anne bayefsky 248 88.
(photo credit: Courtesy )
News broke Friday and Saturday that the Czech Republic, Italy and The Netherlands have decided to pull out of the upcoming UN “anti-racism” extravaganza known as Durban III. Canada, Israel, and the United States have already given thumbs down to the event, which the UN is bringing to US shores on September 22, 2011. While Americans will be mourning the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the United Nations in New York will be “commemorating” the 10th anniversary of the first Durban conference – an outpouring of the kind of intolerance and xenophobia which fuels terrorism in the first place.
The Czech, Italian and Dutch moves come a few days after U.N. negotiators quietly circulated a draft of the final declaration that will be adopted at the conclusion of Durban III. Although the writing had been on the wall for a very long time, the alarm bells could no longer be ignored. The “political declaration” focuses particularly on what it calls “victims of racism.” And the Durban Declaration emanating from South Africa names only one state victimizer – Israel. The Palestinian people are listed as victims of racism.
The Zionism-is-racism mantra, the Durban formula being its most recent incarnation, has been circulating around the UN for decades. It is the cornerstone of the effort to delegitimize the Jewish state and invoke lethal politics when other weaponry falls short. These days, the campaign is headquartered in a working group of the UN General Assembly that is tasked with squaring the circle: reaffirming the contemptible message of the Durban Declaration under a veil of human rights gibberish.
Czech, Italian and Dutch diplomats, however, can read. The current draft
of the final declaration for Durban III says that the UN must
“incorporate the implementation of the Durban Declaration into the human
rights mainstreaming in the UN system” and demands an intensification
of “efforts at the local, national, regional and international levels
aimed at the full and effective implementation” of instruments like the
Durban Declaration and beyond.
And there’s more. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation managed to
insert a demand for “cultural diversity, solidarity and harmony.” That’s
the typical UN prescription for stifling free speech—avoiding any
action to stop Syrian butchers, for example—and generally keeping
criticism of Islamic anti-human rights predilections off the table.
The countries from the so-called non-aligned movement, which comprises
115 developing countries, have also incorporated into the political
declaration a claim that “poverty,” “underdevelopment,” and “economic
disparities” are “closely associated with racism and racial
discrimination.” That’s a familiar form of extortion that starts by
labeling donor countries racists.
The Czech Republic, Italy and The Netherlands rightly decided they’d had
enough. Earlier this month they had warned negotiators that a Durban
III political declaration would have to reject the part of the original
Durban Declaration that singled out Israel because it was antithetical
to the fight against racism. They came to the realization it was a lost
Other Western states, however, are playing a quite different role, in
particular Norway and Switzerland. These two countries have decided to
take the lead in championing the Durban Declaration in all its
manifestations and to fall in lock step with Arab and Islamic
Still other European Union countries like Britain and France have
expressed a willingness to go the cover-up route, although their verbal
gymnastics defy imagination. In June the General Assembly adopted a
resolution on the organization of Durban III that stated: “the closing
plenary meeting will comprise…the adoption of a short and concise
political declaration aimed at mobilizing political will.” That’s an odd
sentence apparently ending in mid-stream. It was the EU’s idea to omit
the words which came after “political will.” In December 2010 the
General Assembly resolution promoting Durban III referred to mobilizing
political will “for the full and effective implementation of the Durban
Declaration.” When the EU floated the idea of not finishing the sentence
or of incorporating a technical reference to the December resolution
that nobody would read, the meeting’s co-chair gave them a nod and said
he appreciated their interests in subterfuge.
The next round of "negotiations," at which Western states will be
dressed-down and manipulated by the racism charge coming from the
Islamic world and others, will be held at UN headquarters on July 28.
Whatever rhetorical devices are contrived behind closed doors, the
bottom line remains: Durban III is all about commemorating an event that
is forever tainted with anti-Semitism and intolerance. The admirable
decision by the Czech Republic and Italy is a wake-up call for other
democracies still pretending otherwise.
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