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Monday, February 23, 2009

Obama sacrifices Israel - and tries to cover it up

The deafening silence of American ' negotiators' at the Durban II 'preparatory conference' in Geneva can only mean that the Obama administration has turned its back on America's traditional support of the only democracy in the Middle East. The US has stood silent while Israel was called a racist state, while Holocaust denial was worked into the proceedings and while 'Islamophobia' has been enshrined as the number one concern of the world's chattering classes. Why did the Americans go to Geneva? It should be clear by now that they went there because Barack Hussein Obama has decided to try to undo sixty years of relations between the United States and Israel. Just as many of us predicted last year during the election campaign and just as he promised the late Edward Said (pictured with Obama above).

This was written by Anne Bayefsky of UN Watch, who has been watching the Americans in action this past week.
On Friday, State Department officials and a member of the American Durban II delegation claimed the United States had worked actively to oppose efforts to brand Israel as racist in the committee drafting a Durban II declaration. The trouble is that they didn't.

The Feb. 20 State Department press release says the U.S. delegation in Geneva "outline[d] our concerns with the current outcome document" and in particular "our strong reservations about the direction of the conference, as the draft document singles out Israel for criticism." One member of the delegation told The Washington Post: "The administration is pushing back against efforts to brand Israel as racist in this conference." In fact, tucked away in a Geneva hall with few observers, the U.S. had done just the opposite. The U.S. delegates had made no objection to a new proposal to nail Israel in an anti-racism manifesto that makes no other country-specific claims.


Following what was clearly a planned public relations exercise, Washington Post columnist Colum Lynch championed the U.S. bravado in an article based on the story orchestrated by the American delegates. In his Feb. 20 article entitled: "U.S. Holds Firm on Reparations, Israel in U.N. Racism Talks," he fawned: "The Obama administration on Thursday concluded its first round of politically charged U.N. negotiations on racism, pressing foreign governments ... to desist from singling out Israel for criticism in a draft declaration to be presented at a U.N. conference in April."

The reality, however, was nothing of the sort. Instead, Obama's Durban II team slipped easily into the U.N.'s anti-Israel and anti-Jewish environs, taking the approach that "fitting in" was best accomplished by staying silent.

On Tuesday, the Palestinian delegation proposed inserting a new paragraph under the heading "Identification of further concrete measures and initiatives ... for combating and eliminating all manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance..." with the subtitle "General provisions on victims ... of discrimination." The paragraph includes: "Calls for ... the international protection of the Palestinian people throughout the occupied Palestinian territory." In other words, it claims that the Palestinian people are victims of Israeli racism and demands that all U.N. states provide protection from the affronts of the racist Jewish state.

Furthermore, the new Palestinian provision "Calls for ... implementation of international legal obligations, including the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the wall..." This is a dramatic attempt to change an "advisory opinion" into a "legal obligation"--a status which attaches to no advisory opinion. The ICJ decision, which advises that the Israeli security fence is illegal, has always been rejected by the United States--hitherto. And with good reason. The Egyptian judge had voiced his opinion on the result before the case was even heard, in his capacity as a leading Egyptian diplomat. The terms of reference from the General Assembly who asked for the decision, and the documents they laid before the Court, predetermined the outcome. And as the strong dissent by the American judge and Holocaust survivor Tom Buergenthal pointed out, the Court came to its preposterous conclusion that "the right of legitimate or inherent self-defense is not applicable in the present case" without considering "the deadly terrorist attacks to which Israel is being subjected."

But when the Palestinian delegation laid their new proposal before the drafting committee, what did Obama's team do? Nothing, absolutely nothing. They made no objection at all.

It is impossible to argue that their silence was unintended. Over the course of the week's negotiations the American delegation had objected to a number of specific proposals. They had no trouble declaring "we share reservations on this paragraph," in the context of a demand to criminalize profiling. They "called for the deletion" of provisions undermining free speech like the suggestion to "take firm action against negative stereotyping of religions and defamation of religious personalities, holy books, scriptures and symbols."

Their silence when it came to Israel was, therefore, deafening. It also had the very concrete result of not placing the Palestinian paragraph in dispute, and the diplomatic rule of thumb is that paragraphs that have not been flagged as controversial cannot be reopened for discussion, as negotiations finalize an end product.

The Obama team was not only silent on the new "Israel is racist" language, it also said nothing when faced with Holocaust denial. Negotiators from the European Union suggested on Wednesday a new provision to "condemn without reservation any denial of the Holocaust and urges all states to reject denial of the Holocaust as an historical event, either in full, or in part, or any activities to this end." Iran--whose president is a Holocaust-denier--immediately objected and insisted that the proposal be "bracketed" or put in dispute. The move blocked the adoption of the proposal and ensured another battle over the reality of the Holocaust in April--at these supposedly "anti-racism" meetings. After Iran objected, the chair looked around the room, expecting a response. He said: "Is there any delegation wishing to comment on this new proposal by the European Union? It doesn't seem the case. We move on." U.S. delegates said nothing, even after the prompt.

Again, the American silence must have been deliberate. In marked contrast, after the E.U. objected to a provision calling for limits on free speech, the American delegation had no trouble piping up immediately: "I want to echo the comments from the E.U. This ... call for restrictions is something that my government is not able to accept."

Evidently, a U.S. team bent on legitimizing Durban II believed it would be counter-productive to object vigorously to sections most likely to be noticed by Americans skeptical about participation in the conference. They must have figured that no objection would mean no controversy, which in turn would mean there would be no cause for complaint from U.S. observers. That's one way to buy favors on the international stage, but it sure doesn't forward a stated intention of changing the Conference direction. Nor does it promote the ultimate need to change the anti-Semitic and anti-democratic direction of global human rights policy.
Read the whole thing (yes, there's much more).

At least there's one country that won't attend Durban II so long as Binyamin Netanyahu is in power: Israel. Former Meretz MK Naomi Chazan finds that objectionable. In fact, she makes the outrageous claim that Durban I was not racist!
TWO CLAUSES relate directly to Israel. The first, paragraph 63, states that: "We are concerned about the plight of the Palestinian people under foreign occupation. We recognize the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to the establishment of an independent State and we recognize the right to security for all States in the region, including Israel, and call upon all States to support the peace process and bring it to an early conclusion". The subsequent paragraph (64) contains a standard plea for the resolution of the Arab-Israel conflict ("We call for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region in which all peoples shall co-exist and enjoy equality, justice and internationally recognized human rights and security"). Nowhere else in the document is Israel mentioned, let alone singled out.

Admittedly, it is difficult to separate the spirit and the content of the official document from the language and the atmosphere which enveloped the deliberations in Durban. For this reason, Israel's reluctance to take part in any repeat performance is, regardless of one's perspective, understandable.

But is the forthcoming April meeting in Geneva necessarily a "Durban II"? Only if one allows it to develop in that direction. To date, enormous efforts have been made to prevent a recurrence of past events. The venue has been shifted to Geneva. The infamous NGO Forum is, in all likelihood, going to be a poorly attended and streamlined affair. Major foundations have cut all funding for potential participants and indicated in no uncertain terms that they will not countenance any repetition of the Durban fiasco. The official conference is slated to meticulously review the implementation of the DDPA according to stringent guidelines painstakingly created to promote this goal.
Chazan ignores the fact that Israel was the only state so singled out. She ignores the calls for 'concrete measures' "for ... the international protection of the Palestinian people throughout the occupied Palestinian territory." She ignores the calls to implement the ICJ's incredibly biased and baseless 'advisory opinion' on the 'fence.' Or more likely she agrees with them.

Naomi Chazan doesn't represent Israel anymore. Her Meretz party garnered three seats in Israel's 18th Knesset. And now you understand why.

Most of us Israelis don't hate ourselves anymore.


At 3:13 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Yep. Israeli Jews are sick and tired not just of the foreign Israel-bashing; they have little tolerance for political parties at home that justify and understand this sick phenomenon.

As for the Hopenchange Administration's sacrifice of Israel at the Durban II prepatory proceedings, this hostile act towards the Jewish State will not go unnoticed under a Likud government. The US has no credibility to ask Israel for dangerous concessions when it won't even defend its ally from the most outrageous libel and slander directed against it on the world stage.

At 3:38 AM, Blogger Freedom's Cost said...

Unfortunately you are wrong Norman, Bibi talks a good game but in reality he folds like a cheap camera. He's already betrayed the Israeli electorate by trying to form a coalition with Tzippi and Ehud.

If you expect him to stand up to Obama you will be sorely disappointed.

At 3:51 AM, Blogger christine said...

is any one surprised...he security guy is anti israel...we all saw this coming and worked hard to get the truth out about obama..bu the media is covering for him every step of the way.....i only wished our jewish friends here in america .listened to us..it's gonna be a tough 4 years for everyone..obama going to banrupt america and hope fully we well still come out of this strong as i know israel well too....

At 4:05 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Freedom, that is exactly why Israelis voted for parties to the Likud's right. Bibi's spine is lacking and needs a transplant. If he wasn't accompanied by a strong set of brakes, he is liable to be worse than even Ehud Olmert. It looks like he will get his worst nightmare. And that's probably the best news of all!

At 4:25 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

"At least there's one country that won't attend Durban II so long as Binyamin Netanyahu is in power: Israel. "

Don't forget about Canada! Under Stephen Harper, Canada was the first country to withdraw from the Durban 2 proceedings.

While I am at it, check out this inspiring speech by the Canadian Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multi-culturalism, Jason Kenney.


While the US is throwing their historic alliance with Israel down the drain, Canada is only making it stronger.

At 6:06 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I am American-born and not surprised that Obama is 'silent' towards Israel! He only cares about the 'minorities', not Jews and never Whites. Us Americans pray for the Jewish people and Israel! We love you and pray for your Nation of Israel! Obama will definitely be the end of the U.S. as I have known it to be. I will keep up to date on this issue, and if need be, I will contact the White House and let Obama know that Americans are disgusted with his sacrifice of Israel, the ARE our allies and ALWAYS will be!


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