Israel and the United States have decided to conduct a coordinated boycott of an upcoming United Nations human rights conference, according to Israeli government sources cited by Ha'aretz.
The Israeli officials said Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice discuss the conference, scheduled for next year, when the latter was in Jerusalem earlier in the week.
Israel and the US will reportedly refuse to attend the conference unless the UN and participating nations can offer firm guarantees that it will not descend into an Israel-bashing circus.
A similar conference held in Durban, South Africa in 2001 was quickly dominated by Arab and Muslim states, which hijacked the agenda and turned the focus of the event solely on Israel and its conflict with the Palestinians. The Durban conference concluded with a declaration labeling Israel a racist and apartheid state, while almost completely ignoring the numerous human rights crises around the world.
A full-page ad taken out in the New York Times, the Washington Post and other major US newspapers on Thursday called on the Bush Administration to openly refuse to attend the upcoming conference and to denounce its anti-Semitic agenda. The ad was endorsed by Nobel laureate Eli Wiesel, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, former CIA Director James Woolsey and other leading political, academic and religious figures.