Chesler Chronicles

American-UN Ambassador Rice and Durban II: What Will She Do?

What is Susan Rice, our future Cabinet-level Ambassador to the United Nations, planning to do about Durban II, the upcoming hate-fest against Israel that the UN is planning for April in Geneva? Does Ambassador-elect Rice (no relation to Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice), believe that America has the power to sweet-talk evil by sitting down with it, that “not talking” is worse than “talking?”

Only Susan Rice will not be doing the “talking” in Geneva. She will be forced to listen to the wildest and most diabolical ravings against Israel (the symbol for the West, which, when last I looked, includes America)–and all in the name of anti-racism. Will her presence there be seen as legitimating such ravings, as signaling to the Muslim tyrannies that America is willing to sacrifice Israel for the sake of other American interests? Or, might Rice view her refusal to attend a kangaroo court in Geneva as the most eloquent statement America could make against the Orwellian misuse of language by crafty savages who mean to bring the West down? Just as Islamists persecute, murder, and exile infidels in Muslim countries and forbid them to openly practice any religion other than Islam, these same perpetrators of racism and religious Apartheid increasingly scapegoat Israel as an “apartheid-racist” country–and claim that Islam and Muslims are being persecuted, that people are “Islamophobic.”

Ambassador-elect Rice worked in former President Bill Clinton’s State Department. She was mentored by Secretary of State Madeline Albright. Susan Rice has allegedly said that the only former Ambassador to the UN whom she will not be turning to for advice is John Bolton, who was exceptionally principled when it came to anti-American and anti-Israel sentiments at the UN. Ambassador-elect Rice has also been lauded as someone who believes in “global connectivity,” opposes terrorism, and who might actually consider putting “boots on the ground” in order to stop the genocide in Darfur.

Well, that would have to be American boots. The UN won’t do anything. Indeed, their “peacekeeping” soldiers are often part of the problem–yes, in Haiti, Ivory Coast, and in South Sudan. They rape the female children. I wonder whether Rice thinks she can change the UN culture? How many dinners, cocktail parties, glamorous foreign and closed door meetings will it take for her to discover that this is, at best, a Sisyphean task?

But, how long will it take the tyrants to discover that our new American President, and his chosen UN Ambassador, who certainly both look “African,” are really and truly Americans with an American concept of freedom, human rights, and womens’ rights? (Unless they turn out to be more like Europeans….)

For those who know absolutely nothing about Durban II, please see The Israel Project’s excellent Fact Sheet about it, below. (Thank you Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi). But, above all, go to Anne Bayfesky’s splendid “Eye on the UN” website. In fact, go there to read the ad that appeared in the Washington Times on December 11, 2008. I am one of 25 fairly august signatories, including Elie Wiesel, Alan Dershowitz, Bernard Lewis, Sir Harold Evans, and our own Victor Davis Hanson and Michael Ledeen.

We call upon President-elect Obama and Secretary of State-Designate, Hillary Clinton to “defeat Anti-Semitism and Stand with Israel.” The ad asks them to “say YES to racial and religious equality and freedom from anti-Semitism by saying NO to attending the UN Durban II Conference…Make no mistake, this conference will not combat racism, but will promote and fuel hatred toward Israel, America, and the free world. This conference will not be about the spread of free expression, but how to curb it.”

Contact numbers are provided for those who wish to make their views known to President-elect Obama, Secretary of State-Designate Clinton, as well as others.

Fact Sheet: Durban II: Another Anti-Semitic UN Conference?

On April 20, thousands of delegates from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are expected to gather in Geneva for the United Nation’s Durban Review Conference, a five-day follow-up to the 2001 World Conference on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in the developing world held in Durban, South Africa.[1]
Driven primarily by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in close cooperation with Iran and other Muslim regimes, the 2001 conference devolved into a platform for attacks against Israel and failed to address serious issues of intolerance in many parts of the developing world.[2] Now, with preparatory committee meetings for the conference underway, many experts already are predicting that the upcoming event – better known as Durban II – will be nothing more than a new opportunity to demonize Israel while ignoring racist and discriminatory acts by UN members such as Sudan, Iran and China.[3]

Durban I: The UN’s largest anti-Semitic and anti-Israel meeting of the 21st century
During the first Durban conference, held in three parallel gatherings — an official diplomatic forum, a youth summit and an NGO Forum –Israel was singled out and internationally isolated by participants who defined Zionism as racism and denounced Israeli counterterrorism measures as war crimes.[4] About 7,000 delegates from 1,500 NGOs participated in Durban, [5] where anti-Semitic cartoons and books like the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” and Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” were circulated. Protestors shouted “Death to the Jews” and accused Israel of committing holocausts.[6]

The NGO final declaration accused Israel of apartheid and ethnic cleansings (article 164), called for the total isolation of Israel by comprehensive sanctions (art. 425) and threatened those countries who are supporting Israel’s “acts of genocide” (art. 426).[7] The UN draft resolution filed by the Arab states equated Zionism with racism. Both the United States and Israel withdrew their delegations from the conference.[8]
Durban II Strategy: NGOs already lobbying UN Forums to demonize Israel
As mandated by the General Assembly, the conference in Geneva is being held to facilitate the implementation of the first conference and enhance the “global drive for the total elimination of racism.”[9] Against this backdrop, the conference aims to focus on worldwide, endemic “Islamophobia … and the worsening of the situation of Muslim minorities around the world” since 2001.

It also defines “counterterrorism or national security” and “freedom of expression” in Western countries as “obstacles in hampering progress in the collective struggle against racism.”[10] The regional conferences and Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) meetings – led by Libya and other countries such as Iran, Egypt, Pakistan and Cuba [11] – also have adopted an anti-Western slant/anti-Israel. For example:
• At the Latin American regional session held in Brasilia, Brazil June 17-19, a coalition of Palestinian NGOs sent an “open letter” to the governments of Latin America proclaiming the Palestinian people as the “victims of the world’s late state-sponsored colonial apartheid regime” suggesting that Israel should play a central role in Geneva. [12]

• In August, the African Regional Conference issued a declaration mentioning the “plight of the Palestinian people” while failing to mention the genocide in Sudan. [13]

• At a meeting of the Preparatory Committee in May 2008, a UN working group released a document which “expresses concern about the plight of the Palestinian people under foreign occupation,” as “particular vulnerability of this group is dramatically enhanced if it is connected to racial or ethnic distinction from the occupying power” [14] At the same meeting, the PrepCom accredited the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign for the NGO forum accompanying the conference, while the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy was rejected. [15]

• On Oct. 8, the Asian regional group submitted a draft document accusing Israel of “racial practices” against Palestinians, “a new kind of apartheid, a crime against humanity, a form of genocide,” as well as “aggression, acts of racism, and intimidation.” The document repeats the inciting language from the Tehran planning conference in April 2001. [16]

• At the end of October, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), which facilitates the PrepCom and is hosting Durban II, released a first Draft Outcome Document. It contains nine paragraphs condemning Israel as guilty of apartheid, including crimes against humanity and genocide, allegations that Palestinians are victims of Israeli racism and the accusation that Zionism is racism by referring to a “racially based law of return.” There are no draft paragraphs condemning any other UN member state. The representatives of various Arab and Muslim states backed these paragraphs and proposed additional ones. [17]

Western governments cautiously stake out role
In contrast to 2001, Western governments and international organizations seem to foresee the dangers posed by Durban II and the crucial role of the NGOs. Canada[18] and Israel[19] already have declared their intention to stay away from the conference in Geneva. U.S. officials have said they won’t participate unless it is proven that the conference will not be used as a platform for anti-Semitic behavior.[20]
Most European governments have yet to announce their plans for participation in the upcoming conference in Geneva. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in February 2008 that his country would withdraw from the conference if its demands are “not taken into account.” Said Sarkozy, “France will not accept a repeat of the digressions and extremes of 2001. Our European partners share France’s concerns.” [21]
During a round trip to the Middle East in October, Foreign Minister Per Stig Moller of Denmark called on his Arab partners to withdraw their proposal to make criticism of religion equivalent to racism.[22]

Footnotes:

[1] Durban Review Conference 2009, Web site of the Office of the Untied Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, accessed on Nov. 10, 2008, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/racism/DurbanReview/;
World Conference Against Racism Web site, accessed Nov. 10, 2008, http://www.unhchr.ch/html/racism/02-documents-cnt.html
[2] “NGO Forum at Durban Conference 2001,” NGO Monitor, http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article/ngo_forum_at_durban_conference_
Excerpts from the WCAR NGO FORUM DECLARATION on Palestinians and Palestinian Refugees, Sept. 3, 2001, http://www.badil.org/e-library/NGO-excerpts.htm and http://www.palestina-balsam.it/b76.html
[3] Bruckner, Pascal, “Boykottiert Durban 2!” Perlentaucher.de, July 31, 2008, http://www.perlentaucher.de/artikel/4698.html;
Durban Review Conference 2009: Independent Jewish Voices about the Durban Review Conference, NGO Monitor, Dec. 7, 2008, http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article/durban_conference_0#up2
[4] Firestone, Wayne, “Durban Derailed into a Conference of Hate,” Aug. 31, 2001, http://www.adl.org/durban/jpost_op_ed_831.asp
[5] Steinberg, Gerald and Balanson, Naftali, “NGOs and the Durban review Conference: History Repeating Itself,” Policy Study No. 32, World Jewish Congress Research Institute, http://www.ngo-monitor.org/data/images/File/Durban-WorldJewishCongress.pdf
[6] Bruckner, Pascal, “Boykottiert Durban 2!” Perlentaucher.de, July 31, 2008, http://www.perlentaucher.de/artikel/4698.html
[7] “NGO Forum at Durban Conference 2001,” NGO Monitor, http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article/ngo_forum_at_durban_conference_
[8] Report of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, Durban, Aug. 31 – Sept. 8 2001, UNHCR Web site, http://www.unhchr.ch/huridocda/huridoca.nsf/e06a5300f90fa0238025668700518ca4/cb95dc2388024cc7c1256b4f005369cb/$FILE/N0221543.pdf
[9] UN General Assembly, Global efforts for the total elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and the comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action: report of the Secretary-General, 19 October 2008. A/63/366. Online. UNHCR Refworld, available at: http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/490588b42.html [accessed 9 December 2008]
[10] Libin, Kevin, “Durban 2: New Site, Same Debacle,” National Post, Oct. 25, 2008, http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=907004&p=2
[11] Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Durban Review Conference Bureau of the Preparatory Committee, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/racism/DurbanReview/bureau.htm
[12] Durban Review Conference 2009 – Regional Preparatory Meetings, accessed Nov. 11, 2008, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/racism/DurbanReview/regional.htm
[13] United Nations General Assembly, Preliminary document of the African Regional Conference Preparatory to the Durban Review Conference, August 2008, http://blog.unwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/draft-abuja-declaration.doc
[14] Outcome Document –Inventory of issues, http://blog.unwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/durban_non-paper_working_group_27_may_2008.doc
[15] “CIJA blocked from Durban II,” The Canadian Jewish News, May 8, 2008, http://www.cjnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=14618&Itemid=86
[16] “NGO Information Sheet – UN Durban Review Preparatory Committee Deliberations In Geneva,” European Forum on Antisemitism, Oct. 13, 2008 http://www.european-forum-on-antisemitism.org/durban-review-watch/view/article/ngo-information-sheet-un-durban-review-preparatory-committee-deliberations-in-geneva/;
Durban Review Conference 2009 – Regional Preparatory Meetings, Office of the UNHCR Web site, accessed Nov. 21, 2008, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/racism/DurbanReview/regional.htm
[17] “Durban Review PrepCom: Will NGOs Lead a Repeat of the 2001 Catastrophe?” NGO Monitor, Oct. 23, 2008, http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article/durban_review_prepcom_will_ngos_lead_a_repeat_of_the_catastrophe_;
Durban Review Conference 2009, Second substantive session, Oct. 6-17, 2008 Documentation, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/racism/DurbanReview/session2-documentation.htm
[18] “Canada Takes Firm Stance on United Nations World Conference Against Racism,” Jan. 23, 2008, http://w01.international.gc.ca/MinPub/Publication.aspx?isRedirect=True&Language=E&publication_id=385786&docnumber=16
[19] “Israel will not participate in the Durban 2 Conference,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs Web site, Nov. 19, 2008, http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/About+the+Ministry/MFA+Spokesman/2008/Israel-will-not-participate-in-Durban-2-Conference-19-Nov-2008.htm
[20] “World Conference Against Racism,” Remarks by U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, U.S. Department of State Web site, Sept. 3, 2001
[21] Foxman, Abraham H., “Durban: Not Again,” Haaretz, March 20, 2008;
French President Sarkozy Speech at CRIF, http://www.ajc.org/site/c.ijITI2PHKoG/b.3908711/, Feb. 13, 2008
[22] “Maressa, Jette Elbaek, “Danish foreign minister threatens Western boycott of Durban II,” Jyllands-Posten, Oct. 28 2008, http://europenews.dk/en/node/15473; Lungen, Paul, “Denmark threatens boycott of Durban II,” The Canadian Jewish News, Nov 6, 2008

Contact:
Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi: 202-857-6644 (office), [email protected]
Meagan Buren: 202-857-6671 (office), [email protected]
www.theisraelproject.org