Bulgaria becomes 12th nation to boycott Durban Conference, warns of anti-Semitic propaganda

“Thank you Bulgaria! The Jewish people appreciate your friendship,” Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. and UN, Gilad Erdan, wrote.

By TPS, World Israel News Staff

The Foreign Ministry of Bulgaria has declared that the nation will not participate in the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Durban Declaration.

Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry stated in a Tweet that the country, “will not participate in the UNGA High-level meeting on the Durban Declaration & Plan of Action. Given the history of the process, there’s a risk that the forum could be misused for anti-Semitic propaganda We stay committed to fighting racism in all its forms and manifestations.”

Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. and UN, Gilad Erdan, congratulated the decision and thanked Bulgaria for its help in fighting anti-Semitism.

“Thank you Bulgaria! The Jewish people appreciate your friendship,” the ambassador tweeted.

Bulgaria is now the 12th nation to boycott the proceedings. The others are France, Israel, the US, Canada, Australia, Germany, the UK, Hungary, Austria, Netherlands and the Czech Republic.

Other countries have boycotted the Durban conferences in the past but have not yet announced their position toward this year’s session. These include Italy, New Zealand and Poland, whose diplomatic relations with Israel have recently hit a wall over a Holocaust restitution law.

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Next month the U.N. will hold the official ceremonies for the opening of its 76th session. Events have been planned at the same time for the “celebration” of the 20th anniversary of the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, and of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action.

The Durban Declaration was supposed to be a condemnation of racism and antisemitism. But as is usual with the U.N., many delegates at the conference tried to turn it into another declaration equating Zionism with racism and accusing Israel of genocide. And there were even Holocaust deniers in attendance.

The countries currently boycotting the ceremonies have all pointed to concerns that there will be a repeat of such anti-Semitic and anti-Israel activities. There were at previous anniversaries of the Declaration.

When the French announced that they would not be participating, French President Emmanuel Macron’s office issued a statement saying, “Concerned by a history of anti-Semitic remarks made at the UN conference on racism, known as the Durban Conference, the President of the Republic has decided that France will not participate in the follow-up conference to be held this year.”

When, in June, the U.K. announced its decision not to participate in the event a government spokesperson stated, “Following historic concerns regarding antisemitism, the UK has decided not to attend the UN’s Durban Conference anniversary event later this year.”