Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, right, speaks next to U.S. actor Jon Voight during a conference on “Lessons of the Holocaust for Anti-Semitism and Intolerance in the 21st Century” at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland yesterday. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone/Associated Press

In a surprising development, at least 100 nations represented in Geneva, Switzerland at the U.N.-sponsored, Durban II, Conference Against Racism adopted a document yesterday reaffirming the 2001 Durban I declaration – three days before the end of the conference.

The 2001 document noted the “the plight of the Palestinian people” – implying Israeli oppression.

A total of 143 nations are represented at this conference.

Some nations have formally pulled out of the Durban II conference because of its one-sided, anti-Israel stance. These countries include the U.S., Canada, Italy, Poland, Germany, Holland, Australia and New Zealand. In addition, the Czech Republic, which holds the temporary chairmanship of the European Union, walked out during Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech when he blasted Zionism and Israel – and has not returned to the conference.

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Meanwhile, in another surprising development, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, who served under former president George W. Bush, praised President Barack Obama in a guest editorial in The New York Post for “the Obama administration’s decision not to attend this week’s ‘Durban II’ Conference on Racism in Geneva.”

The former ambassador said this signals “boycotting outrageous United Nations parleys is now officially bipartisan U.S. policy.”

Mr. Bolton characterized Mr. Obama’s decision as “real U.S. leadership,” adding: “The absence of America eliminates any pretext of global legitimacy, which greatly concerns the international left. Depriving the original Durban conference of that legitimacy is exactly why the Bush administration – hesitatingly and at the last possible moment – quite properly walked out in 2001.”

David Bedein can be reached at dbedein@israelbehindthenews.com


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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.