On April 20-24, 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland, the United Nations will host the “Durban Review Conference,” – a follow-up to the 2001 UN World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance (WCAR). As mandated by the UN General Assembly, the Human Rights Council of the United Nations (UNHRC) is responsible for organizing and convening the event “towards the effective and comprehensive implementation” of the conclusions and recommendations of WCAR, and to continue the “global drive for the total elimination of racism.”
Sounds good doesn’t it; after all who is not in favor of ending racism? However the truth is that the conference has nothing to do with racism; it is, like its predecessor conference (Durban I), part of a campaign to coordinate the diplomatic and legal war against Israel, an attempt to outlaw any criticism of Islam and a complete fraud having nothing to do with human rights.
The conference to be held in April is better known as Durban II, the sequel to the first such conference held in South Africa in September, 2001. That conference was transformed into an anti-Semitic diatribe reminiscent of Nazi Germany. America under George Bush honorably refused to participate; but not this time around under B. Hussein Obama.
Ironically the timing of the Durban II conference also sends a message to the world that it is intended to demean Israel as it will take place in Geneva, Switzerland, at a time overlapping Israel's annual observance of Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Memorial Day, on April 21. It is incredibly insulting that a conference organized by the United Nations, which gave birth to Israel in 1948 out of the ashes of the Holocaust, promises to repeat its shameful performance of 2001 by again allowing unbridled hatred, condemnation and slander of Israel.
As opposed to the Bush Administration, the Obama Administration is objecting to an automatic boycott and is attempting to change the event's tone via negotiations. However the wording of the previous Durban conference decision is already in the UN's lexicon, and therefore it would be impossible to achieve more than minor changes in the harsh anti-Israel text.
Israel and Canada already announced that they will not participate in the controversial conference and some European countries are also considering doing the same. However if the United states attends, then other countries that boycotted the earlier conference will likely find it politically expedient to reverse the boycott and join the United States in legitimizing this overt anti-Israel and anti-freedom of expression conference.
The Americans are hoping that dialogue would prompt the conference to address what the US views as genuine problems of racism worldwide. However, this is ridiculous since Libya, Cuba and Iran (all members of the UN Human Rights council) have achieved unanimity with all Islamic countries to condemn Israel and silence criticism of Islam. Furthermore, no Islamic country is noted for its human rights; any belief that they will solve "problems of racism worldwide" is idiotic.
The roughly 100 clauses that various states are attempting to include in a conference decision extensively criticizes Israel for human rights abuses and does not accept that the United Nations itself created the state of Israel.
Among the provisions sought to become international law are clauses that aim to make any attack on Islam a criminal offense and calls "on states to develop, and where appropriate to incorporate, permissible limitations on the exercise of the right to freedom of expression into national legislation." Yes, you read that right. The transparent purpose is to criminalize all criticism of Islam, a.k.a. "Islamophobia”.
The Obama administration actually sent representatives to participate in the so-called “planning” for the Durban II conference in February. However since the stated purpose of the Durban II conference is to review and implement the declarations adopted at the UN's anti-Israel hate-fest that took place in Durban I, there is no possibility that the US representatives could have had any affect on the conference preparations or conference outcome.
At Durban I, both the UN-sponsored NGO conclave and the UN's governmental conference passed declarations denouncing Israel as a racist state. The NGO conference called for a coordinated international campaign aimed at delegitimizing Israel and the right of the Jewish people to self-determination, and belittling the Holocaust.
The NGO conference also called for curbs on freedom of expression throughout the world in order to prevent critical discussion of Islam. As far as the world's leading NGOs - including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch - were concerned, critical discussions of Islam are inherently racist.
In defending US participation in the Durban II planning sessions, Gordon Duguid, the State Department's spokesman, argued, "If you are not engaged, you don't have a voice. We wanted to put forward our view and see if there is some way we can make the document [which sets the agenda and dictates the outcome of the Durban II conference] a better document than it appears it is going to be."
However, as I said, this naïve expectation is absurd for two reasons.
First, since the stated purpose of the Durban II conference is to oversee the implementation of the first Durban conference's decisions, and since those decisions include the anti-Israel assertion that Israel is a racist state, it is clear that the Durban II conference is inherently, and necessarily, anti-Israel.
The second reason that both the State Department and the White House should have realized that they are powerless to affect the conference's agenda is because that agenda was already set in previous planning sessions chaired by the likes of Libya, Cuba, Iran and Pakistan; and that agenda includes multiple assertions of the basic illegitimacy of the Jewish people's right to self-determination. The conference agenda also largely adopted the language of the Durban I conference that called for the criminalization of critical discussion of Islam as a form of hate speech and racism. That is, the Durban II conference's agenda is not only openly anti-Israel, it is also openly pro-tyranny, and antithetical to US constitutional First Amendment right of free expression.
In any case, the Islamic bloc, supported by the Third World bloc, has an automatic voting majority. Beyond insignificant wording changes, the US has no ability whatsoever to change the conference's agenda or expected outcome.
The position of President Obama and his administration clearly shows that the United States will no longer support Israel unconditionally. Since it came to office a month ago, every single Middle East policy the Obama administration has announced has been against Israel's national security interests.
Just consider: President Barack Obama's intense desire to appease Iran's mullahs in open discussions; his stated commitment to establish a Palestinian state as quickly as possible despite the Palestinians' open rejection of Israel's right to exist and support for terrorism; his expressed support for the so-called Saudi peace plan, which would require Israel to commit national suicide by contracting to within indefensible borders and accepting millions of hostile, foreign-born Arabs as citizens and residents of the Jewish state; his decision to end US sanctions against Syria and return the US ambassador to Damascus; every single concrete policy Obama has set forth harms Israel.
Recently Professor Anne Bayefsky, the senior editor of the EyeontheUN Web site, said that by participating in the planning sessions the US is accepting the conference's anti-Israel agenda. Bayefsky reported that at the planning session in Geneva, the Palestinian delegation proposed that a paragraph be added to the conference's agenda. Their draft "calls for implementation of... the advisory opinion of the ICJ [International Court of Justice] on the wall, [i.e., Israel's security fence], and the international protection of Palestinian people throughout the occupied Palestinian territory." The American delegation raised no objection to the Palestinian draft.
By not objecting to this Palestinian draft, not only did the US effectively accept the ICJ's authority, for practical purposes it granted the anti-Israel claim that whatever Israel does is a violation of human rights (and not for self defense).
This assertion aligns with the language already in the Durban II agenda, which calls Israel's Law of Return racist. This law, which grants automatic citizenship to any Jew who wishes to live here, is the embodiment of Jewish nation and the vehicle through which the Jewish people has built a nation-state. In alleging that the Law of Return is racist, the Durban II conference asserts that the Jews have no right to self-determination in their homeland.
As Bayefsky and others argued this week, by entering into the Durban preparatory process, the US has done two things. First, it has made it all but impossible for European countries like France, Britain, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands, which were all considering boycotting the conference, to do so. They cannot afford to be seen as more opposed to its anti-Israel and anti-freedom agenda than Israel's closest ally and the world's greatest democracy. So just by participating in the planning sessions the US has legitimized a clearly bigoted, morally illegitimate process, making it impossible for Europe to disengage.
Second, through its behavior at the Geneva planning sessions this week, the US has demonstrated that State Department protestations aside, the administration has no interest in changing the agenda in any serious way. The US delegation's decision not to object to the Palestinian draft, as well its silence in the face of Iran's rejection of a clause in the conference declaration that mentioned the Holocaust, show the US did not join the planning session to change the tenor of the conference but that the US is participating in the planning sessions because it wishes to participate in the conference.
The United Nations again dishonors itself by encouraging this conference to reconvene in the hands of terrorist states. How can the United States possibly be a part of this insanity? If we join this cabal, we not only dishonor Israel we dishonor ourselves. Obama should do as President Bush did and boycott Durban II to deny the world's Islamic terrorists and bigots the privilege of our legitimizing presence among them.