Photo Credit: Buitenlandse Zaken (Dutch Foreign Ministry)
Earlier today, Maxime Verhagen, Foreign Minister of the Netherlands, threatened that his country would not participate in the planned UN Anti-Racism Conference, which is to take place in Geneva in April 2009.
Verhagen said that
Nederland zal er niet aan meewerken dat deze top, net zoals de vorige, ontaard in een antisemitische hetze (Foreign Affairs press release).The Netherlands will not take part if this conference, like the previous one, turns into antisemitic agitation [my rough translation - Dutch speakers, please correct mistakes!]
He objected to a draft that accused Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinians. The minister has also opposed moves by Islamic member states to issue a declaration against "blasphemy" at the conference, and he has initiated a UN declaration calling for a decriminalization of homosexuality.
A Dutch boycott of "Durban II" would be a significant blow to the conference and may result in boycotts by other European nations. At a talk about the conference that I attended recently, one audience member, who had recently interviewed Verhagen, expressed skepticism about the likelihood of the Dutch delegation walking out of the conference. Hillel Neuer of UN Watch, on the other hand, suggested that it was a real possibility.