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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Durban II - Hatefest on the Horizon

From August 31 to September 7, 2001, the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance was held in Durban, South Africa. Don't let the lofty goals on the conference's web site fool you about what went on there. The conference was all about bashing Jews and Israel. Four days later, four planes were hijacked in the United States. Two of them went crashing into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon and a fourth was brought down by its passengers in a field in Western Pennsylvania killing all aboard. The timing was no coincidence.

The United States and Israel walked out of the conference in disgust. Here's why:
Given the history of anti-Israel proclamations from the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva, and the hate-filled anti-Israel environment of the previous U.N. Conferences, we did not ready ourselves to go to Durban with our eyes closed. While we continued to participate in White House-sponsored town meetings across the U.S., presenting ADL programs as "best practices" for implementation in other countries, it became clear from the draft declaration that Durban would not begin a new chapter in the fight against racism, but retread old anti-Israel canards. One again charges of "Zionism equals racism," accusations of Israel of being an apartheid state and of practicing "ethnic cleansing" would be the mantra. The Palestinian experience is equated with the Holocaust even as the draft declaration diminishes the Holocaust. UN Human Rights Commissioner and conference organizer Mary Robinson claimed that this would be a "forward looking" gathering. In practice, this theatrical showcase for haters of Israel sets the fight against racism and discrimination backwards.

The reports from ADL representatives monitoring the proceedings in Durban confirmed our worst fears. Participants in this week's NGO Forum and Youth Summit were bombarded with unbridled statements and demonstrations of hate aimed at Jews, Israel, Zionism, and the U.S. With support from conference organizers and panel moderators, NGO speakers ignored their own agendas to digress into familiar Israel bashing and baiting. Jewish students distributing flowers while singing "all we are saying is give peace a chance" were drowned out by a large crowd holding Palestinian flags and banners, denouncing "Israeli apartheid" and calling for a continuation of the Intifada. Even a modest attempt by the Jewish organizations in Durban from around the world to present their concerns in a press conference were interrupted by protesters shouting anti- Israel epithets.
Now the newly revamped 'Human Rights Council,' which has already shown itself to be as bad or worse than its predecessor, is planning a second Durban Conference - to follow up on the first one. The conference will take place next year. And the 'Human Rights Council' is planning it this week and next in Geneva. You are about to see two videos from the planning session - one from Monday and one from Tuesday. In the Monday video, you will see the 'preparatory committee' spend 3/4 of the first day debating accreditation of a Jewish NGO - the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy (CIJA). Don't worry - it's condensed into a few minutes! In the end, no decision has been made yet on this NGO and the question will be taken up again this coming Monday, with the 'planning conference' already more than half over.

In the second (Tuesday) video, you will see Eye on the UN director Anne Bayefsky courageously lambaste the 'Human Rights Council' for following the previous conference's agenda of hatred and anti-Semitism. Let's go to the videotapes:

If you haven't seen it already, you may also wish to see this ad (pdf), which appeared in several major newspapers across the United States on April 3.


At 1:31 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

The UN is the main nexus of Israel-bashing and anti-Semitism - and has been for decades. Given the world organization's obsession with Israel, one might be forgiven for thinking no other conflicts or crises exist on the planet.

For such a small people, the Jews have exercised humanity attention ever since they came into being and will continue to do so into the future.

At 6:17 PM, Blogger Ashan said...

The logo of this hatefest looks like a swastika. How appropriate!


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