FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Obama Says US to Help Plan, Possibly Attend 4th UN-Sponsored Bashfest of Israel
Administration officials confirmed late last night that the U.S. will assist the United Nations in planning and executing the fourth edition of the UNESCO-sponsored “World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.”
President Obama has yet to announce whether or not the U.S. will attend the conference, to be held in Geneva, Switzerland this year. Senior administration officials, including UN ambassador Susan Rice and national security council member Samantha Power, have reportedly been working to convince Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to commit the U.S. to the conference — an act which would reverse the Bush administration policy of boycotting future editions of the conference pending ironclad assurances that it would not be a repeat of the 2001 meeting which the U.S. and Israel walked out of due to the virulently anti-Semitic and anti-Israel tone of the proceedings and the conference’s official resolutions.
In 2001 in Durban, South Africa, the nations in attendance used the opportunity of the U.N.-sponsored conference to slander Israel and propose the adoption of United Nations resolutions declaring Zionism (the belief that a Jewish state of Israel should exist) to be the international legal equivalent of racism (in an ironic move, African countries like Nigeria and Zimbabwe, which are knee-deep in the slave trade, sought to pry a formal apology for slavery from the Caucasian West, as well).
Further, the NGO Forum held at the 2001 conference (for the purpose of “creating a worldwide anti-racism movement” and “to struggle against intolerance”) saw resolution language like the following proposed:
80. Appalled by the ongoing colonial military Israeli occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territories [West Bank including Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip] declare and call for an immediate end to the ongoing Israeli systematic perpetration of racist crimes including war crimes, acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing [as defined in the statute of the ICC] including uprooting by military attack and the imposition of any and all restrictions and measures on the population to make life so difficult that the only option is to leave the area and state terrorism against the Palestinian people. Recognize that all of these methods are designed to ensure the continuation of an exclusively Jewish state with a Jewish majority and the expansion of its borders to gain more land driving out the indigenous Palestinian population.
82. Declare Israel as a racist apartheid state in which Israel’s brand of apartheid as a crime against humanity has been characterized by separation and segregation, dispossession, restricted land access, denationalization, “bantustanization” and inhuman acts.
84. Recognize that targeted victims of Israel’s brand of apartheid. And ethnic cleansing methods have been, in particular, children, women and refugees. Condemn the disproportionate numbers of children and women killed and injured in military shooting and bombing attacks. Recognize the right of return of refugees and internally displaced people to their homes of origin as guaranteed in international law.
This “right of return,” as innocuous as it may sound in the excerpt above, is one of the most insidious concessions Palestinians (and their Arab and Persian “supporters” — I know, I know: with friends like these…) have demanded in their negotiations with Israel over the years. It does not refer, as the excerpt above may suggest, to a returning of those displaced by Israeli settlements established in the Territories for, in part, the purpose of creating a defensive buffer between Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank and Gaza and the cities and citizens of Israel proper. Rather, the hotly-contested “Right of Return” refers to the claim that Palestinians uprooted by the creation of Israel itself in 1948 should be forcibly returned to the land they occupied before Israel came into being — thereby wiping out chunks of Israel itself, and making the Zionist state (currently 80% Jewish) a majority-Arab entity.
165. Call for the establishment of programs and institutions to combat the racist media distortion stereotyping and propaganda including the demonizing and dehumanizing of Palestinians as all being violent and terrorists and undeserving of human rights protections.
166. Call for the launch of an international anti-Israeli apartheid movement as implemented against African apartheid through a global solidarity campaign network of international civil society UN bodies and agencies business communities and to end the conspiracy of silence among states particularly the EU and the US.
167. Call upon the international community to impose a policy of complete and total isolation of Israel as in the case of South Africa which means the imposition of mandatory and comprehensive sanctions and embargos, the full cessation of all links [diplomatic, economic, social, aid, military operation and training] between all states and Israel.
168. Condemnation of those states who are supporting, aiding and abetting the Israeli apartheid state and its perpetration of racism crimes against humanity including ethnic cleansing acts of genocide.
These are simply a few of the statements endorsed by attendees at the 2001 version of the so-called “World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.” When it became apparent that this was the direction the proceedings were going to take, both America and Israel walked out of the conference, and President Bush made it U.S. policy not to attend the 2009 conference or any future editions unless guaranteed that it would not once again become a forum for little debate other than just how virulently Israel should be demonized.
Israel has declined to attend the 2009 conference due to the near certainty that the resolution officially equating Zionism with racism will once again be made a centerpiece of discussion. Canada is also refusing to attend, and is pushing members of the European Union to do likewise.
President Obama should emulate President Bush’s principled decision not to participate in such UN-sponsored bash-fests of one of America’s most stalwart, democratic allies. Unfortunately, given his obsession with being seen as a “citizen of the world” and reversing myriad elements of the supposedly-divisive Bush foreign policy — not to mention the pressure coming from advisors like Samantha Power, a vocal opponent of Israel who attended the 2001 NGO Forum at which the above resolution excerpts were proposed — it may be far more likely than not that the U.S. will officially participate in the 2009 version of a conference that, in reality, serves to highlight just what is wrong with the United Nations and everything it touches.