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Cyprus stays mum on participation in Durbin conference amid antisemitism row

The foreign ministry

Cyprus is reported to be among several countries that will not participate in September’s event marking 20 years since the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, according to sources cited by the Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

The event, to be held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, has become entangled in allegations of antisemitism.

The Israeli newspaper said that Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides had assured the American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris that Cyprus will not be participating.

However, a ministry of foreign affairs spokesperson told the Cyprus Mail that, at the moment, the ministry does not confirm, nor deny it, noting that in previous years Cyprus participated in the conference normally.

The Jerusalem Post’s article said Cyprus and New Zealand were the latest countries to be staying away from the event.

The declaration passed by countries participating in the conference in Durban in 2001 only mentions one country by name as a perpetrator of racism: Israel. An earlier draft stated that Zionism is racism; no other national-political movement was thus singled out.

Last month, the International Legal Forum, a pro-Israel network of over 3,000 lawyers and activists, sent letters to several Western countries calling them to withdraw from Durban IV.

A number of countries received the letter but have not announced their position yet, including Belgium, Finland, Greece, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland, all of which have adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of antisemitism.

Also, this week, Italy and Croatia said they would not attend the conference, with the latter saying the decision was due to “the constant antisemitic attitudes and the linking of conferences to anti-Israel propaganda and the promotion of intolerance.”

Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, the Netherlands, the UK, and the US also plan to boycott the event.

The only country that boycotted Durban in the past but has yet to state its position this year is Poland. Israel and Poland are currently in a diplomatic dispute over a new Polish law making it nearly impossible for Holocaust survivors and their descendants, as well as other people whose property was confiscated by the former communist regime, to get restitution.

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