Say What? Talking Back to Durban III and the Palestinian Statehood Bid

Some of the best quotes from a counter-conference that featured a slew of prominent speakers. 

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A star-studded lineup of speakers—including diplomats, politicians, academics, human right activists and even actor Jon Voight—tackled Durban III and the Palestinian statehood bid head on during last week’s “Perils of Global Intolerance” conference, held footsteps away from the UN. Here were some of their best sound bites from the daylong event:

“It would be like asking the mafia to publish an anti-crime initiative.”

—Ron Prosor, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, on the UN holding so-called conferences against racism.

“Only at the UN could rearranging the letters on an acronym be considered a major reform.”

—Jason Kenney, Canadian Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, on the UN’s Council on Human Rights (CHR) changing its name to the Human Rights Council (HRC).

 “Everybody is busy with Israelis building a house somewhere.”

—Yuli Edelstein, Israeli Minister of Information and Diaspora, on why the UN doesn’t focus enough on real human rights violations.

“Have human rights now become the weapon of choice for those who practice human wrongs?”

— Prominent attorney Alan Dershowitz on seeking Israeli-Palestinian peace through statements and resolutions at the UN, rather than direct negotiations between the two parties.

“Durban III has been a big flop.”

—Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch on the lack of media coverage for Durban III, as well as the lack knowledge about the conference ordinary among the general public.

“Life is not made of years, but of moments. These meetings are special moments.”

—Holocaust survivor and peace activist Elie Wiesel, on efforts to counter the anti-Semitism of Durban III before Rosh Hashanah, which he described as a time when Jews perform “an accounting of soul” for the past year.

“I felt like someone talking about water and out in the audience was Noah.”

—Ron Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, on the lineup of prominent speakers he found himself in for the “Perils of Global Intolerance” conference.


Jacob Kamaras is the Editor-in-Chief of JNS.

Posted on September 20, 2011 and filed under Israel, U.S., What They're Saying.