Considering that Libya and Iran are going to be running this show, there is really not much to be done except take shelter.
Israel and the U.S. decided a few weeks ago to boycott the Durban II conference scheduled for early 2009 and likely to harshly criticize Israel's human rights record unless they receive firm guarantees that the event will not turn into anti-Israel festival.
The September 2001 conference in Durban, South Africa had been slated to deal with racism and xenophobia, sponsored by South Africa, the UN Human Rights Commission and the UN non-aligned states a body dominated by Arab states.
The conference was attended by official government delegations, as well as non-government organizations who dictated a hard anti-Israel and anti-Semitic line.
The attacks on Israel included accusations of apartheid, that Zionism is racism, and that the Holocaust is not a unique event but similar to other events in history.
Delegates also said Israel was "born in sin," the result of ethnic cleansing of Arabs and that in the present, it is committing genocide against Palestinians.
U.S. and Israel's representatives walked out of the conference in protest at these attacks.
Israel and world Jewish organizations have begun a campaign against the upcoming conference, although it still has no final date or location. In February, the Foreign Ministry held its first coordinating meeting and another will be held next month in Geneva, under the auspices of the UN Watch monitoring group, and will discuss strategies to prevent anti-Semitism and attacks on Israel at the follow-up conference.
So far, Canada has announced plans to boycott the conference and Israel is trying to convince other countries to make their participation conditional on preventing a similar agenda.
Jerusalem estimates that conference organizers will try to blur the real agenda until the last minute to draw in as many UN members as possible. "We are concerned this time too there will be criticism and an anti-Semitic attack," a Foreign Ministry official said. "What can you expect from a conference whose organizers include Cuba, Iran and North Korea."
On Wednesday, many major U.S. newspapers ran an advertisement signed by 25 public figures including former politicians, religious leaders and intellectuals, calling on the government to boycott the conference. Signatories included Nobel Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, former CIA chief James Woolsey and law professor Alan Dershowitz. The signatories called on Rice to announce a boycott of the conference, denouncing it as a platform for anti-Semitism "slated to encourage hatred of Israel and the U.S."
The U.S. decision to boycott the conference came in coordination with Israel. The two countries agreed to publish a joint statement similar to Livni's recent announcement that Israel plans to boycott the conference as long as it serves as a platform for anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment.
A Jerusalem official expressed regret that there appears to be no change in the conference's agenda. "Israel is sorry that the UN secretary general and the UN Human Rights Commission are not doing enough to change the content despite their dissatisfaction.
"This is another example of how a UN-sponsored conference to fight racism and xenophobia is about to become an arena for extreme political Israel-bashing, while ignoring areas in the world where racism, religious persecution and intolerance of foreigners, are rampant."
Israel plans to continue combating the planned conference content together with Jewish groups and the U.S. and Canadian governments.