Michael Totten

Ahmadinejad Stinks Up Geneva

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered a blistering tirade against Israel on Monday at the supposedly “anti-racist” Durban II conference in Geneva, Switzerland, and dozens of national delegates from Europe “walked out in disgust”:http://pjmedia.com/rogerlsimon/2009/04/20/durban-ii-diary-part-3-the-clowning-of-ahmadinejad/. The sheer number of people who refused to sit there and listen to him “must be seen to be believed”:http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/2009/04/durban-ii-walko.php. His bad reception didn’t end there. Hundreds of protesters followed him as he delivered a press conference and shouted “Shame! Shame! Shame!” as they held up signs reminding all who could see them that “Iran funds Hamas and Hezbollah”:http://blogs.tnr.com/tnr/blogs/the_plank/archive/2009/04/20/durban-ii-dispatch-following-ahmedinejad.aspx.
U.S. President Barack Obama said Ahmadinejad’s remarks were “appalling”:http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2009/04/21/UN-Anti-racism-summit-back-on-track/UPI-58301240333308/. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a man hardly known as a defender of Israel, said “I deplore the use of this platform by the Iranian president to accuse, divide and even incite.” Delegates from the Czech Republic didn’t only storm out. They refused to come back and listen to any other tyrant who came to Europe to lecture his betters.
Everyone who walked out on camera was right to do so. Most, if not all, were from Europe. It’s strange, then, that a European country is hosting this hate-fest in the first place. They had no reason to expect anything different. This second “Durban” conference held in Geneva is just a rerun of the first one held in Durban, South Africa, which also was little more than a bigoted group-scream against Israel and the United States. It was obvious years ago when the conference was planned what would be on the agenda. A representative from Libya, one of the most brutally oppressive countries on earth, “was chairman of the preparatory committee”:http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MDM0Y2ExMDkzMmNkM2Y1OGExYTkxOGI1YmFlMTEzNWY. Its vice chairman included representatives from Cuba, Iran, Pakistan, and Russia. None of these countries can teach Western democracies about racism or human rights. The Obama administration was right to boycott this fiasco before it even began.
Surely European countries that sent delegates knew well in advance what they were getting themselves into. Perhaps they even planned to walk out in advance. Even so, allowing a belligerent bigot to deliver a speech at an anti-racist conference is offensive to decent human beings everywhere. Among other things, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust even happened — a crime in Germany. Would Europe send delegates to an “anti-racism” conference if the head of the Aryan Nations was giving a speech? And what if Slobodan Milosevic was still alive and ruler of Serbia? Would they agree to show up and listen to even the first two minutes of what he’d have to say?
“Read the rest in Commentary Magazine”:http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/totten/63141.