by Adam Daifallah | Hudson-NY.org | September 23, 2011
Demonstrators chant slogans near the United Nations headquarters, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011 in New York, against the Durban III racism conference scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 22 at the U.N. Ten years ago, the U.N.'s first conference on racism ended up in fierce acrimony, with accusations that it was hijacked to bash Israel, Zionism and Jews. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Get ready: tomorrow is R-Day at the United Nations: the World Conference Against Racism – a misnomer if there ever was one – a.k.a. Durban III, and the UN's meeting on upgrading the Palestinians toward a seat at the U.N as a new member state from which they will be able better to propagate their outspoken efforts to delegitimize Israel in an effort eventually to supplant it.
This "one-two punch," as Canadian Human Rights scholar Anne Bayefsky calls the Durban III Conference, will be the greatest attempt yet to delegitimize Israel in several years.
Since we last covered this event on August 10, opposition to Durban III has grown. Eight new countries have joined the six -- Canada, who led the boycott for the second time; the US, Israel; The Netherlands; the Czech Republic and Italy -- that were already boycotting the conference: Australia, Austria, Germany, Bulgaria, the United Kingdom, France, New Zealand and Poland.
Every Western democratic member of the permanent five powers on the UN Security Council is boycotting the conference. This at least virtually guarantees that Durban III, and whatever racist conclusions it arrives at, will not be able to claim a trace of moral authority.
But the massive boycott is far from being the only opposition. Three separate events will be held at the same time as the UN-sponsored assault on the only democracy in the the Middle East, Israel.
Most prominently, there is "Perils of Global Intolerance", an event co-organized by Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, and Bayefsky, and sponsored by the Hudson Institute and the Touro College Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust.
This event will feature guest speakers, including former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton; Gov, Mike Huckabee; Muslim Journalist Khaled Abu Toameh; Dr, M. Zuhdi Jasser, Shelby Steele; Southern Sudanese leader Simon Deng and the Canadian Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, who led Canada's earliest, trend-setting boycott.
Also, a coalition of NGOs has organized an event called We Have A Dream: Global Summit Against Discrimination and Persecution, which, unlike the UN-sanctioned event, will shine a light on the really urgent situations of persecution, discrimination and human rights abuses -- which the UN will ignore -- and push for UN reform.
Finally, the pro-Israel organization, StandWithUs, will hold a mock-circus demonstration across from UN headquarters called Durban 3 Ring Circus Rally, across from UN headquarters. Organizers will dress up as clowns to parody what is going on inside: I think you get the picture here.
These alternative events, and the quality of groups and speakers lined up to participate in them, show the depth of revulsion not just to the UN and its "anti-racism" conferences, but to the entire approach the UN takes toward real issues of racism and human rights abuses, a condition which has persisted there since 1975, when UN General Assembly Resolution 3379 "Determines that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination," a slur repealed only with enormous difficulty by the US Ambassador there ,at the time, John Bolton, in 1991; it was commonly known as "Zionism=Racism," or "Z=R." A critical mass of activists and elected officials are no longer content to stay silent on the N's wretched approach of attacking viable countries while remaining silent on human rights' worst offenders, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Cuba, Venezuela, Russia, Turkey and China, to name but a few.
The irony is that while the Western world rejects the UN's approach with more and more gusto, it continues to bankroll this institution of human rights abuses it at the same time – much of it by the United States to the tune of an automatic 22% of the UN's budget, plus additional billions for the renovation of the Secretary-General's lavish residence.
Whatever happens at Turtle Bay can be dealt with in due course, perhaps by the US suggesting that if the UN moves ahead with initiatives that the US finds unacceptable, such as the Palestinians evading their own precious agreement Res. 242, to hold direct negotiations with Israel, a commitment they have refused to honor for over two years. While Israel has been willing to negotiate with no preconditions, the Palestinians have continually refused, probably in the hope that they will be handed more concessions cost-free, rather than having to negotiate and possibly having to compromise on something. Durban III must look to them like a gift: you pocket whatever you get cost-free, while still holding out for the rest -- in this instance: replacing all of Israel with a Palestinians State, as they openly state in both their Charter and in their media (see www.pmw.org); "from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea," as framed by the Palestinian Authority Minister for Jerusalem Affairs, Faisal Husseini.
The drive for reform at the deeply corrupt UN (think Oil-for-Food, or Sex-for-Food, for a start] should be led by those contried boycotting Durban III. The way the UN is funded -should immediately be revisited. Ambassador John Bolton's call to move from a system of automatic assessments to one of purely voluntary contributions seems to be the best possible option. We can only hope that Durban III will be the final installment of this pitiful trilogy. If tthe only countries attending Durban III were the unfree Arab states and other assorted dictatorships, at least we could see the UN for what it has, sadly, become.