Liveblogging the Anti-Durban Conference
I believe we're all done here. Huckabee was excellent.
To wrap up: Upon arriving at the conference, I got a sense of rote, habitual behavior about it. "Sigh -- Ahmadinejad again. Let's hold another counter-conference, so they don't think we're growing weary of it all."
Couldn't be further from the truth, as it unspooled through the afternoon. Be confident that the face of your cause here is the most determined, studied, driven group of leaders you could hope for at this time of farce across the street. This is a tireless, eloquent group, and the Durban folks, already waning in influence considering their poor international PR for their conference, can never match it. Not the energy, nor the unity of message.
5:30 p.m. -- Syria is now addressing Durban. No need for comment.
Huckabee, in a great contrast, is at the same moment discussing his frequent visits to Oskar Schindler's grave with the tours he goes on. He points out that Schindler was a scoundrel in his private life, but his grave has the most rocks placed on it, because his faith was more evident by the things he did saving the Jews. He did great things, while others who are rather pious don't take the risks he did.
5:20 p.m. -- Huckabee has the best tie of the day. Masculine, yet pink.
He's giving the "What if Canada shot Katyushas at the U.S." analogy. "We cannot ask other nations to tolerate what we would be unwilling to tolerate."
The room just went silent at the mention of the Fogel family, slaughtered with knives in the West Bank.
"If what Israel does is racism, we need more racism."
Suck it, Olmert: "Jerusalem must remain undivided ... so it can remain a city where people can go and worship whoever they may be." The point being, A Jerusalem divided is soon Judenrein. And Christianrein.
He calls for an acceleration of construction in the West Bank -- it draws a standing O, the biggest applause of the day.
5:16 p.m. -- It's hot in here, everyone's tired, but the attention span of the crowd isn't waning in the slightest. Just more repositioning in our seats, rolled up sleeves, etc. This is a serious, dedicated crowd, and I'm heartened having heard these leaders and knowing we have a strong crop fighting the UN at this pivotal time.
5:10 p.m. -- Huckabee.
For the first time all day we hear the word "Obama." Honestly, I don't think anyone here even noticed the absence of talk about him, and I'm taking that as a sign that Obama's relevance to the Jewish community is simply on the wane. Huckabee just mentioned NY-9 and its relevance to Obama's treatment of Israel, to great applause.
Obama has been an afterthought here, and possibly at Durban as well.
5:02 p.m. -- "Only at the UN could rearranging an acronym be considered major reform." He'll be here all week.
On an irrelevant sidenote, I often get my son to fall asleep at night by humming "O Canada." I don't know the words.
4:56 p.m. -- Just noticed that Kenney's title is Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism.
I assume Kenney takes issue with his title, judging from his talk -- he'd trim that M-word.
4:50 p.m. -- Canadian Jason Kenney now. He's discussing Canada's decision to drop out of Durban -- the UN Human Rights chief was "shocked and dissappointed" with them, apparently. He says the chief lives in "an upside-down world."
The Russian Federation is now addressing Durban, one of the few nations whose words should be taken seriously here. I fear the return of airlifting Jews out of Russia is not far off.
4:43 p.m. -- "America should discontinue aid to the U.N." Big applause.
"Zionism is philanthropy, a belief in helping others, a belief in freedom." When Voight speaks, he gets this reverb in his voice like he's got a subwoofer hidden in his pants. I would pay to hear him read the legal exceptions on my Roomba warranty. Anything. It's really cool.
4:41 p.m. -- "If Simon can survive what he went through, and come here and speak this truth ... all will be well."
4:38 p.m. -- "America should stop funding Israel's enemies." Voight thinks Douglas Murray is a "comic maestro." Is CAA here?
4:35 p.m. -- Jon Voight! He looks genuinely shaken from hearing Simon Deng.
4:33 p.m. -- His Excellency Mr. Mohamed Abdellahi Ould Khatra, Commissioner for Human Rights from Mauritania, is now educating Durban III on the problems of tribalism, water scarcity, and some Jewess he knows named Shana.
4:32 p.m. -- "I have been to Israel five times visiting Sudanese refugees ... they had hoped to find refuge in Egypt. They were wrong ... they realized that the Arab racism was the same, whether Khartoum or Cairo. ... They looked for a different refuge, they found it in Israel."
"They said that compared to Egypt, Israel was heaven to them."
4:30 p.m. -- "Khartoum declared jihad on my people. ... We believe that up to 200,000 were abducted and sold into slavery."
"I was a slave for 3 and a half years."
4:20 p.m. -- Simon Deng is speaking now. From his Wiki:
"... I was a slave. ... When I was nine year's old, my village was raided by Arab troops in the pay of Khartoum. As we ran into the bush to escape I watched as childhood friends were shot dead and the old and the weak who were unable to run were burned alive in their huts. I was abducted and given to an Arab family as a "gift".
He is speaking about how the Palestinians are hijacking the international human rights issue, while his people are actually suffering, dying, at the hands of Islamists.
4:11 p.m. -- Murray just pointed out that Ahmadinejad opened his speech with an exhortation to hasten the arrival of the 12th Imam, and how that would be front page horror at the NYT if Bush had started a speech with religious talk. But when an Islamist does it -- and to a genocidal messiah, no less -- no one notices.
(I did though! Scroll down.)
Meanwhile, over at Durban III, Ecuador is very concerned about racism, poverty, and also Jews.
4:05 p.m. -- "At Durban, the countries that were first to abolish slavery are now getting attacked by the countries that are still practicing slavery."
"In the last 20 years, the life expectancy in Zimbabwe has dropped by a third." Just because of Mugabe. I didnt know that.
4:00 p.m. -- Douglas Murray is the British Dave Barry. Watch the PJTV feed when you get a chance. He just referred to "Idi Amin, the wife-eater."
3:56 p.m. -- Douglas Murray: " I picked up the NYT this morning ... actually, the hotel gave it to me. That's the only reason I have it." Heh.
"Every day, the UN maintains this fiction that all states and all governments are essentially equal."
3:45 p.m. -- "We need to create a narrative that is not poetic, but literal ... that the problem in the Middle East is not white supremacy, but the end of white supremacy."
He's addressing a psychological bent here, which we haven't heard yet today: the problem of a newly freed man having to address his condition at the bottom of the totem pole. When freedom doesn't bring prosperity, people choose to readopt the narrative of victimhood rather than address their difficulties and failures.
While it's just a contributing factor -- obviously, as all the Islamists across the street are bloody wealthy -- I'm glad that Steele is bringing this up. Switch over to the Durban livestream to hear how dead on he is about the narratives.
3:30 p.m. -- Shelby Steele, who looks great behind a podium. I'm calling a casting director.
"We have done a poor job to offer a narrative to combat the narrative on the other side." That might be the first criticism towards this side of the aisle here, I'm curious where he goes with this.
"Racism no longer prevents to forward progress of blacks in the U.S. Yet it remains the centerpiece of what we talk about regarding this country."
"Racism is about the 25th thing on the list of things affecting blacks today."
"Who would the Palestinians be if they weren't the supposed victims of white supremacy? They would just be poor people. It's the source of their self-esteem. ... The idea that the problem is Israel protects them from having to confront their societal inferiority."
I like Shelby Steele.
3:20 p.m. -- Further, the International Olympic Committee will be speaking at Durban today, to discuss how the scourge of Zionism affects the greater luge community.
Representing the IOC will be a man named Mr. Sithole.
3:10 p.m. -- Roger looks to be grabbing a few words with Zuhdi Jasser and perhaps Shelby Steele and Ruth Wisse. Again, if you have a chance to listen to Ms. Wisse sometime, it will be time well-spent.
Claudia has left us, headed back to that sinkhole across the street.
3:02 p.m. -- Alert: Liechtenstein will be addressing the Durban conference this afternoon. I repeat: Liech. Tenstein.
Liechtenstein has a population of 35,000, is primarily Catholic, and is apparently terribly concerned with the danger of an encroaching Zionist regime.
2:42 p.m. -- Coffee break, PJTV off to grab some interviews.
2:37 p.m. -- So Jesse Jackson is sitting with the South African delegation, as a stream of South African reps take to the microphone. Not sure why he's sitting there, but pleased he couldn't attend as a U.S. representative.
2:24 p.m. -- Harvard Professor Ruth Wisse: "Durban III is the time to ask whether the remedy of the United Nations is worse than the condition it came to cure." (Note to self: ask Ruth Wisse to get on PJM. Watch her on PJTV now -- this is a public speaker.)
"Hitler had to quit the League of Nations to carry out his intentions. Not so with the Islamist countries and the UN." Well, there's your answer to Wisse's question.
2:12 p.m. -- JESSE FREAKING JACKSON is now addressing the Durban conference!
Actually, now that I've settled down from the shock, I don't know why I was so surprised he was attending. I suppose it's not the discovery that he might feel sympathy for such views -- we knew that -- but that he would be so careless as to walk into such a publicity nightmare.
2:10 p.m. -- Zuhdi Jasser slams the Dalai Lama! I did not see that sentence coming when I woke this morning. The Dalai Lama was apparently a signer of a statement equating criticism of religion with hate speech.
He states that there are in fact groups in Islamist countries holding signs clamoring for separation of mosque and state, but they do not garner respect at the UN because they are bereft of petrodollars.
"I'm offended that Durban III is taking place near Ground Zero."
1:55 p.m. -- "Every other person I meet in the West Bank says their dream is to become an Israeli citizen and move to Israel. It's not because they're Zionists, but because they are not stupid."
"Every morning I say 'Thank G-d I am an Israeli citizen.'"
"Sometimes I feel safer talking to members of Fatah and Hamas then I do on a U.S. university campus." He isn't kidding, he needs security detail when he speaks here.
1:45 p.m. -- "When I try to alert my fellow journalists to the presence of monetary corruption in the P.A. my colleagues ask: Are you being paid by the Jewish lobby? ... Others tell me: How can we report negatively on the PA, and return to Ramallah safely?"
He says: "If you guys are afraid to cover a conflict, what are you doing here covering a conflict? Go home and cover sports." Heh.
"These stories play into the hands of Jews", he was told by diplomats and foreign media.
He relays a story of making up ridiculous anti-Israel stories, just to see if foreign media will try to cover it. They do.
1:40 p.m. -- Khaled Abu Toameh takes the stage, and I realize that for the past half hour, I've been sitting next to Khaled Abu-Toameh.
1:35 p.m. -- A round of applause for her call for the UN to protect Muslim women from honor killing. "What has the UN done to stop this appalling trend? Mr. Ban Ki Moon, we take notice and we are outraged."
"All these supposedly "progessive" leaders have allowed this to continue." She's speaking our language now.
Standing ovation as she finishes.