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Friday, April 10, 2009

Will the US attend Durban II?

President Obama still has not announced whether the United States will attend the Durban II conference, which is scheduled to begin in Geneva on April 20. On Wednesday evening, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that he would attend Durban II.
[Eye on the UN editor Anne] Bayefsky points out, "it can be expected that Ahmadinejad will use the opportunity of the UN Durban II global megaphone to continue his genocidal campaign. After all, the current draft text of the Durban II final declaration continues to single out Israel and condemn it as racist by reaffirming the words of the 2001 Durban Declaration."

Will the European Union, Australia, and the United States sit in their seats at Durban II and listen to the hatemongering and anticipated applause?

"Democratic states, having delayed a decision about participation until the final hour," said Bayefsky, "have encouraged Ahmadinejad to believe he has one more opportunity to spread antisemitism and demonize the Jewish state. It is long past the deadline for democracies to pull the plug on Durban II and stop legitimizing a racist anti-racism conference."
In a longer article in The Corner this week, Bayefsky explained how it is that - Obama administration protests to the contrary - the Durban II conference will still condemn Israel.
The first issue discussed today was the central one for American participation. Israel was the only nation criticized by name in the 2001 Durban Declaration, which asserts that Palestinians are victims of Israeli racism. Although the Obama administration stated last month that it would not agree to “reaffirm the Durban Declaration in toto,” paragraph number 1 of the working draft of this year’s declaration “reaffirms the 2001 Durban Declaration as it was adopted.”

Today the European Union indicated that it is satisfied with this language and has no intention of proposing any modification that would bring the Americans onboard. Suggestions had been floating around to reaffirm only “the core provisions from 2001,” or to insert an explanatory footnote with reservations. None of this materialized. It turns out that the EU’s “who gives a damn about the U.S.” position is part of a deal struck with Islamic extremists. As long as the EU reaffirms the denunciation of Israeli racism in Durban I, Islamic states will refrain from introducing more racist-Israel language into Durban II. That’s how the EU does business: Forget the principle — just keep the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) happy.

The EU position should spell the end of Obama’s fence-sitting. The game is up; alleged Israeli racism is going to be “reaffirmed,” since not one country is prepared to oppose it.
Will that convince the Obama administration to stay home? Don't bet on it. After all, if it's good enough for the Europeans, why should 'citizen of the world' Obama be the one to say no?

But believe it or not, it gets even worse.
Meanwhile, the idea of denouncing anti-semitism remains controversial. In this global proclamation about intolerance, there is only one draft paragraph among 141 that briefly mentions “anti-semitism,” and today the South Africans indicated they had problems with that paragraph. The Russian chair of the proceedings announced that he was delaying consideration of the subject and moving its discussion to an unrelated debate over paragraphs concerning freedom of expression.

What’s behind all this? The OIC countries are locked in a struggle with EU states over the ability to stifle free speech (such as “defaming” Islam) in the name of protecting religion. The Russian move helps the OIC nations by letting them use the anti-semitism clause as a bargaining chip, to be played in exchange for the EU’s allowing free-speech restrictions. In a related issue, the Danish are unhappy with the mention of something the U.N. invented called “anti-Arabism.” That phrase has been inserted in the paragraph about discrimination in the form of Islamophobia, Christianophobia and anti-semitism. But the rest of the EU has told the Danes to get lost, on the grounds that if the EU proposes deleting anti-Arabism, the OIC will insist on deleting anti-semitism. As EU officials explain to observers, “We want to show restraint.”

Restraint of course, is a one-way street at the U.N. So the Syrians duly proposed adding a denunciation of “foreign occupation” — a.k.a. Israel. Not one country objected to the Syrian proposal — not even Australia, which until now had not been intimidated by the anti-Israel and anti-democratic forces. According to U.N. rules, this means the proposed language will be added into the draft in “square brackets,” indicating that it is firmly in the mix for the purposes of future deal-making. Syria also said, “later on we will propose further amendments.”
Does anyone really believe that Barack Hussein Obama is going to be the one to stand up for the Jews? Don't hold your breath waiting for it to happen.


At 5:35 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl, I don't entertain any high hopes that America is prepared to stop Iran or even to defend Israel in international fora. Its a new situation and what is clear is regardless of whether the US attends or doesn't attend Durban II, Israel is effectively on its own in dealing with the regional threats before it.


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