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Mordechai Yedid: The New Danger of the Durban Syndrome

By Gad Nahshon

We are sitting peacefully in Jerusalem while a new second Durban conference in New York City in August 2011 is being planned by Israel's enemies. The danger is great! The timing is clear! It links to the coming wish of the Palestinian Authority to declare a free state to be endorsed by the UN's General Assembly in September. It is clearly going to be a new Durban anti-Israeli conference. India and Turkey are among the planners of this conference. The USA already decided not to participate in this new Durban Confe-rence.

It is likely that Benjamin Netanyahu will follow the USA in boycotting this conference as well. But Israel must act quickly in order to influence as many countries as possible to boycott this conference too. Israel should take a lesson from the first Durban Conference held in South-Africa in 2001.

Israel must increase its outreach to the member nations of the UN and the worldwide media. It should also point out that the 9/11 massacre took place only a few months after the timing of the first Durban Conference. Here was one act of hatred followed by a terrible tragedy fueled by more hate. Israel should make clear that the UN has no place supporting any conference spewing hatred, and the anti-Israeli atmosphere surrounding Durban does just that.

Many Arabs and Muslims are working hard in order to push many countries to support their wish. This is a threat to Israel, especially when Abu-Maazen (Abbas), chairman of the Palestinian authority, integrated Hamas into his government. This has only fostered a new dangerous union and partnership for destroying Israel," remarked Mordechai Yedid. Yedid, a former senior Israeli diplomat who served Israel in many countries, is an expert on the UN and its various agencies, and an expert regarding the American Jewish establishment serving Israel in New York City.

Yedid, who met me in Jerusalem, was also a deputy-general director of Israel's foreign ministry in Jerusalem, and now is a lawyer dealing with international issues.

One may wonder why Yedid exposes the new danger to Israel and why he is alerting us to the coming of a new Durban syndrome in New York City. It is because he fights against silence. He clearly identifies with the famous saying by Santayana: "Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it." Yedid certainly feels the risk and the danger in his heart, and that is not surprising, since he was a former head of Israel's delegation to the Durban Conference.

"When Israel decided, at that time, not to send at least a deputy-minister to Durban, South Africa, Ariel Sharon, then prime-minister, told his Foreign Affairs Minister, Shimon Peres, to send Mordecai Yedid. Yedid recalled: "My idea was then to leave this conference as soon as possible before our enemies would be able to smear Israel. I managed to influence the American representative, also, to leave this anti-Israeli conference. It was not only a deadly blow to this conference and to the UN's Secretary-General but also to the UN's Civil Rights Committee."

There was grave concern when the enemies of Israel pressed for the de-legitimization of Israel. Yedid noted the deep hate of the Arabs, Muslims, and their allies, towards Israel and also against the USA. There was the so-called camp of the non-aligned countries, but that was just a misnomer. In reality, they were in the pro-Arab and anti-Israel camp, said Yedid, who was shocked by the degree of hatred that was evident.

Yedid assessed new acts that could improve Israel's fight against the current New York City Durban Conference. As an expert on the Jewish community, he remarked: "We need them. They should use all the channels they have access to in order to help Israel to counter the coming conference. I think that Israel's status inside the Jewish community is strong and stable. I meet many Jewish leaders, such as Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive director of the conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, and I can see their fidelity and devotion to Israel. It is deep inside their roots and soul and we should cultivate it."

The memories of the Durban conference, as well as the organized anti-Israeli demonstrations there and the anti-Israel decisions (which only few countries did not support), pushes Yedid to prevent a repetition of this 'conference', which could be a diplomatic disaster. At the same time, Yedid is aware that the 'soldiers' of this international war are Israel's diplomats who dedicated their lives and time to defend Israel abroad. Therefore, Israel should increase the prestige of these diplomatic warriors as well as their social benefits and pensions. As Bibi Netanyahu often remarks, Israeli 'Hasbara' (Public Relations) is the first war front of Israel.

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