The Durban Conference

BY ISL, the RCIT section in Israel (Occupied Palestine), 17.9.2021

The First Conference 

In August 31, 2001, the first Durban Conference converged in South Africa’s coastal city of Durban to discuss discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerances. In that conference Zionism was declared to be racism. The meeting attracted 2,300 representatives from 163 countries, including 16 heads of state, 58 foreign ministers, and 44 ministers. The Durban Conference aimed to combat the legacies of slavery, imperialism, and colonialism.

The four-and-a-half centuries of transatlantic slave trade, this resulted in the transportation of 12 to 15 million Africans to the Caribbean and the Americas. Many delegates at the Durban summit expected African leaders such as South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki, Nigeria’s Olusegun Obasanjo and Senegal’s Abdoulaye Wade to confront major powers such as Britain, the United States, and Japan for their crimes and even India, whose representatives had threatened to leave the meeting in protest against any mention of their crimes against humanity and in the case of India it protested any denunciation of the caste systems, the African representatives decided to accept political compromises. This exposed these leaders as vassals of the imperialist and the racist regime in India.

The Second Conference 

 On 22 September 2021, the United Nations will convene another meeting to mark the 20th anniversary of the Durban Declaration; No UN sanctions against Israel came out of the first conference. Nevertheless, the second conference is important event as it shows what states in addition to American imperialism support the Zionist apartheid. Altogether 18 states support racism in general and racist Zionism and Israel in particular. Among them: Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary ,Greece, New Zealand, Cyprus and Netherlands that have announced that they will boycott the conference due to the fact Israel will be denounced.

This event takes place in time the capitalist class use Bonapartist’s regimes to attack the democratic and social rights of the working class and the oppressed, under the cover of fighting Covid. At the same time we see the growing resistance of the popular classes to the exploitation and oppression aimed at forcing the working masses to pay for the historical capitalist economic crisis. Since 2020 we have seen the growing of Black Lives Matter movement in the US, the defeat of American imperialism in Afghanistan, the struggle of the masses against the military rule of Myanmar, the growing resistance in Latin America and the growing resistance of the Palestinians against the Zionist apartheid.

The States that Block the Conference

The friends of the Zionist apartheid boycott the second Durban conference at a time when Bennett the far right Prime Minister of Israel has announced: “I oppose a Palestinian state — I think it would be a terrible mistake,” he said. “I won’t do that“. (1)

Under Zionist apartheid, “One member or all members of almost each Palestinian family have been detained. There are some Palestinians who have been detained several times. Prisons, detention camps and interrogation centers have been established in almost all parts of Palestine. Since occupying the Palestinian Territory in 1967, Israeli Occupation Forces have detained about 750,000 Palestinian citizens from all parts of Palestine of whom 12,000 women and tens of thousands of children. Detention also included Palestinian martyrs where the Israeli Occupation Forces still detain tens of corpses of male and female martyrs killed during Al-Aqsa Intifada; in addition to hundreds of corpses of martyrs killed in previous years” (2)
What the political prisoners are suffering we can learn from the case of the escaped prisoners. “Avigdor Feldman, a veteran Israeli human rights lawyer representing Zakaria Zubeidi one of the prisoners who escaped from the Gilboa prison told the Associated Press that Zubeidi is suffering a broken jaw and two broken ribs while in handcuffs. A lawyer for Mohammed al-Arida, who was captured along with Zubeidi, said that his client was beaten during his arrest before being taken to a nearby police station, where he was stripped naked and subjected to hours of interrogation. The lawyer, Khaled Mahajneh, told the local Al-Jarmaq news outlet that his client has a visible head wound and has been continuously interrogated since then with little sleep“. (3) The police of course denies it but it refuse to meet with Israeli reporters and answer their questions.

He said Zakaria, and then he was beaten very badly,” Avigdor Feldman told The Associated Press. Israel police denied the allegation.

Thus these states that boycott the Durban Conference support the Zionist apartheid from the river to the sea. This should not surprise us as some of the same states like Austria, France, Germany and the Netherlands, opposed sanctions on the South African apartheid almost until the end of that regime. They joined the boycott movement only to save their investments in South Africa and their fear that the ANC and the SACP will not be able to control the uprising. 

With politicians showing unusual agreement among themselves and media focused on the “global” tribute to Nelson Mandela, there has been unanimous praise in France for the South African leader and the struggle against apartheid he embodied. However, when Mandela was still laying in jail for life, things were very different. France and its major corporations were among the most loyal supporters of Pretoria’s racist regime, to which they sold arms, nuclear and industrial technologies, in total disregard of UN sanctions. At the time, there was little protest.” (4)

Austria introduced sanctions against apartheid-South Africa. After Nelson Mandela’s release from prison in 1991 the sanctions were suspended and finally lifted in 1993. During the same year President De Klerk visited Austria and met with the Austrian President and Chancellor”. (5)

“For decades the Press and Information Department of the South African Embassy in Bonn has been operating with considerable skill and apparently unlimited financial resources for a one-sided pro-white policy and propaganda. The Department distributes a glossy and expensive publication throughout the Federal Republic of Germany and relies upon various groups especially in West German trade, commerce and industry. These groups bound together in a close network of mainly economic relations between South Africa and the Federal Republic of Germany have one aim in common: to defend their own interests”. (6)

“With the introduction of apartheid policy in 1948, the relations between South Africa and the Netherlands continued without change. The Netherlands’ government took note of the new policy being introduced, but appeared to believe that there was no real cause for alarm… Although discussions on apartheid took place, and the United Nations (UN) General Assembly criticized the policy, 14 most countries, including the Netherlands, believed that the UN had no rig the next important event to impact on the Netherlands’ government was the Soweto uprising of 1976. Once again there was an outcry in the Netherlands, and across the world, about the racially discriminatory policy of South Africa. The Netherlands’government declared that the uprising was the expected outcome of the discriminatory South African policy. Solidarity was shown with those fighting apartheid, but by this time the most decisive actions within the Netherlands were being taken by the anti-apartheid movements rather than by the Netherlands’ government. The to comment on apartheid as it fell within the realm of the domestic affairs of South Africa.” (7)

In the case of Israel it supported the apartheid in South Africa until the end:

“Many Israelis recoil at suggestions that their country, raised from the ashes of genocide and built on Jewish ideals, could be compared to a racist regime. Yet for years the bulk of South Africa’s Jews not only failed to challenge the apartheid system but benefited and thrived under its protection, even if some of their number figured prominently in the liberation movements. In time, Israeli governments too set aside objections to a regime whose leaders had once been admirers of Adolf Hitler. Within three decades of its birth, Israel’s self-proclaimed “purity of arms” – what it describes as the moral superiority of its soldiers – was secretly sacrificed as the fate of the Jewish state became so intertwined with South Africa that the Israeli security establishment came to believe the relationship saved the Jewish state.” (8)

In 1948 Israel relied on volunteers Jews and not Jews from imperialist states in what was called Machal, among them pilots from South Africa: “Boris Senior, an ex-South African Air Force World War II pilot, joined Sherut Avir in December 1947 and soon after was sent to South Africa to recruit air and ground personnel and to acquire aircraft. He purchased DC-3 medium transports and other aircraft; set up a dummy airline to facilitate the transfer of planes; test-flew the IAF’s first Spitfire; served as a fighter pilot with the 101 Squadron; and held important staff positions”.(9)

While the Zionists claims that the boycott of Durban conference shows the solidarity with Israel the fact that only 10% of the states in the world will boycott the conference shows the growing isolation of the Zionist state amongst the masses in most countries.

The Zionist and the SA Apartheids 

It is interesting to compare the statements of the supporters of the apartheid regimes in South Africa and Israel against the boycott.

Israel denounced its condemnation by UN resolutions as hypocrisy that signals out Israel alone

Instead of acting to advance human rights across the world, the Council continues to engage in an obsessive and biased manner against Israel, effectively being a political platform in the hands of countries who have absolutely no connection to human rights,”(10)

2 In Israel the Zionists and their friends claim that sanctions against Israel are immoral and anti-Semitic

“ADL believes that the founding goals of the BDS movement and many of the strategies used by BDS campaigns are anti-Semitic. While there are people who support BDS but are not anti-Semitic, the campaign is founded on a rejection of Israel’s very existence as a Jewish state. It denies the Jewish people the right to self-determination – a right universally afforded to other groups. In ADL’s view, this differs from legitimate criticism of Israel and is anti-Semitic”.(11)

3. That it hurts the Palestinian workers: “In actuality, BDS hurts the very people it professes to help, while contributing to stalling the peace process in the same breath. While BDS can (and does) target any Israeli company (including those working in Israel proper), it has focused on Israeli-owned companies that operate in the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria/the West Bank with a greater vengeance. When BDS aimed their campaign against Soda Stream in 2015, the company closed down their primary manufacturing plant in Ma‘ale Adumim (in the West Bank), due to the international pressure it received. Soda Stream then moved its operational headquarters to Lehavim (in Southern Israel), where it was recently sold for $3.2 billion and it continues to prosper as a company, employing both Jewish and Arab Israeli workers. This untimely boycott hurt Israel far less than it did the over 500 Palestinian workers that Soda Stream was forced to lay off as a result—employees who worked to support their families in good job conditions with a competitive wage had to start from scratch due to a movement that supposedly has Palestinian best interests at heart.”(12)

The supporters of South African apartheid argued:

Those who support the sanction are singling out SA:

One is led to believe that the demonstrators calling for American companies to divest themselves of their South African holdings care deeply about the victims of discrimination and violence in that country. But the evidence suggests they are preoccupied more with ideology than with people. Suppose you observed that I was frequently outraged by persecution of Christians, but never by persecution of Jews. You would be justified in suspecting that it was not religious freedom in itself that I valued… “But these are the same people who respond to Communist totalitarianism – which, unlike South Africa’s system, deprives all of its citizens of human rights – by calling for an increase in cultural exchanges, an expansion of trade and tourism, cautious rhetoric to encourage ”moderate” elements in the regime, and a continuing search for ”common areas of agreement and concern. ”(13)

Sanctions against South Africa only hurts the black workers

“Sanctions are immoral; they will hurt South Africa’s blacks more than the whites and 3. That at any rate sanctions is impracticable. The champion of this “no-sanction-business” is Britain’s Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, who observed towards the close of the Commonwealth Meeting that sanctions would only harm the blacks and frontline states and so she would not like to be accused of causing’ greater hardship to the people of South Africa.’2 Mrs Thatcher also warned that imposition of sanctions would hurt the British economy as well as render some 250,000 British workers jobless. In addition to giving a new angle to the sanction debate, she obviously picked up this theme to impress the British voters“.(14)

In fact, the measures are wide-ranging and will’ have a significant impact. The ban on agricultural product imports, for example, will cause the loss of almost 450,000 black jobs. Since each South African worker on average supports five persons, over 2 million blacks would lose their primary means of support. The bans on imports of coal, iron, steel, and textiles would entail the loss of some 187,000 jobs, and some 940,000 would suffer as a consequence. Just from these measures alone, then, some 3 million blacks—roughly”(15)

Thus when racists speaks of their concern for the exploited and oppressed by them you better check not only their pockets and their bank accounts, but for their hidden machine guns and bombs. As a matter of fact these arguments were raised by the defenders of slavery saying that “Slavery is a benign school in which blacks fared better than freedmen.”(16)

These arguments are even older than slavery. The inquisition while torturing their victims after they robbed them, told them that they do it only to save their souls from the devil and hell.

Free all Palestinian political prisoners!

Support the boycott of Israel!

Down with the Zionist apartheid state from the river to the sea!

For Palestine red and free from the river to sea!







6 Lenelotte von Bothmer notes and documents opposition to apartheid in The Federal Republic Of Germany 1981










16 John David Smith A Different View of Slavery: Black historians attack the proslavery argument 1890-1920 Jstor 

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