Israeli sources reported that Israel and the United States decided to boycott the Durban II Anti-Racism conference which will be conducted in early 2009. The Israeli and US decision was made a few weeks ago.The sources added that the decision was jointly made by Israel and the USA through senior officials of the U.S  State Department and the Israeli Foreign Ministry after the issue was discussed in talks between U.S Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, and Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni.

 Israel and the U.S. decided to make their participation in the conference conditional on guarantees that the event would not become a rerun of the previous United Nations rights conference in Durban in 2001 in which Israel was slammed for its ongoing occupation of Palestine and its violations against the Palestinians.

The Israeli government said that the September 2001 conference which was held in Durban – south Africa and was sponsored by the United Nations Human Rights Commission and the UN non-aligned states, a body dominated by Arab states, carried anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli lines, Israeli online daily, Haaretz reported.

The United States and Israel walked out in protest to these statements, Haaretz added.

Meanwhile, Israel and several international Jewish organizations have already started a campaign against the upcoming conference which is still without a set date and exact location.

Haaretz also reported that Canada announced it will be boycotting the conference, while Israel is currently holding talks with other countries in order to condition their participation on “preventing agendas that attack Israel”.

Israeli officials claimed that the UN secretary-general and the UN Human Rights Commission are not doing enough in order to counter “anti-Semitic statements against Israel”.