban III. The lineup also includes John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the UN.

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"As Prime Minister Harper has said, when Israel—the only country in the world whose very existence is under attack—is consistently and conspicuously singled out for condemnation, we are morally obligated to take a stand," Candice Malcolm, a spokeswoman for Mr. Kenney's office, said.

The pro-Israel gathering, which takes place as Palestinians are pushing to be recognized as a sovereign state at the United Nations, is expected to raise concerns about how international institutions such as the UN are being hijacked by countries to blame the West for their problems and de-legitimize the state of Israel.

Fourteen democracies including Canada and the United States are boycotting Durban III because of how the last two Durban forums fomented hatred of Jews and Israel.

"Canada is clearly committed to fighting against racism, however, we believe the UN's Durban Conference, its declaration, and the non-governmental activities associated with it, provide a dangerous platform to single out and demonize Israel," Ms. Malcolm said.

Durban III's full UN title is the "one-day plenary event on the 10th anniversary of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance." It takes place Thursday.

Mr. Kenney is the co-keynote speaker at The Perils of Global Intolerance conference and will also be holding a news conference to attack Durban III along with Mr. Bolton and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz.

The last two Durban-related gatherings have seen participants vilify Israel.

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At a human-rights forum that took place before the 2001 conference, participants adopted a document accusing Israel of engaging in genocide and ethnic cleansing against Palestinians. A flier circulating at the forum said; "What if Hitler had won? There would be no Israel, and no Palestinian bloodshed."

In 2009, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad used a speech at Durban II to describe the Holocaust as a "pretext" for Jews to "render an entire nation [Palestinians]homeless."

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Steven Chase has covered federal politics in Ottawa for The Globe since mid-2001, arriving there a few months before 9/11. He previously worked in the paper's Vancouver and Calgary bureaus. Prior to that, he reported on Alberta politics for the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun, and on national issues for Alberta Report. More

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