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U.N. 'Anti-Racism' Conference Bringing Unseemly Characters to New York

8:08 AM, Aug 17, 2011 • By ANNE BAYEFSKY
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Plans for the U.N.’s “anti-racism” event known as Durban III, which will be held in New York City on September 22, 2011, just got a whole lot uglier. A new draft of the final declaration that U.N. organizers hope will be adopted by over a hundred world leaders, who will be on hand for the annual opening of the General Assembly, is now circulating. And a coalition of extremist non-governmental organizations has announced plans to spend four days in New York around the time of the event to champion a pointed message: Zionism is racism, which fits with the Durban Declaration, adopted in South Africa in 2001 that charged Israel – and only Israel – with racism.

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The United States and Israel walked out of the notorious 2001 anti-Semitic hatefest, and ever since, the U.N. has been trying to legitimize it. Durban II, held in Geneva in April 2009, “reaffirmed” the Durban Declaration but was boycotted for that reason by the United States, Canada, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Italy, Poland, the Czech Republic, and the Netherlands. 

Durban III is intended to be the resurrection campaign. Hence, the draft political declaration states: “We, heads of State and Government…stress that the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action [DDPA] adopted in 2001 as well as the Outcome Document of the Durban Review Conference in 2009, provide the most comprehensive United Nations framework and solid foundation for combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.”

The United States, Israel, Canada, the Czech Republic, Italy, and the Netherlands have already pulled out of Durban III. But, surprisingly, many other countries, such as Germany, are still sitting on the fence. At the last round of negotiations over the wording of the final declaration, which took place in July, the German representative made a commitment: He promised that singling out individual countries or “reaffirming” the declaration or outcome of Durban I and II would be “clearly unacceptable.” Now we wait to find out if Germany has the courage of its alleged 21st century convictions. Poland should make up its decision now, too, for similar reasons. Australia, desperately seeking a seat on the Security Council, is trembling off-stage knowing that Canada was defeated at the last vote for Council seats because of its refusal to be intimidated by the powerful Islamic front at the U.N. And the United Kingdom and France have run out of excuses.

The diplomatic chicanery has left the field wide open for Durban III fans. Which explains why a “Durban + 10 Coalition” of at least 32 non-governmental organizations is busy planning events surrounding the conference in New York “to honor the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the DDPA.” Their self-described intention is to “stand opposed to the slander…against the DDPA...by the United States, Canada, Israel and several members of the European Union…to suppress the rights and demands of the many groups protected by the Durban Declaration, including…the Palestinian people.”

The 2010 General Assembly resolution authorizing Durban III says the theme of the event will be “victims of racism.” The final draft declaration demands that participating countries “proclaim together our strong determination to make the fight against racism…and the protection of the victims thereof a high priority for our countries.” And the Durban Declaration maintains that Palestinians are victims of Israeli racism.

Hence, the “Durban + 10 coalition” includes such “human rights” exemplars as the “U.S. Palestinian Community Network” and the “International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network.” The website of the former NGO declares, “Israel is an apartheid state.” The latter’s website says,  “Zionism, in all its forms, must be stopped.... We pledge to: oppose Zionism and the state of Israel. Zionism is racist…Israel makes common cause with Christian fundamentalists … It continues a long history of Zionist collusion with repressive and violent regimes, from Nazi Germany to the South African Apartheid regime…”  Jews become Nazis, in this twisted frame of reference.

In other words, for those states still pretending that the Durban Declaration and its progeny, including Durban III, are the right venue to commit themselves to the fight against racism, there is no wiggle room left. Are they in or out? For or against anti-Semitism?

Not coincidentally, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be speaking at the U.N. General Assembly on the same day as Durban III. The Iranian president was the only head of state to attend Durban II. His enthusiasm for the Durban Declaration is something of a stumbling block to U.N. legitimatization plans. So, interestingly, U.N. officials are apparently attempting to juggle the timing of Ahmadinejad’s speech by inserting another event into the General Assembly hall at his expected speaking time. If the announced speakers stick to the schedule, it will likely force him into a slot later in the day. 

So what suitable meeting did U.N. folks decide should precede Ahmadinejad?  A “high-level meeting on nuclear safety and security.” Too clever by half. Now a rabid racist who is bent on acquiring nuclear weapons will grace the scene of the Durban III festivities and likely mount the podium shortly after a U.N. spectacle billed as saving the planet from nuclear catastrophe.

Nobody should be laughing, especially when one considers that this debacle will take place shortly after the ten-year anniversary of September 11, 2001.

Anne Bayefsky is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a professor at Touro College, and the editor of EYEontheUN.org.

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