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February 22, 2008
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Be Our Guest
Last week, Secretary of State Rice decided to sit on the fence while UN-based anti-Semites build the next forum for demonizing Israel and the United States. Her unscheduled foreign policy vacation is in response to UN planning of "Durban II" - the next installment of the UN "anti-racism" conference that took place in Durban, South Africa, and ended with an ominous demonstration of intolerance three days before 9/11. Preparations for Durban redux, to be held in the first half of 2009, start in earnest this coming April.
The purpose of Durban II is "to foster the implementation of the Durban declaration." That 2001 declaration says Palestinians are victims of Israeli racism and there are no other state practitioners of racism worth mentioning. Back then, the U.S. and Israel walked out of the global platform for hatemongering in disgust.
Just in December, the United States voted against the entire UN budget, for the first time in more than two decades, because it included funding for Durban II. U.S. Ambassador Mark Wallace told the General Assembly the U.S. would not pay for "revisiting of an event that was noxious to my country and a disgrace in the international community."
This noble stand followed six straight years of U.S. votes against every Durban "followup" resolution the UN has dreamed up. Moreover, the planning body for Durban II is the UN Human Rights Council, a monstrosity that the U.S. has already rightly refused to join. So why the hesitation in telling the world that the United States will not participate in anything to do with a global exercise tainted by anti-Semitism and the demonization of Israel?
One fakeout came from State Department envoy Greg Rickman, who lamely told the U.S. Helsinki Commission on Feb. 7, "Because this conference will take place in 2009, it will be left to the decision of the succeeding administration." Aside from all the preparatory sessions taking place over the next 10 months, an administration that takes no decisions affecting a successor would be a first.
What we actually know is that Rice's moral cowardice has had two immediate results. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has announced that he's joining her on the fence. "[I]f ever our legitimate demands are not taken into account, we will disengage from the process." No one has a clue what his demands are, and the French voting record on Israel-bashing at the UN gives no cause for comfort. Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith took the same cue from American cowering. Australian Jewish leaders reported Monday: "The minister is maintaining a wait-and-see approach." He told them to "keep in touch."
The stakes for failing to take a stand go beyond anti-Semitism. The agenda of Durban II was set in August, and as the Organization of the Islamic Conference made clear, it will "spotlight" wild accusations of Palestinian victimhood, whip up more hate over cartoon images, squash freedom of expression and undermine the battle to end terrorism. With the Durban II executive planning committee having a Libyan chair, Cuban rapporteur and Iranian vice chair, we could have said we are no longer prepared to play a mug's game on UN turf. Instead, Rice made a disgraceful run for the hills. Let's ask the presidential candidates whether, come 2009, they also plan to cede American moral and political authority to the UN and participate in Durban II.
This article first appeared in The Daily News.
February 20, 2008
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February 18, 2008
Uniting to stop Durban repeat Article