Showing posts with label Durban 2. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Durban 2. Show all posts

Friday, April 24, 2009

Post Mortem for Durban II

Claudia Rosett explains why the fiasco of the United Nations "Durban II" conference was inevitable given the way the UN understands the world:
The debacle this week was, above all, a natural product of the U.N. system. The real basis for fighting racism is neatly summed up in five words from the U.S. Declaration of Independence: "All men are created equal." But in the U.N. calculus, it is not the equality of individual men or women that matters most. Instead, the U.N. tends to exalt the "equality" of sovereign states--as if there were no difference, say, between North and South Korea; Iran and the U.S.
As an aside: The person who almost single-handedly convinced the Useful Idiots that Ahmedinijad never said Israel should be destroyed - my old friend Juan Cole - seems to have managed to get through this whole week with nary any mention of the event. A blogger's prerogative, of course, to talk about what one wishes and be silent on other matters.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hitler, Durban, Holocaust

Jewish holidays begin at sunset and end at sunset. This evening will see the beginning of Holocaust Commemoration Day in Israel (and in some Jewish communities beyond), called Yom HaShoah in Hebrew. The New York Times has a chilling article about the Nazi killing fields in the Soviet Union. A brief reminder of the dimensions of that horror.

Once every 19 years or so Yom HaShoah falls on April 20th, Hitler's birthday. During the Nazi era this was a very important day, with parades and ceremonies. Someone I know who went to an AUstrian highschool in the 1970s once told me that every year on April 20th many of the students appeared at school in brown shirts. In the 1970s.

Of course, we've got the Durban II United Nations anti-racism conference starting today, too. So far it's being boycotted by Australia, Canada, Germany, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United States and New Zealand, because it's got nothing to do with anti racism, and everything to do with antisemitism and shielding Islam from free speech. Iran's president is scheduled to give a speech there today, and the representatives of the UK, France, Austria, and other upright democracies will be there to celebrate with him, as will the Arab folks who recently feted Sudan's Omar Bashir, the indicted mass murderer and genocidaire.

The AP has a roundup on the event, which is mostly reasonable except for this wierd paragraph:
Still, after years of preparations there appears little evidence to validate these fears. The statement of 2001 that is so contentious now was cheered in Israel at the time, as it recognized the Jewish state's right to security.
Antisemitism has always flourished on lies, nothing new there. Anyway, the conflation of all these events on one day do rather serve to underline the state of the world. There have been worse moments of time, certainly, but the room for improvement keeps on getting bigger. Finally, the Palestinian contribution: a recent sermon by Ziad Abu Alhaj, broadcast on Hamas television on April 3rd, 2009. Here's some background. Notice that while the man doesn't like Israel, his hatred is directed at Jews, all of them always, his source is (his reading of) the Koran, and he's very clearly calling for world-wide genocide.

Before you get agitated about the wrong things, however: the content of his hate speech isn't new. People have been saying things like this with regularity for millennia, and some of their listeners have acted upon it will regularity of their own, even if the attempt to kill all Jews was a Nazi novelty. If there's anything new about that sermon, it's that now there's a large international constituency, a broad deep and important one, that fervently tells us the sermon doesn't mean what it says, it's not serious, or if it is it could easily be defused if only the Jews took note and changed, and what have you. That, perhaps, may be new. And perhaps not.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Boycotting Durban 2

In the name of fairness: not long ago I posted an article criticizing the Obama administration for participating in the preparations for the Durban 2 hatefest. Yesterday the State Department announced that having tested the waters they'd decided not to plunge in, essentially continuing the policy formulated by the Bush administration of boycotting the conference. A number of European countries are mulling the same - after all, it's the Obama Americans who are boycotting the conference, not the Bush ones.

All in all, the process seems reasonable. The new folks inherited a rather unusual position - America doesn't often boycott things - so they went to check what it was all about. Having learned first hand, they understood the inherited position was correct, and they affirmed it. Can't do better than that, it seems to me.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Durban 2

You might want to mark the date of the upcoming international hate fest: the so-called Durban 2 conference, scheduled for April 20th in Geneva. April 20th, as some people know, was Hitler's birthday, a national holiday in Nazi Germany, and a high-alert day for West German police forces after the war. The symbolism is apt.

According to this rather technical article, the Obama Administration has broken with the Bush Administration's admirable stand of having nothing to do with the event. The Obama people are participating in the preparations, and aren't even trying very hard to head off the damage.

I'm not an international diplomacy wonk, so I can't vouch for the details of the description, but it sounds pretty bad to me. Not that the conference will be all that important, mind you: the antisemites will celebrate, the others will avert their eyes, and the world will continue as before.