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Durban II: Disgraceful and Distasteful

Durban: it’s no longer just a South African city. In 2001, the United Nations hosted a conference, ostensibly on racism and human rights, in Durban, South Africa. The entire conference turned into such a venomous anti-Israel and anti-Semitic parade that … Read More

By / March 4, 2009

Durban: it’s no longer just a South African city.

In 2001, the United Nations hosted a conference, ostensibly on racism and human rights, in Durban, South Africa. The entire conference turned into such a venomous anti-Israel and anti-Semitic parade that the United States, under the leadership of then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, departed the conference quickly. It was such a reknowned failure in the eyes of the West and the U.S., that the U.N. is already gearing up for a sequel conference in just over a month and a half.

In 2001, the Durban Conference dwindled down to an anti-Israel rant and rave. This year’s version has a script which again seeks to vilify only Israel, which is, ironically, the only true democracy in the Middle East. According to the language of this year’s conference talking points, the complete protection of any anti-Islamic speech is also a hot button issue. The top two topics are the defamation of Israel and Jews, and the ironclad protection of Islam and Muslims. Irony? You bet.

This year’s replay of the resoundingly unsucessful Durban Review Conference is set to take place from April 20 – 24, 2009 in Geneva. Not surprisingly, the conference takes place during Yom HaShoah, the annual day of remembrance for those killed in the Shoah, or Holocaust, of 1939-1945 (officially lasting those years, though many Jews were slaughtered prior to those years). 

The Obama administration initially agreed to send a delegation to the conference. Interestingly, the announcement was quiet. Under pressure from those with memories stretching back to 2001’s disastrous Durban meeting, the administration finally did pull out, though it did leave the door open if the language of the conference was to change. With Israel-hating nations like Libya and Syria on board, however, such moderation is more of a pipe dream than a likely scenario. (Already ongoing is the 5th annual Israel Apartheid Week, another disgraceful meeting of the anti-Israel minds. More information on that to come.)

Why has Israel been so villainized by the United Nations? The simple and startingly answer is this: the seemingly weak are easier to bully. Why have the vast majority of U.N. resolutions been aimed against Israel? Perhaps it appears easier to fault a country the size of Rhode Island than it is to fault the cruel but wealthy neighboring states of Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Libya.

Even France, the Netherlands, Australia, Germany and EU leadership are wobbly in their resolve to support the Israel hate-fest that is the Durban Conference. Unfortunately, even the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights cannot see through the politics of this event, and Navi Pillay has defended the conference as a true meeting on racism. The United Nations has refused to stand up to the true human rights abusers, sexists, anti-Semites and racism-upholders of the world, including brutal Middle Eastern, Central European, African and Asian dictatorships and authoritative rulers such as Syria’s Bashar Asad, Iran’s Ahmadinjed, Cuba’s Castro brothers, Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi, North Korea’s Kim Jung Il, Zimbabwe’s Mugabe, Myanmar/Burma’s Than Shwe and even Russia’s Putin and puppet leader Medvedev, who are clearly hellbent on the path to Russian dominance. An organization such as the U.N., which ignores its purpose and seeks only to chastise those it sees as weaker, has no serious place on the world stage. The U.N. was the post-WWII answer to the post-WWI League of Nations, which was ineffective and failed soon after its establisment.

If the United Nations leadership cannot flex its muscles enough to put on a serious conference on human rights in the 21st century, then it has no business parading around as a global leader. The saying "lead, follow or get out of the way" comes to mind. Since the U.N. has clearly not been leading when the heat is on, perhaps it is time it simply gets out of the way and focuses on something in which it can actually make a difference.

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