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U.N. Pours Salt in America's Wounds

Just when we were beginning to get into the holiday spirit, the United Nations decided that Durban III is coming to town. 

Late yesterday, the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee adopted a resolution which launches another global “anti-racism” hatefest. It is intended to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the debacle held in Durban, South Africa in 2001. But this time, the UN has outdone itself: the celebration of a notorious prescription for intolerance, closely linked to Islamic extremism, is now scheduled for New York City just days after the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

Like the Ground Zero mosque architects, the UN has decided to pour salt in the wounds of still grieving Americans. The crowds at Durban I held high their signs reading: “For the liberation of Quds, machine-guns based upon faith and Islam must be used,” and “The martyr’s blood irrigates the tree of revolution in Palestine.” The obvious connection between hate and terror, or incitement to violence and violence itself, is either irrelevant to the UN or part of the plan.

The resolution was adopted 121 states for, 19 against and 35 abstentions. States voting against included the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia, and most of the countries that had known Nazism at very close range: Germany, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland and Romania.

The plans for Durban III contained in the document are much more explicit than a usual UN resolution and contradict a very active misinformation campaign already underway by the UN and closely-related individuals and organizations.

Most heads of government avoided Durban I and the only one to attend Durban II was the poster-boy for racism and xenophobia himself, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. So for Durban III, the UN decided to ensnare most heads of state and government by scheduling the event to coincide with the annual opening of the UN General Assembly, when they are all present in New York anyway. The resolution sets the date as September 21, 2011 (“the second day of the General Debate”), and specifically designates it as a “High-Level” meeting “at the level of Heads of States and Governments.”

Contrary to some suggestions, the event will not be a quiet commemoration with minimal political design. Amendments made to the resolution late in the day decide that the meeting should “consist…of an opening plenary, consecutive round tables/thematic panels and a closing plenary meeting.” And then the meeting will adopt a final “political declaration.”

Lest anyone be delusional about which country is intended to be the first course at Durban III, the resolution pinpoints only one theme of the Declaration as the meeting’s focal point, namely, “Victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerances: Recognition, Justice and Development.” The carefully crafted Durban Declaration lists Palestinians as “Victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.”

Of course, as history has demonstrated time and again, the meal never ends with the Jews. The Dutch representative valiantly spelled out to the General Assembly committee a bigger picture: “The fight against racism and discrimination is of such importance that we cannot support any effort to redirect our attention towards different agendas. Unfortunately, the Durban Declaration and…Review Conference did so…by elevating the protection of religion above the protection and promotion of human rights and by placing unnecessary restrictions on the freedom of expression…”

In addition, in the resolution the UN puts out a call for help from the world of rabble-rousers who masquerade as human rights enthusiasts. Despite being fully aware of the violent extremism characterizing the NGO Forum at Durban I, the resolution asks “civil society, including NGOs” “to organize and support” 10th anniversary initiatives “with high visibility.”

The Obama administration is clearly worried about the effects of Durban III on its policy of embracing the UN and its human rights apparatus. U.S. representative John Sammis spelled out their concerns, lamenting to the UN committee that the event “risks undermining the relationship we have worked hard to strengthen over the past few years between the United States and the UN.”

Indeed it does.

The question now is which countries will ensure that their heads of state and of government will not participate in such an outrage. The United States and Israel walked out of Durban I in disgust.
Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Israel, Italy, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, and the United States refused to participate in Durban II.

With 19 votes against and another 35 democracies concerned enough to abstain, it is time to send an even more powerful and permanent message to the UN about Durban and its progeny.

Last night U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called on the Obama administration to “announce publicly, right now, that we will stay away from Durban III, deny it U.S. taxpayer dollars, and oppose all measures that seek to facilitate it. And we should encourage other responsible nations to do the same.”

Unfortunately, comments made by U.S. representative Sammis last evening suggest that the Obama administration will again refuse to take a leadership role in denying legitimacy to the Durban agenda. At Durban II, President Obama pulled out less than 48 hours before the event, ruining chances of building a larger coalition of like-minded states.

Sammis said only: “The poor choice of time and venue for the 10th anniversary commemorative event places a premium on the need for all participants to put forth genuine, good-faith efforts to ensure that this event focuses on the substantive issues at stake in the global fight against racism, and that it does not become a forum for politicization, or efforts that run counter to mutual respect and fundamental human rights.”

Ignoring the writing on the UN walls will not make it disappear. According to the resolution adopted, Durban III will end with a “political declaration aimed at mobilizing political will…for the full…implementation of the Durban Declaration…” It is irrevocably a forum for politicization that runs counter to mutual respect and fundamental rights. Ahmadinejad, who is certain to accept the invitation for a repeat performance, understands that. Why doesn’t President Obama?

Anne Bayefsky is a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute and director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust.

Anne Bayefsky is director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust. Follow her on Twitter @AnneBayefsky.