Resources updated between Monday, September 05, 2011 and Sunday, September 11, 2011
Friday, September 09, 2011
This article by Anne Bayefsky appears on National Review Online.
On Thursday, Western negotiators at the U.N. caved in to the demands of envoys from Islamic states to renew a modern-day form of the decades-long U.N. smear campaign alleging that the Jewish state is racist. Diplomats agreed on a new "anti-racism" declaration that went public Friday at noon. The document is intended to be adopted by all the heads of state and government in attendance at the U.N. "Durban III" conference to be held in New York City on September 22. So far, nine democratic countries, including the United States, Israel, and Canada, have decided to boycott the event and will not agree to the racist "anti-racism" manifesto.
The final sticking point in negotiations, conducted at U.N. headquarters over the last two months, was whether the original Durban Declaration adopted in 2001 in Durban, South Africa, would be reaffirmed. Passed just three days before 9/11, with the enthusiastic participation of Yasser Arafat, the Durban Declaration grossly discriminates against Israel - the only one of 192 UN members charged with racism in the document.
On Thursday, Islamic states led by Benin, as well as South Africa and the rest of the bloc of developing states called the G-77 - which constitutes a majority of UN members - held firm to their demand to reaffirm the whole message of the 2001 declaration. Western opposition fell apart. The document therefore reads: "We heads of state and government ... reaffirm our political commitment to the full and effective implementation of the Durban Declaration."
The document also catapults the Durban Declaration and its racist-Israel libel into the center of the U.N.'s "anti-racism" agenda. It "reaffirms" - actually for the first time - that the Durban Declaration is "a comprehensive framework and solid foundation" for combating racism. It downgrades the relative status of the U.N. racism treaty, which has been on the books for 46 years; negotiators refused to repeat even the 2009 Durban II statement that the treaty was "the principal international instrument to prevent, combat and eradicate racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance" or to call for the treaty's universal ratification. Non-parties to the U.N. racism treaty include the likes of Angola, Malaysia, North Korea, and Burma/Myanmar.
In U.N. backrooms Thursday, Islamic states and South Africa taunted the weakness of Western negotiators. South Africa said: "You say you want to commemorate the ten years of the existence of that document, but you don't want to reaffirm it ... Come to terms with the fact that you are celebrating ten years of the existence of a document." Indeed, the goal of the entire spectacle is now unmistakably set out in the new declaration's opening words: "We heads of state ... gathered at the UN Headquarters ... to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration." It will be a celebration of a conference best remembered for handing anti-Semitism a global stage.
What happens next? The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, a native of Durban and lead champion of the "anti-racism" sham, will begin to parade the new declaration as a contribution to the equal protection of human rights. Prior to Durban II, Pillay audaciously told reporters: "The Durban Declaration transcended divisive and intolerant approaches." The one and only head of state to attend Durban II in Geneva was the tolerant Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. And as soon as the conference adopted an "outcome document," Pillay held a news conference calling the event "a success story" and pointing to the language which related specifically to Palestinians.
Pillay is well known as the U.N.'s top salesman of the notorious Goldstone report, which she continues to push despite the main author's having retracted the central allegations against Israel. Not surprisingly, therefore, Pillay has been issuing statements calling objections to Durban III "political distractions" "from the legitimate goal of the commemoration."
No doubt U.N. negotiators have been careful to conceal their intent by dressing-up U.N.-based anti-Semitism as an "anti-racism" proclamation. Nowhere on its face, for instance, does the document mention the word "Israel." The new declaration contains multiple seemingly innocuous references to the "victims of racism." But the references were promoted by negotiators for Islamic states because the Durban Declaration itself refers to Palestinians as "victims" of Israeli racism.
Most revealing of the pathology of today's United Nations is what happened to Western democratic countries when they were outnumbered - they surrendered. Fifty-five Western states refused to vote in favor of the 2010 General Assembly resolution sanctioning Durban III. But now that the actual event is around the corner and has clearly shaped up to meet the worst expectations, only nine states have pulled out. Consequently, there are just 13 days left to find out if there are any other world leaders who really care about combating racism and intolerance - perpetrated inside and outside the United Nations.
Thursday, September 08, 2011
This article by Anne Bayefsky appears on The Weekly Standard.
At the U.N. in New York, diplomats have been putting the finishing touches on a new "anti-racism" declaration set to be adopted by over a hundred world leaders at the annual opening of the General Assembly. The declaration will be the culmination of the one-day summit on September 22, known as "Durban III," after the original 2001 racist "anti-racism" debacle held in Durban, South Africa. To date, nine states, including the U.S., Israel and Canada, have decided to boycott Durban III, and with two weeks to go, the question is whether more democratic states will follow their lead in light of the dangerous manifesto now before them.
On September 22, the U.N. General Assembly will feature speeches from the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay – a major supporter of Durban III – and Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is poised to deliver his usual anti-Semitic tirade under the General Assembly's banner. Along with these speeches, get ready for a major assault on human rights: The Durban Declaration charges Israel – and only Israel, among 192 U.N. nations – with racism. The declaration is a reincarnation of the "Zionism is racism" libel, and it is about to be catapulted to new heights if Pillay, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and willing collaborators in the developing world's G-77 get their way.
Negotiators are planning to finalize the declaration, intended to be rubber-stamped by world leaders later this month, as early as today. This will leave each government with a stark choice: join Islamic states and their partners in perpetrating this "anti-racist" swindle or join the boycott. Durban enthusiasts are hoping to make that choice as difficult as possible by masking the agenda with a human rights veneer.
For instance, the new declaration is called "United against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance." Except that, given how racism has been defined, the General Assembly is not united on the subject. It expresses much heartfelt concern for the "victims of racism" – except those words are the product of intense lobbying by Islamic states because the Durban Declaration says Palestinians are "victims" of Israeli racism. There is a harmless looking reference to "intolerance including its new forms and manifestations." It was inserted because of the OIC/G-77 demanded the declaration cover Islamophobia and defamation of religion. As Egypt's representative to the Human Rights Council back in March, "the denigration of religions is wrongly justified on the ground of the right to freedom of expression."
The U.N. gamesmanship at work here is a form of art. Russia has been suggesting language for the new declaration that would denigrate free speech and place restrictions on the media. The OIC states, keen on denigrating Israel above all, have stepped in to propose a "middle ground" that purports to "give up" anti-free speech provisions in exchange for including cloaked Israel-bashing provisions. Belgium, Ireland, Norway, and Switzerland are seemingly anxious to sign on. And the French are delighted that the U.N.-speak has become convoluted enough for them to sign, too. And all the negotiators are careful simply to refer to the Israel-problem as the "sensitive" issue.
Try as they might, however, the sensitivity isn't going away. The very mandate of Durban III, set out by a 2010 General Assembly resolution, is to "commemorate the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration...on the theme of victims of racism." And the new declaration that will be adopted is "aimed at mobilizing political will... for the full and effective implementation of the Durban Declaration..." A commemoration of a global anti-Semitic outburst.
Most "sensitive" is whether Durban III will "reaffirm" the Durban Declaration and its anti-Israel mantra. Reaffirming the Durban Declaration is supposed to be a redline for France and New Zealand. So Mexico suggested to enthusiastic negotiators on Tuesday the following concoction: "Recall that the aim of this commemoration is to mobilize political will...for the full and effective implementation of the Durban Declaration...and reaffirm our commitment in this regard."
Get the difference? France will now justify its participation in Durban III by claiming that the Durban Declaration is only "recalled" and not "reaffirmed." Except the commitment that has been reaffirmed is to the full and effective implementation of the Durban Declaration. And France quickly reassured the OIC/G-77 that the language satisfies their need to reaffirm the Declaration. Ireland called the solution "elegant" – which is one way of describing diplomatic deception.
The irony is that only 104 U.N. members voted in favor of holding Durban III in the first place. Democratic states voted against or abstained in large numbers. And now their heads of state are being asked to reaffirm something they didn't affirm in the first place.
As might have been expected, Israel is not the only loser. For the first time, the new declaration will project the stature of the Durban Declaration as higher than the 1965 core treaty on racial discrimination. The new declaration claims the Durban Declaration is a "comprehensive UN framework...for combating racism." Removed from the draft text at the behest of the OIC and G-77 was a "call" for universal ratification of the racism treaty – previously standard fare in U.N. resolutions. (Paragons like Angola, Malaysia, North Korea, and Burma/Myanmar aren't parties to the treaty.) Even the outcome document from the Durban II conference, held in Geneva in April 2009, called the racism treaty "the principal international instrument to prevent, combat and eradicate racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance." No longer.
Not surprisingly, the diplomats have failed to figure out how to combat racism seriously and to whitewash anti-Semitism. It's time for the countries that refused to endorse the convening of Durban III only eight months ago, and have not left already, to do so immediately-Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the United Kingdom...
September 7, 2011
September 6, 2011
September 5, 2011