For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
Prof. Gerald M. Steinberg Institute for Global Jewish Affairs Published March '10 No. 96
From 20-24 April 2009, the Durban Review Conference took place in Geneva. It is also known as Durban II, a follow-up to the infamous "Durban I" World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in the late summer of 2001. At Durban I, an NGO Forum accepted what can be summed up as a declaration of war against Israel. Participating nongovernmental organizations adopted a strategy for the complete isolation of Israel through boycotts, divestment, and sanctions.
The Canadian Harper government was the first to announce in February 2008 that it would not participate in Durban II, followed nine months later by Israel. Other countries, including the United States, eventually followed suit in refusing to come to Geneva. The withdrawal accelerated when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced his intention to participate. Many funders that had provided large amounts of money for the Durban I NGO Forum, including Canada and the Ford Foundation, did not provide NGO support for 2009.
Although the nonparticipation of so many key countries made Durban II less of a diplomatic disaster for Israel than Durban I, it did not result in any erasure or renouncement of the anti-Israeli "Durban strategy" adopted at the 2001 NGO Forum.
Many UN-sponsored mini-Durbans promoting the indictment of Israel continue to take place, led by the same NGOs active in the Durban I hate-fest. In the dominant narrative, Israel is the world's worst violator of human rights and must be held accountable through investigations predetermined to find it guilty. Judge Richard Goldstone has become the patron saint of this "Durban process."
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"