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Durban II: An Early Test By: Joseph Klein
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Less than three months after Barack Obama will be sworn in as the next president of the United States, he will have to decide whether or not to participate in a replay of the ignominious hatefest known as the United Nations Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, held in Durban, South Africa in 2001. The follow-up to that conference, the Durban Review of the United Nations World Conference Against Racism, is scheduled to take place in Geneva, Switzerland during April of 2009 (“Durban II”).

 

The Bush administration has announced that as long as Durban II was following along the same destructive path as its predecessor conference, the United States would boycott it as Israel and Canada have decided to do. Will President-elect Obama succumb to pressure from his constituency on the Left and from African, Arab, and other non-Western nations to reverse the Bush administration’s decision? If so, he will fail a major early test of his presidency. However, if Obama and his advisors do not gloss over the atrocious events that occurred at the 2001 conference and carefully examine the planning documents for Durban II, as well as who is driving the agenda, they may come to support the boycott.

 

The 2001 conference was a perversion of its original stated purpose to combat racism and intolerance. Muslim nations hijacked its agenda with proposals to condemn Zionism as “racist,” reviving the notorious UN General Assembly resolution equating Zionism with racism that was passed in 1975 and revoked in 1991. African leaders, with support from radical civil rights activists in the United States who included members of President-elect Obama’s former Trinity United Church of Christ, called for slavery reparations from the United States and other Western nations. Meanwhile, Sudan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe, and other centers of racism, intolerance and human rights atrocities were given a free pass.

 

Despite the high-sounding words in its planning documents condemning the wrongs of slavery, colonialism, intolerance and discrimination, which are meant to fool the gullible, Durban II is being run by some of the most racist, anti-Semitic countries on earth. Iran, for example, is a Vice-Chair of the Bureau of the Preparatory Committee responsible for planning Durban II. With substantial inputs from the Organization of the Islamic Conference and from regional groups of developing nations, particularly the African delegation, they are busy producing drafts of the final “outcome” document for the conference that drip with hatred for Israel and the West and that display utter contempt for freedom.

 

The United States and Israel walked out of the 2001 Durban conference in disgust with the anti-Semitic, anti-Western direction it was taking. U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad explained why the Bush administration decided not to participate in Durban II at all under present circumstances:

 

The U.S. voted against [resolutions to convene Durban II] because we do not believe there will be a meaningful review of any of the problematic aspects of the original Durban Conference, and that therefore the expenditure of any UN funds on preparatory meetings or the "review" conference itself would be a colossal and irresponsible waste of such funds…We will not participate unless it is proven that the conference will not be used as a platform for anti-Semitic behavior.

 

Durban II, like its predecessor 2001 hatefest, is a perfect example of how the United Nations is being used to wrap an evil agenda into a package that purports to advance the lofty goals of promoting human rights and combating racism. The planners of Durban II aim to focus the agenda on (1) demonizing Israel as a racist, apartheid state; (2) pushing for concrete reparations measures to recompense the “descendents” of the victims of slavery, colonialism and discrimination; and (3) making the criticism of Islam a violation of international law on the grounds that it is hate speech unworthy of protection.

 

To add insult to injury, as an official project of the equally odious UN Human Rights Council the Durban II travesty is being funded out of the regular UN budget to the tune of nearly seven million dollars. As the journalist and UN critic Claudia Rosett explained, “Americans, as top contributors to the UN budget, can look forward not only to being vilified at Durban II…but also to picking up the biggest share of the tab for this next landmark U.N. exercise in bigotry.”

 

Here are just a few excerpts from the Durban II planners’ most recent “Draft Outcome Document.” While not the final version, which will be adopted during the conference itself next April, the drafting is in an advanced enough stage by the conference planners to provide a clear warning to President-elect Obama and his advisors of where things are headed:

 

Israel is guilty of “a new kind of apartheid, a crime against humanity, a form of genocide and a serious threat to international peace and security”;

 

Palestinians “are prevented from returning to their homes and properties because of a racially based law of return”;

 

The international community has the responsibility “to provide international protection for the Palestinian people under occupation against aggression, acts of racism, intimidation and denial of fundamental human rights, including the rights to life, liberty and self-determination”;

 

"…the most serious manifestations of defamation of religions are the increase in Islamophobia and the worsening of the situation of Muslim minorities around the world”

 

“As the existing national laws and courts have failed to address the issue, internationally binding normative standards need to be devised that can provide adequate guarantees against defamation of religions and religious intolerance…National laws alone cannot deal with the rising tide of defamation and hatred against Muslims.”

 

As with so many other things, President-elect Obama has not enunciated his position on Durban II. If he is persuaded to participate, he would be pursuing the false hope that U.S. support for a marquee UN-sponsored event purporting to address racism will help to rebuild our standing in the world. He would be acting under the illusion that he is helping to build bridges to the 57 member Organization of Islamic Conference which is making Durban II its centerpiece against Islamophobic “hate speech.”

 

The anti-racist theme of Durban II and its focus on the concerns of Africans, with whom Obama understandably feels a natural kinship as a Kenyan man’s son, are also strong lures for him to decide to participate. No doubt African leaders, civil rights activists and the Black Caucus, all of whom were active in the 2001 conference, will try to push that emotional button. They can be expected to argue that the Durban II conference is a powerful symbol on the world stage against the remnants of slavery and colonialism, which the first African-American president of the United States must honor.

                                                

How can Obama resist this pull toward participating in Durban II? The answer is simple but requires intellectual honesty and moral courage. As president of all of the Americans and as the leader of the free world, Barack Obama must learn to see through the cynical use of the language of human rights and anti-racism to justify bigotry, hatred, Islamic supremism, and an all-out assault on freedom of expression. He must reject the imposters who are running Durban II and who are perverting the real fight against racism about which he spoke at length in the speech he delivered last spring in Philadelphia.

 

It would be a tragic mistake for the United States to lend any legitimacy to this UN propaganda forum for Islamic extremists and other enemies of freedom. We will pay the price of appeasement for at least the next four years if we do.



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