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Dear Foreign Secretary,

I am writing to you in support of calls by Christians United for Israel UK for Britain to withdraw from the 20th anniversary commemoration of the 2001 Durban conference, which is set to take place in New York in September.

The World Conference against Racism held in Durban in 2001 was disappointingly overshadowed by an attempt to define Zionism as racism. I’m aware that your colleague Theresa Villiers MP has raised the matter with you in Parliament saying the 2001 conference “involved hatred, anti-Semitism and criticism of Israel that was excessive, disproportionate and unfair.” Copies of anti-Semitic propaganda, including The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, were reportedly distributed at the parallel NGO conference and Jewish representatives were harassed.

It has also been suggested that it was here that the ‘apartheid’ slur against Israel originated.

In 2011, former Prime Minister David Cameron said the 2001 conference in Durban “saw open displays of unpleasant and deplorable anti-Semitism.” He said it would be “wrong to commemorate those displays,” adding, “Indeed, they should be condemned.”

I understand that world leaders will be asked to call for the “full and effective implementation” of the 2001 Durban Declaration. In respect for the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism and the UK’s stated commitment to not support partisan or political attacks on Israel, I urge the UK government to refuse to attend September’s conference. The UK should have no association with the anti-Semitic legacy of this conference, but rather take a leading role in standing up to those who seek to malign and delegitimise the State of Israel.

I trust that Britain will do the right thing and join the United States, Canada and Australia in not attending for this reason.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,