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Resources updated between Monday, December 15, 2008 and Sunday, December 21, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Durban II Alert

Durban "anti-racism" revisionism
& enabling anti-semitism
from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Will President-elect Obama become an enabler too?

Stay away from Durban II

Haaretz, December 18, 2008.

Navanethem Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, is secretary-general of the UN's World Conference Against Racism, scheduled for April, in Geneva. Referred to as "Durban II," the meeting is meant as a follow-up to the infamous 2001 "Durban I" UN racism conference in South Africa. After her appointment, Pillay, a Durban native, was asked by the city's mayor "to rescue" the town's name. Aware that her human-rights credentials are tied to the success of the conference, Pillay has made it a top priority. She used her maiden speech at September's session of the Human Rights Council to champion a revisionist history of Durban I, and her latest effort to promote the upcoming event appeared in Haaretz this week ("The Anti-Racism Debate," December 16).

Although Pillay was writing ostensibly for Israelis, she knows their foreign minister has already declared that Israel will not attend the conference; her real target was thus President-elect Barack Obama. The outgoing administration has not made a decision regarding U.S. participation, which means Obama and Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton have it in their power to discredit the meeting by staying away. But pressure to attend, from Pillay and others, is mounting.

Pillay argues that attendance is appropriate because of what occurred at Durban I. She is right to focus on this. After all, the first objective of Durban II, as organizers determined last year, is "to foster the implementation of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action." That declaration, adopted by governmental delegates at the end of Durban I, asserts that Palestinians are victims of Israeli racism. This is the only country-specific accusation in a document purporting to address international racism and xenophobia. Regardless of the quantity of new vitriol in Durban II's final product, therefore, participation would necessarily legitimize a global event dedicated to "implementing" the mantra of Israeli racism.

Pillay attempts to allay fears with a revisionist account of Durban I, writing that, "the controversy that tainted the 2001 Durban Conference ... was caused by the anti-Semitic behavior of some non-governmental organizations at the sidelines of the conference." She says she is committed to the proposition that "the concerns ... that the review conference will become a platform for denigrating Israel must be assuaged." She then adds: "Seven years ago, states did so by elevating the conference's outcome above the hatred and hostility that took place on its periphery." Pillay's tale is patently false. At meetings of the governmental drafting committee at Durban I, I watched as virtually every clause on anti-Semitism was deleted. And how did participating states "elevate" the outcome, after the U.S. and Israel made their opposition plain? The European Union and the Organization of the Islamic Conference cut a deal: Mention of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust could stay in - but with a condemnation of Israeli racism.

For decades, the UN has tried to label Israel as racist, to tie it to the mast of apartheid South Africa, and to sink it with the same moral indignation, and economic and political isolation. In 1975, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution equating Zionism with racism. When the resolution was rescinded in 1991, a plan to resurrect it began almost immediately. Act II culminated in Durban I; Act III is upon us. The so-called draft outcome document for Durban II accuses Israel of committing "a new kind of apartheid, a crime against humanity, [and] a form of genocide."

Pillay's op-ed provides a clear window onto the Durban tactic. She fawns over the Durban declaration's statement that, "the Holocaust must never be forgotten," and its expression of "deep concern about the rise in anti-Semitism." Then she proceeds to ignore the demonization of racist Israel and its connection to anti-Semitism and the murdering of Jews here and now.

Two weeks ago, General Assembly president Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann made a similar pitch for rupturing the bond between Jews and Israel, declaring, "I have a great love for the Jewish people and this has been true all my life. I have never hesitated to condemn the crimes of the Holocaust ...." He then accused Israel of "apartheid," which "must be outlawed," advocating a "campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions to pressure Israel."

By contrast, the Durban II draft doesn't mention Sudan, and the final version will be no different. On December 9, Pillay reminded a reporter that the High Commissioner's office had "set up [a] commission of inquiry, but did not find a Sudanese genocidal policy, but rather 'genocidal intent' committed by a few individuals." That commission maintained that the past decade's atrocities in Darfur did not constitute an ethnic or racially driven conflict, even though it was perpetrated by Arab militias against African tribal victims. Hundreds of thousands raped and murdered, 2.5 million displaced. But no genocide.

Ultimately, Pillay asks readers precisely the right question: "States have a responsibility to show leadership against racial discrimination and intolerance. What message does a state boycott send to those who are suffering from racism ... [and] to those who perpetuate racism?"

The answer: A boycott of Durban II sends a message that the real victims of racism are not alone. A boycott denies legitimacy to a platform for hatemongers and a cover for human-rights abusers. For states to show leadership against racism and intolerance, they must join Canada and Israel and stay away.

Anne Bayefsky teaches at Touro College, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, and edits www.EYEontheUN.org.

******

The anti-racism debate

By Navanethem Pillay
Haaretz, December 16, 2008

I grew up in Durban, South Africa, under a system of apartheid that institutionalized racial discrimination, denying equal rights of citizenship to all those who were not white. I later sat as a judge on the Rwanda Tribunal, where I came to know in painful detail, killing by killing, the unimaginable destruction of humanity when ethnic hatred explodes into genocide. I know that the consequences of allowing discrimination, inequality and intolerance to fester and spiral out of control can be genocidal. But South Africa's experience shows that with political will and a commitment to act, discrimination, inequality and intolerance can be overcome. We have just witnessed the election of the first African-American president of the United States, a country where racial segregation is as vivid a memory for some as it is for me.

States will have an opportunity to demonstrate their determination to fight intolerance by moving the anti-racism agenda forward when, in April 2009, an international review conference meets in Geneva. The conference will evaluate the implementation of government commitments to eradicate racial hatred and discrimination, made seven years ago in Durban. It is imperative that all states participate and contribute to this crucial process in order to consolidate and improve the common ground on those fundamental human rights issues we all agree on.

Regrettably, last January, Canada announced its intention to withdraw from the Durban review conference. And this month, so did Israel.

Behind these decisions stands the controversy that tainted the 2001 Durban Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, and that was caused by the anti-Semitic behavior of some non-governmental organizations at the sidelines of the conference. Yet the document that emerged from the conference itself, the Durban Declaration and Program of Action (DDPA), transcended divisive and intolerant approaches.

The DDPA offers a comprehensive global framework that calls for the adoption of more effective anti-discrimination laws and policies. It highlights discrimination against minorities, migrants and indigenous people, and it empowers civil society to demand accountability for actions committed or omitted by strengthening victims' grounds for recourse.

The DDPA clearly states that: "The Holocaust must never be forgotten." It calls for an end to violence in the Middle East and recognizes Israel's right to security. It urges Israelis and Palestinians to resume the peace process and expresses deep concern about the rise in anti-Semitism around the world, as well as alarm over mounting prejudice related to religious beliefs, including Islamophobia.

In April 2009, at the Durban review conference, states are expected to provide an assessment of achievements and gaps in the implementation of the commitments made in 2001, as well as identify concrete ways to improve performance and impact on the ground. The review is also meant to share and take ownership of good practices in the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. It is an important opportunity to renew global commitment to our common goals and revitalize efforts to move toward these goals. All too often national policies and practices lag behind states' pledges. Yet progress in combating racism and intolerance is sorely needed in every region of the world.

The Durban review conference is a timely opportunity to reaffirm the principles of non-discrimination and to build on the Durban Declaration and Program of Action. It is for states to ensure that this objective is met and implementation gaps are closed. If all states are not engaged in the process, this goal may remain elusive. Thus, the concerns expressed by Canada and Israel that the review conference will become a platform for denigrating Israel must be assuaged. Seven years ago, states did so by elevating the conference's outcome above the hatred and hostility that took place on its periphery, and by reaching a broad agreement on the necessary measures to combat racism and intolerance. They must achieve that commonality of purpose again through active engagement rather than withdrawal.

We owe a frank debate and concrete action to the victims of discrimination, intolerance and racism. We can avoid or overcome friction by focusing on how to give new momentum to the struggle against these unconscionable practices. States have a responsibility to show leadership against racial discrimination and intolerance. What message does a state boycott send to those who are suffering from racism? What message does it send to those who perpetuate racism? This struggle concerns all of us in our increasingly multi-cultural and multi-ethnic societies.

Navanethem Pillay is the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Stay away from Durban II

Anne Bayefsky

Navanethem Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, is secretary-general of the UN's World Conference Against Racism, scheduled for April, in Geneva. Referred to as "Durban II," the meeting is meant as a follow-up to the infamous 2001 "Durban I" UN racism conference in South Africa. After her appointment, Pillay, a Durban native, was asked by the city's mayor "to rescue" the town's name. Aware that her human-rights credentials are tied to the success of the conference, Pillay has made it a top priority. She used her maiden speech at September's session of the Human Rights Council to champion a revisionist history of Durban I, and her latest effort to promote the upcoming event appeared in Haaretz this week ("The Anti-Racism Debate," December 16).

Although Pillay was writing ostensibly for Israelis, she knows their foreign minister has already declared that Israel will not attend the conference; her real target was thus President-elect Barack Obama. The outgoing administration has not made a decision regarding U.S. participation, which means Obama and Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton have it in their power to discredit the meeting by staying away. But pressure to attend, from Pillay and others, is mounting.

Pillay argues that attendance is appropriate because of what occurred at Durban I. She is right to focus on this. After all, the first objective of Durban II, as organizers determined last year, is "to foster the implementation of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action." That declaration, adopted by governmental delegates at the end of Durban I, asserts that Palestinians are victims of Israeli racism. This is the only country-specific accusation in a document purporting to address international racism and xenophobia. Regardless of the quantity of new vitriol in Durban II's final product, therefore, participation would necessarily legitimize a global event dedicated to "implementing" the mantra of Israeli racism.

Pillay attempts to allay fears with a revisionist account of Durban I, writing that, "the controversy that tainted the 2001 Durban Conference ... was caused by the anti-Semitic behavior of some non-governmental organizations at the sidelines of the conference." She says she is committed to the proposition that "the concerns ... that the review conference will become a platform for denigrating Israel must be assuaged." She then adds: "Seven years ago, states did so by elevating the conference's outcome above the hatred and hostility that took place on its periphery."

Pillay's tale is patently false. At meetings of the governmental drafting committee at Durban I, I watched as virtually every clause on anti-Semitism was deleted. And how did participating states "elevate" the outcome, after the U.S. and Israel made their opposition plain? The European Union and the Organization of the Islamic Conference cut a deal: Mention of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust could stay in - but with a condemnation of Israeli racism.

For decades, the UN has tried to label Israel as racist, to tie it to the mast of apartheid South Africa, and to sink it with the same moral indignation, and economic and political isolation. In 1975, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution equating Zionism with racism. When the resolution was rescinded in 1991, a plan to resurrect it began almost immediately. Act II culminated in Durban I; Act III is upon us. The so-called draft outcome document for Durban II accuses Israel of committing "a new kind of apartheid, a crime against humanity, [and] a form of genocide."

Pillay's op-ed provides a clear window onto the Durban tactic. She fawns over the Durban declaration's statement that, "the Holocaust must never be forgotten," and its expression of "deep concern about the rise in anti-Semitism." Then she proceeds to ignore the demonization of racist Israel and its connection to anti-Semitism and the murdering of Jews here and now.

Two weeks ago, General Assembly president Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann made a similar pitch for rupturing the bond between Jews and Israel, declaring, "I have a great love for the Jewish people and this has been true all my life. I have never hesitated to condemn the crimes of the Holocaust ...." He then accused Israel of "apartheid," which "must be outlawed," advocating a "campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions to pressure Israel."

By contrast, the Durban II draft doesn't mention Sudan, and the final version will be no different. On December 9, Pillay reminded a reporter that the High Commissioner's office had "set up [a] commission of inquiry, but did not find a Sudanese genocidal policy, but rather 'genocidal intent' committed by a few individuals." That commission maintained that the past decade's atrocities in Darfur did not constitute an ethnic or racially driven conflict, even though it was perpetrated by Arab militias against African tribal victims. Hundreds of thousands raped and murdered, 2.5 million displaced. But no genocide.

Ultimately, Pillay asks readers precisely the right question: "States have a responsibility to show leadership against racial discrimination and intolerance. What message does a state boycott send to those who are suffering from racism ... [and] to those who perpetuate racism?"

The answer: A boycott of Durban II sends a message that the real victims of racism are not alone. A boycott denies legitimacy to a platform for hatemongers and a cover for human-rights abusers. For states to show leadership against racism and intolerance, they must join Canada and Israel and stay away.

This article first appeared in Haaretz.

December 17, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The following ad appeared in The Washington Times, December 11, 2008.

On November 19, 2008 Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni stated:
"Israel will not participate and will not legitimize the [Durban] Review Conference, which will be used as a platform for further anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic activity. We call upon the international community not to participate"
The United States Should not Attend Any Aspect
of the Anti-Semitic Durban II Conference
Elie Wiesel, Nobel Prize Laureate* Alan Dershowitz, Harvard Law School William Bennett, Former Secretary of Education R. James Woolsey, Former Director, Central Intelligence Bernard Lewis, Professor Emeritus, Princeton University
Martin Peretz, Editor-in-Chief, The New Republic Michael Steinhardt, The Steinhardt Foundation Sir Harold Evans, Author, The American Century Norman Podhoretz, Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient James Q. Wilson, Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient
Herbert I. London, Chairman Governing Council of the American Jewish Congress Ali H. Alyami, Center for Democracy and Human Rights In Saudi Arabia Michael Ledeen, Freedom Scholar Seth Leibsohn, Fellow, Claremont Institute Anne Bayefsky, EYEontheUN.org
Frank Macchiarola, President, St. Francis College Brian T. Kennedy, President, The Claremont Institute Leon Wieseltier, Literary Editor, The New Republic Victor Davis Hanson, Senior Fellow, The Hoover Institute Father Alexander Karloutsos, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Manda Zand-Ervin, Alliance of Iranian Women Dr. Phyllis Chesler, Author, Emerita Professor, CUNY Shanaveon E. Pious, Ph.D., Chairman of Entrepreneurs University Nina Rosenwald, Human Rights Voices M. Zuhdi Jasser, M.D., President, American Islamic Forum for Democracy
* Resigned in protest from the group of eminent personalities before Durban I.

Join us in calling for the United States to say YES to racial and religious equality and freedom from anti-semitism by saying NO to attending the United Nations Durban II Conference. A 2008 U.S. State Department report on global anti-semitism highlighted the malicious role played by the 2001 United Nations Durban I Conference. Durban I was, IN THEORY, intended to be an "anti-racism" conference. It was, in practice, anything but... Durban I ended just three days before 9/11. So deeply disturbed that the conference was hijacked by global harbingers of hate, that the United States and Israeli delegations walked out on principle in protest.


The agenda for Durban II?
Scheduled for April 2009 the stated purpose of Durban II is to "further the implementation of the (2001) Durban Declaration."

What does the Durban Declaration declare?
That ISRAEL, and ONLY ISRAEL, is guilty of racism.

And who sits on the Planning Committee for the Durban II Conference?



Make no mistake, this conference will not combat racism, but will promote and fuel hatred toward Israel, America and the free world. This conference will not be about the spread of free expression, but how to curb it.

The United States has always been a world leader in the battle against anti-semitism.

We walked away once inprotest...
let us now stay away onprinciple.


Today, there is an immediate way to act against growing anti-semitism around the world ... say no to Durban II. Declare that the United States will not participate in a dialogue that promotes prejudice.
The United States has consistently opposed Durban II, its funding and planning. The latest October 2008 documents from the Planning Committee confirm that the Durban II platform will be used to demonize Israel and launch an attack on free speech.

We ask President-elect Obama and Secretary of State-designate Clinton to take the next step anddeny legitimacy to Durban II.

We urge the United States to join the lead of Canada and Israel by announcing now that the U.S. will not fund or attend Durban II. Please make your views known-Write to the president-elect, secretary of state designate and Others-tell them to say no NOW, that America DECLINES to participate in the upcoming Durban II International Hatefest.


CONTACT INFORMATION:
Secretary of State-Designate
Hillary Clinton:
202-647-4000;
website
President-Elect Barack Obama:
202-456-1111;
email now!
Congressman Howard
Berman (Chair, House Foreign Affairs Committee):
202-225-5021, 202-225-4695
website
Senator John Kerry:
202-224-2742, 202-224-8525;
website
Sponsored by Lawrence Kadish, Human Rights Voices

Don't Do Durban II

Anne Bayefsky

Last Thursday, in a full-page ad in the Washington Times, a group of influential observers - including Alan Dershowitz, Victor Davis Hanson, Bernard Lewis, Martin Peretz, and Elie Wiesel - urged Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to announce that the United States will not attend the U.N.'s forthcoming "anti-racism" conference known as Durban II. The conference, the ad said, far from combating racism, will fuel hatred of Israel and encourage anti-Semitism. Israel itself will not be in attendance, and foreign minister Tzipi Livni has called for American support.

Meanwhile, the congressional black caucus and human-rights groups around the country are urging Obama to attend and legitimize Durban II, which will take place in Geneva in April 2009. A decision is expected shortly, and in making it, Obama would do well to remember the moral leadership Democrats have shown in facing down U.N.-driven hatred of Israel in the past. In 1975, the U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution alleging the self-determination of the Jewish people - Zionism - was racism. In response, U.S. ambassador and soon-to-be Democratic senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan told the Assembly, "The United States . . . does not acknowledge, it will not abide by, it will never acquiesce in this infamous act."

For the next 16 years, this resolution poisoned all U.N. "anti-racism" activities. When the Assembly voted to rescind the resolution in 1991, most participating Muslim states voted to keep it, and a plan to resurrect it began as soon as the first version was shuffled off the stage. Act II culminated in the U.N. "anti-racism" conference held in Durban, South Africa, which ended three days before 9/11.

U.S. delegation head, Democratic congressman, and Holocaust survivor Tom Lantos walked out, together with the state of Israel's representation. Lantos explained, "A conference that should have been about horrible discrimination around the world has been hijacked by extremist elements for its own purposes. . . . What you have here is the paradox of an anti-racism conference that is itself racist."

True to U.N. form, the outcome of this conference became the centerpiece of the organization's "anti-racism" agenda, and the process of convening a "follow-up" meeting moved into high gear two years ago. The first of four objectives is "to foster the implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action." That Declaration, adopted after the U.S. and Israel made their opposition plain, claims that Palestinians are victims of Israeli racism. This claim is the only country-specific accusation in a document that purports to address racism and xenophobia around the world.

Those who claim the U.S. should participate in Durban II put forth four main arguments.

First comes a three-part claim: Durban II is only designed to implement Durban I's conclusions, those conclusions represent a U.N. consensus, and the only problem with Durban I was a nasty nongovernmental forum that took place alongside it. Leading this cover-up is, not surprisingly, the U.N. itself. Addressing the most recent Durban II preparatory committee in October of this year, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Navanethem Pillay, said:

    Seven years ago at the 2001 World Conference against Racism, the virulent anti-Semitic behavior of a few non-governmental organizations on the sidelines of the Durban Conference overshadowed the critically important work of the Conference. Measures were taken to address this.
This is simply false. Sitting in the back of the drafting committee of the Durban I governmental conference, I watched the deletion of virtually every paragraph on anti-Semitism - carefully prepared provisions articulating a range of steps to combat this scourge. Then the European Union and the Organization of the Islamic Conference struck a deal: The EU gained a mention of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, in exchange for allowing a condemnation of racist Israel.

Also, Durban I was not a U.N.-wide consensus, since the U.S. and Israel voted with their feet. Furthermore, some states, like Canada, made formal reservations to the racist-Israel language during the final adoption of the Declaration. (When it found that every U.N. printing of the Declaration omits those formal reservations, Canada became the first country to refuse to participate in a conference dedicated to implementing Durban I.)

The second argument for U.S. participation is that it is not anti-Semitic for the Durban Declaration to call Israel racist. Islamic countries champion this approach. Throughout the preparatory process for Durban II, such human-rights luminaries as Algeria have gone so far as to claim that anti-Semitism is actually about Arabs and Muslims (ignoring the common meaning of the term and emphasizing the fact that Arabs are, literally speaking, Semitic).

General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann endorses the view that anti-Semitism can be distinguished from anti-Israeli sentiment. He has said, "I have a great love for the Jewish people and this has been true all my life. I have never hesitated to condemn the crimes of the Holocaust." Then he alleged that Israeli policies amount to "apartheid," "must be outlawed," and should be met by a "campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions to pressure Israel."

Durban II (as Durban I before it) will feign interest in combating anti-Semitism and remembering the Holocaust.The problem, the story goes, is not with Jews but with the Jewish state. Anti-Zionism is not a form of anti-Semitism. The modern state created for the sake of the Jewish people is racist, but this belief is consistent with "a great love for the Jewish people."

The third argument is the idea that while the conference is bad for Jews, it is good for other minorities or oppressed groups. Therefore, opposition to the conference must stem from the belief that Jews' interests are more important than other minorities'. This is the reasoning put forth by the Congressional Black Caucus and human-rights groups in America and abroad.

The problem here is that human-rights gurus would never dream of dismissing the claims of Dalits, or the Roma, or black South Africans in the same vein. And for a very good reason: In the words of the U.N. Charter, international peace and security are premised on the equality of all nations large and small, and human-rights protection is rooted in the equality of all men and women. Discrimination against a certain state, or a certain people, isn't a consideration the U.N. should weigh against others. To do so is a subversion of the very foundation of the modern human-rights movement.

Fourth is the challenge that comes from what President-elect Obama has described as defining characteristics of his foreign policy, multilateralism and engagement. Prior to Durban I, Rep. Barbara Lee (D., Calif.), a member of the black caucus, said: "As a nation, we must be committed to end racism in all its forms. To do that, we need to be part of the discussion, whether we agree with the final [conference] declaration or not."

The questions Obama needs to ask himself: What exactly will this "discussion" entail, and will it truly aid in the fight against racism? The first question is a factual one - the Durban II agenda is set - and the answer to the second is obvious. As demonstrated throughout this article, Durban II is a debate in which no self-respecting anti-racist should participate.

In contrast to so many items on the incoming administration's doorstep, this issue does not turn on dollars and cents. It is a call for moral leadership, nothing more and nothing less. On September 8, 2001, anti-Semites, violent extremists, and their political enablers took heart at the adoption of the Durban Declaration. In the week of April 20, 2009 such figures will meet again to foster the implementation of that very declaration. For the sake of the day after, Durban II is no place for the United States.

This article first appeared in National Review Online.

December 15, 2008