NRO's The Corner Blog
September 9, 2011
by Anne Bayefsky
On Thursday, Western negotiators at the U.N. caved in to the demands of envoys from Islamic states to renew a modern-day form of the decades-long U.N. smear campaign alleging that the Jewish state is racist. Diplomats agreed on a new "anti-racism" declaration that went public Friday at noon. The document is intended to be adopted by all the heads of state and government in attendance at the U.N. "Durban III" conference to be held in New York City on September 22. So far, nine democratic countries, including the United States, Israel, and Canada, have decided to boycott the event and will not agree to the racist "anti-racism" manifesto.
The final sticking point in negotiations, conducted at U.N. headquarters over the last two months, was whether the original Durban Declaration adopted in 2001 in Durban, South Africa, would be reaffirmed. Passed just three days before 9/11, with the enthusiastic participation of Yasser Arafat, the Durban Declaration grossly discriminates against Israel — the only one of 192 UN members charged with racism in the document.
On Thursday, Islamic states led by Benin, as well as South Africa and the rest of the bloc of developing states called the G-77 — which constitutes a majority of UN members — held firm to their demand to reaffirm the whole message of the 2001 declaration. Western opposition fell apart. The document therefore reads: "We heads of state and government ... reaffirm our political commitment to the full and effective implementation of the Durban Declaration."
The document also catapults the Durban Declaration and its racist-Israel libel into the center of the U.N.'s "anti-racism" agenda. It "reaffirms" — actually for the first time — that the Durban Declaration is "a comprehensive framework and solid foundation" for combating racism. It downgrades the relative status of the U.N. racism treaty, which has been on the books for 46 years; negotiators refused to repeat even the 2009 Durban II statement that the treaty was "the principal international instrument to prevent, combat and eradicate racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance" or to call for the treaty's universal ratification. Non-parties to the U.N. racism treaty include the likes of Angola, Malaysia, North Korea, and Burma/Myanmar.
In U.N. backrooms Thursday, Islamic states and South Africa taunted the weakness of Western negotiators. South Africa said: "You say you want to commemorate the ten years of the existence of that document, but you don't want to reaffirm it … Come to terms with the fact that you are celebrating ten years of the existence of a document." Indeed, the goal of the entire spectacle is now unmistakably set out in the new declaration's opening words: "We heads of state … gathered at the UN Headquarters … to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration." It will be a celebration of a conference best remembered for handing anti-Semitism a global stage.
What happens next? The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, a native of Durban and lead champion of the "anti-racism" sham, will begin to parade the new declaration as a contribution to the equal protection of human rights. Prior to Durban II, Pillay audaciously told reporters: "The Durban Declaration transcended divisive and intolerant approaches." The one and only head of state to attend Durban II in Geneva was the tolerant Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. And as soon as the conference adopted an "outcome document," Pillay held a news conference calling the event "a success story" and pointing to the language which related specifically to Palestinians.
Pillay is well known as the U.N.'s top salesman of the notorious Goldstone report, which she continues to push despite the main author's having retracted the central allegations against Israel. Not surprisingly, therefore, Pillay has been issuing statements calling objections to Durban III "political distractions" "from the legitimate goal of the commemoration."
No doubt U.N. negotiators have been careful to conceal their intent by dressing-up U.N.-based anti-Semitism as an "anti-racism" proclamation. Nowhere on its face, for instance, does the document mention the word "Israel." The new declaration contains multiple seemingly innocuous references to the "victims of racism." But the references were promoted by negotiators for Islamic states because the Durban Declaration itself refers to Palestinians as "victims" of Israeli racism.
Most revealing of the pathology of today's United Nations is what happened to Western democratic countries when they were outnumbered — they surrendered. Fifty-five Western states refused to vote in favor of the 2010 General Assembly resolution sanctioning Durban III. But now that the actual event is around the corner and has clearly shaped up to meet the worst expectations, only nine states have pulled out. Consequently, there are just 13 days left to find out if there are any other world leaders who really care about combating racism and intolerance — perpetrated inside and outside the United Nations.
Anne Bayefsky is no longer a Senior Fellow at Hudson Institute.
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