US Pulls out of Durban because of anti-semitism; Europe expected to follow

Dare I believe this? A major victory over demopathy… before the decade has passed!

Anne Bayefsky suggests there’s more than meets the eye, here. Keep an Eye on the UN

U.S. pulling out of ‘Durban II’ conference

By Ron Kampeas · February 27, 2009

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Obama administration has decided to boycott the so-called Durban II conference out of concerns for anti-Semitism.

Multiple sources on a conference call with the White House on Friday told JTA that the Obama administration had opted not to attend any further preparatory meetings ahead of the planned U.N. conference against racism in Geneva in April.

The conference reprises the 2001 conference in Durban, South Africa that devolved into an anti-Jewish free-for-all. Canada and Israelhave opted not to attend the conference, and some U.S. Jewish groups had been pressing the United States to do the same.

Preparations for a draft document so far have seen Iran leading a coterie of nations blocking inclusion of anything that might guarantee Jewish protections – including mention of the Holocaust – while inserting draconian language guarding Islam against “insult.”

The State Department sent a delegation, including a senior staffer from the American Jewish Committee, to this month’s preparatory talks. The delegation’s conclusions were that the anti-Israel and anti-Western tendencies were too deeply entrenched to excise.

Now that the United States is withdrawing from the conference, European nations are expected to follow.

Speaking for the White House on Friday’s call were Samantha Power and James Warlick, who handle international organizations for, respectively, the national security council and the State Department; and Jennifer Simon, an adviser to Susan Rice, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations.

Solomonia is somewhat snarky about it:

Once again, these guys come around to doing exactly the same thing the previous crew would have done after campaigning on fantasies. How much long-term damage is this dreaming ideologue going to do in other situations that don’t have as much attention cast on them, and are just a half-step away from as obvious as this “Durban” situation has been? We can only “hope.”

But in some senses, it’s better we went there and walked away, than not going. Indeed, if the Europeans follow suit, it does illustrate the influence that a well-viewed president can exercise on countries which would otherwise be too cowardly to resist, and who might, in times of unpopular US presidents, be drawn into a spiteful and suicidal resistance to the American lead. If the Europeans do drop out, this places Obama in a position to make major moves on the level of discourse.

Of course, watch out for the backlash, not only among Muslims and radicals, but the “realist” Walt-Mearsheimer crowd.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the motivation for this came from the team itself observing the madness that the UN has become, and not from the moral outrage recent American behavior justifiably provoked. Either way, let’s hope this is a principled move, based on an awareness of the demopathy at work, and not a favor for which some major payment is expected down the line.

I’ll wait to hear more before making any other remarks, but I must say, this has made my week.

UPDATE
: H/T Naomi Regan

Favorable reaction to the administration decision is coming in from Jewish leaders and others. B’nai B’rith International executive vice president Daniel Mariaschin said the decision sends a “clear message” that “the administration is not going to tolerate business as usual in these multilateral forums” and also gives a signal to other countries “that have been waiting for us” to make a decision that they can fall in line behind the United States.

The quick decision, just a week after the U.S. attended planning meetings for the April conference in Geneva, also was a positive, said Mariaschin. “The sooner the better,” he said, because if the administration had waited until just a couple weeks before the conference, other countries might not have opted out.

“The administration was faced with the reality that this was not going to change,” he said, and “sensed that their red lines had been crossed and there was no sense pursuing this.”

The Anti-Defamation League also weighed in Friday afternoon: We applaud the administration for refusing to participate in a process that would in any way brand Israel as a racist country. The campaign to label Israel’s policies toward Palestinians as racist serves, in effect, to revive the infamous allegation that Zionism is a form of racism.

This swift and clear-eyed decision demonstrates that the U.S. government speaks with a consistent moral voice against the singling out of Israel for condemnation in the United Nations, and is determined to engage in a fight against racism that is free from the politicization and hatred that has plagued the Durban Review Conference process.

The Congressional Task Force on Anti-Semitism, chaired by Reps. Ron Klein (D-Fla.) and Mike Pence (R-Ind.), also applauded the decision: We applaud the Administration for their decision to pull out of Durban II. It is clear to us that the same anti-Semitic displays of hate witnessed in the first conference are likely to be showcased once again, with nations such as Libya and Iran leading the charge. Especially at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise, the United States simply cannot stand by as an important international conference on racism is hijacked by those who wish Israel harm.

We hope that the parties involved in planning the second World Conference Against Racism will abandon their agenda of hate and draft planning documents which adhere to the red-lines set forth by the United States Congress. In the meantime, it is imperative that the United States not lend its good name to a futile effort.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.): It is very unfortunate that there will no willing partners to try to refocus the Durban II conference on its stated goal to review country commitments to fight racism, xenophobia and intolerance. I welcomed and urged the U.S. effort to engage forcefully in trying to prevent the conference from singling out Israel in any way, but am disappointed that the international community is unwilling to stand up to those who are once again hijacking the conference for political expediency.

“I hope that the Administration’s announcement will galvanize like-minded countries and those who have been sitting on the sidelines to end this mindless march toward an outcome that serves none of the victims of racism, xenophobia and intolerance, and I urge the organizers of the conference to show leadership to create the conditions for universal participation in Durban II. If they cannot, I believe that the United States can and must continue its leadership in addressing these vital matters without participating in a conference that may become focused on political issues that have no place in what should be a joint struggle to end racism, intolerance and xenophobia.

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies: This is unquestionably the right decision,” said FDD President Clifford May. “It sends a message that racism and hatred must not be tolerated in any of its guises — not least when that racism and hatred is used to justify terrorist attacks around the world. We hope that Europe follows the lead of the United States and Canada in refusing to participate.”

The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism’s Rabbi David Saperstein: We deeply appreciate the Obama Administration’s effort to try and prevent the Durban II conference from being hijacked by those with an anti-Semitic and anti-Israel agenda. While there was disagreement in the Jewish community as to whether such efforts would have been better served by the Administration’s engagement in or disengagement from the process, the fact that the Administration made the effort to play a constructive role dramatizes to the world both our seriousness about tackling the scourge of racism and the tenacity of those forces committed to hijacking the conference in pursuit of their anti-Semitic or anti-Israel agenda.

United Jewish Communities’ William Daroff: As feared, it has become increasingly clear that the only purpose of the
Durban conference is to condemn the State of Israel for its very existence. President Obama is absolutely correct in refusing to participate in this sham.Israel is one of our nation’s closest allies and we commend the President for recognizing the need to remove America’s name from these efforts to soil the name of Israel and Jews across the globe. We are hopeful that other countries will follow our lead by refusing to give credibility to this shameful fear mongering and anti-Semitic effort.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee: The event, which has again proven to be a celebration of racism and vile
anti-Semitic activity, is further evidence of the U.N.’s inability to demonstrate any semblance of fairness or objectivity on these issues when it comes to the Jewish State. President Obama’s decision not to send U.S. representation to the April event is the right thing to do and underscores America’s unstinting commitment to combating intolerance and racism in all its forms and in all settings.

Jewish Council for Public Affairs’ Rabbi Steve Gutow: It is a tremendous shame that the global forums we set up to discuss importantissues are so overly-politicized that they have left the U.S.with no option, but to opt out. Unfortunately it seems clear that this conference will turn into Durban II-an exercise in racism against Jews, rather than an honest attempt to address global racism. We support the clear process the Obama Administration followed in order to reach this decision.

The American Jewish Congress: We applaud both the Administration’s decision not to attend the Durban Conference and its effort to make it possible for the United States to demonstrate its desire to join in a world wide conference ending the scourge of racism. We hope that other nations will now follow suit and announce that they, too, will not attend.

The Administration, in keeping with its commitment to multi-lateralism, will send an observer to the UN Human Rights
Coalition meeting in March. Acknowledging that the Human Rights Council is a poster child for what is broken with UN mechanisms, the Administration’s limited cautious effort is understandable, though unlikely to produce much.

14 Responses to US Pulls out of Durban because of anti-semitism; Europe expected to follow

  1. JD says:

    “but the “realist” Walt-Mearsheimer crowd.”

    Is there such a crowd that relies on the W-M work? It is so blatantly crankish I think it is ignored by the “realist” crowd. I never see it cited for anything.

    I read the paper, not the book. It has value. For one, it gives insight to Jimmy Carter’s paranoia and blaming the Jews for his election loss. For the proposition of Jewish money control of politics in the 1970′s, and implicitly later, the paper, in footnotes, cites weird memos prepared for Jimmy Carter early in his administration. They have the cachet of some outsider revealing the secrets of campaign finance to yokel who comes to the big city. One hoot was one memo’s claim Jews financed 80% of Nixon’s campaign funds. I guess the other 20% was Howard Hughes. Check out the footnotes, they’re inadvertently entertaining about the Carter memos.

    Another value, it contains the only discussion I’ve ever seen about the fact that, at least in one period of time, 25% of military aid was going to Israel to spend on its domestic industries, probably mostly to the Lavi project. This is different because most military “aid” for foreigners is domestic USA pork. The 25% is used to imply the Israel Lobby got that for Israel. They don’t mention this supposed Lobby got shafted when the US ordered Lavi shut down–would cut into f-16 sales. Also, and more important in the context, the writer know, which few understand, that this military aid money does not “go” to Israel, but to Lockheed. And, this boondoggle money also goes “to” Egypt, part of the “carrot” for the 1978 peace deal for the parties, and not the idea from the Israel Lobby or Egypt Lobby, but the good ol’ American Arms Lobby. In fact, I think the “Israel Lobby” has failed in almost every attempt it has tried to lessen sales or tech transfers from American companies to Arab states. Walt is military connected, he knows, and rather than explain the greater misreality on the “why” of military aid, he focuses on the Lavi money from America.

    End my statement for the day. The Durban thing is overblown, Obama was never going to send someone to it.

  2. oao says:

    The Durban thing is overblown, Obama was never going to send someone to it.

    i am not so sure alibama won’t attend as his own decision, but rather due to public pressure. but had he attended, it would have been disastruous, because it would have signaled american antisemitism and left israel without ANY supporter. islamists’ interpretation could have caused serious damage in other areas.

  3. oao says:

    but I must say, this has made my week.

    how sad that we are down to such things making our weeks.
    future does not look good.

  4. oao says:

    i don’t believe it was done because of anti-semitism. it was done because of anti-americanism.

    and btw, the US will now be an observer at the UN’s Human Rights Council. another way of saying that a boycott is not really a boycott.

  5. Cynic says:

    oao,

    If America signals that it is turning its back on Israel then it is giving the green light to anti-Semitism around the world.
    Then “whatever super natural force (WSNF)” help the Juice wherever they are.

  6. Cynic says:

    JD,

    Thanks for that insight.
    I have only gone on what has been said in blogs but have not had the opportunity to read nor the background to analyze intelligently the paper.

    It would have been nice if someone have done a proper Fisking and released it in PDF for those in other parts to have a correct template to ponder.

  7. oao says:

    If America signals that it is turning its back on Israel then it is giving the green light to anti-Semitism around the world. Then “whatever super natural force (WSNF)” help the Juice wherever they are.

    What do you mean IF???? It’s already given many such signs. And just wait for mitchell and shrillary to start their work.

    what have the authorities in florida and california and other places done when arabs attacked or threatened jews or screamed “to the ovens”? they told the jews to go away.

    we’re talking global 1930′s and democracy is gonna take the the west into a repetition of what happened then on a global scale. people just don’t want to accept the obvious, particularly the jews. when you see so many jews hating israel, it’s sign of what’s coming.

    i will reiterate: for me the US has become an enemy of israel.

  8. oao says:

    how do you interpret chas freeman, btw? what are his qualifications that would override his prostitution for the saudis and chinese and his anti-semitism? what signal does his appointment sends?

  9. JD says:

    “but rather due to public pressure”

    In a way, perhaps. Possibly those first moves was like sticking a finger in the wind by testing possible attendance. He might have thought attendance would gain him easy brownie points with the leftists. They are grumpy lately, but easily satisfied with tricks like not wearing the flag pin.

    However, supplication to the United Nations has no cachet with the Western Left any more. I never hear its pronouncements invoked as the “truth” any more. No more, “but the UN says…” Perhaps it was the fall of Marxist and allies domination of UN, maybe the realization the UN’s “science” can be scamming, like the million dead Iraqi baby story and its interplay with Oil for Food. With the opening of Iraq it is unavoidable to notice Iraq has hospitals ‘n stuff and the Iraqi say no such thing happened.

    Another general example–note how climate change exponents fastidiously avoid mentioning the UN as the source of their information and avoid the word “Kyoto” which invokes the UN relationship. No one seeks the United Nations as an authority.

  10. Eliyahu says:

    oao, of course freeman is a Judeophobic rat and a Saudi agent. Maybe his appointment is seen in DC as a tradeoff for cancelling participation in Durban 2. Durban I was something like a medieval religious disputation where Jews could never win. If the Catholic cleric won the debate, that was a signal to persecute Jews. On the other hand, if the rabbi got the better of his dispute with the priest or bishop or whatever, than that was an outrage that had to be expunged by a pogrom. Durban I was like a mob drama or melodrama, like a medieval passion play. The mob’s passions are aroused by simplistic images of Good and Evil and then it is hard to contain the passions raised. Of course today, there is a common belief in the “social change” community and the “Left” that vox turbae vox dei, the voice of the mob is the voice of God. No doubt some “social change” advocates were pleased at how a mob in London intimidated the local police at a pro-Hamas demo there or the regular setting of cars on fire in France, especially in the banlieues of Paris, which happens Every Day as far as I know,

    JD, you’re right about the meager influence of the “Israel Lobby” when weapons deals are concerned. Do you remember how the AWACS deal went through in the early 1980s? And then nobody talks about how the US Treasury subsidized ARAMCO’s payments to Saudi Arabia so that the US company could pay more to the Arabs but not out of its own pocket, by taking advantage of the Foreign Tax Credit law.

    JD, you say that Walt is “military connected.” I thought that both were State Dept connected. Is that wrong? Anyhow, it seems like their ridiculous “book” was written as an assignment for the purpose of pressuring Israel. How any well-informed person, especially academics in history and poliical science, can take their tract seriously is beyond me. Of course, most of the reviews that I’ve seen were bad. Nevertheless, as Goebbels or whoever said, a lie repeated often enough…

    As to the Lavi, as I understand, it was supposed to be a payoff to Israel for not reacting to the Egyptian violation of the Rogers cease fire [ca. July 1970] as soon as it was supposed to go into effect, and for absorbing the first strike in the Yom Kippur War, which killed hundreds if not thousands of Israeli soldiers, and maybe also for giving up Sinai to Egypt.

  11. JD says:

    Cynic writes:

    “It would have been nice if someone have done a proper Fisking”

    I think I saw some from Dershowitz maybe. However, I think that misses some of the most interesting stuff (for me)–like the Jimmy Carter footnotes on Jewish money–no other source is cited, presumably real sociologists and political scientists have lots of papers on ethnic contributions–I doubt any of them say 80% of Nixon’s money came from Jews.

    It would be a hard article to fisk overall, it is so convoluted. What I would like to see Mr. Landes set up for fisking here, given his interest in film, is the film “Munich”, essentially the writer’s dilemmas with anti-zionism and Marxist internationalism and anti-Americanism imposed upon the story of a spy. But that’s me. The audience I saw it with was quietly enthralled, I on the other hand, almost burst out laughing during the pro-French cheese scene.

  12. JD says:

    Eliyahu,

    JD, you’re right about the meager influence of the “Israel Lobby” when weapons deals are concerned.

    Not only on sales to Arab enemies (today basically “friends” against Iran), and subsidization of American weapons to Jordan and Egypt, but the subsidization of American weapons to Israel itself.

    As to the Lavi, as I understand, it was supposed to be

    Could be a cover story. It’s really about money and American industry.

    “JD, you say that Walt is “military connected.” I thought that both were State Dept connected. Is that wrong?”

    Being connected to the State Department means nothing about understanding money or anything besides person to person communications. One of them is connected to the Naval Academy.

    “Anyhow, it seems like their ridiculous “book” was written as an assignment for the purpose of pressuring Israel.”

    Anti-semites need no such reason.

  13. oao says:

    of course freeman is a Judeophobic rat and a Saudi agent.

    i know the story. i was just responding to “if the US signals that it abandons israel” — it has been signaling that many times and freeman is one of the most obvious signals, because he has no redeeming analytical talents and he’s openly anti-senitic and a saudi whore.

  14. oao says:

    Possibly those first moves was like sticking a finger in the wind by testing possible attendance. He might have thought attendance would gain him easy brownie points with the leftists. They are grumpy lately, but easily satisfied with tricks like not wearing the flag pin.

    most likely. but then they could not have any effect so they probably couldn’t just stay after it was clear they changed nothing. and there was a lot of anti-maerica too, which would have made them look like idiots.

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