The Rosett Report

You Call That a Conference?

About three layers deep inside its vast bureaucracy, the UN is now gestating a repeat performance of its notorious 2001 conference in Durban, South Africa. That was billed as a meeting to fight racism, but — thanks to careful planning sessions in places such as Tehran and under the care of the UN’s former “Human Rights” Commission — it was actually all about vilifying Israel and America. Things got so bad that midway through the conference, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell yanked the U.S. delegation.

All the portents are that the next round, Durban II, will be just as bad, or worse. Libya is chairing the preparatory committee, with Iran, Cuba, Russia, and Pakistan (fronting for the Organization of the Islamic Conference) gathered round the table. The whole thing is being shepherded by the new UN “Human Rights” Council — which really deserves to be called “The UN Chronically-Condemning-Israel Council.” This thing has one outrage slathered on top of the next, more details in my column today on NRO, and more on EYEONTHEUN and more on the entire twisted scene on UNWATCH.

Among the array of perversions involved in the preparations for Durban II, the planners listed above want the UN to pay for it out of core budget funds, for which the U.S. picks up 22% of the tab. And in looking at plans for some of the money (the sum now being discussed is almost $7 million — what would YOU do with that much money?), I have been amazed by the amount of conferencing which the UN now deems normal in order to produce… a conference. They haven’t even picked the actual venue yet for Durban II. But already they have spent days meeting in Geneva this past August. There have been discussions in committees in New York. There is supposed to be a ten-day “preparatory” session in Geneva (10 days! What do they do for 10 days? That needs 10 days of meals and hotels and … maybe some shopping… and… well, whatever, with all those cafes and private banking facilities, Geneva can be nice in the spring). And then there are supposed to be a series of three days of preparatory meetings in each of five different locations around the world… leading to 800 pages of “pre-session” documentation. And that’s just a sample of the plans envisioned for 2008. The conference itself isn’t supposed to take place until 2009.

If America is going to help bankroll this stuff, seems like it would be simpler and much better for the world to just give these delegates from Libya and Russia and Cuba and Pakistan (and Norway… somehow, Norway always seems to be in on these things) a handful of shopping and air travel vouchers, and tell them to take a vacation and let the rest of us worry about fighting racism…and anti-Semitism, and anti-Americanism, and you name it. And for that, do we need the UN at all?