« How to Cash in on the Bailout Money |
Blog Home Page
| Obama's Transparency »
February 15, 2009
Obama Administration may participate in Durban II
Well, file this info in the "this was predictable" column. Israeli officials are receiving reports from their emissaries that a movement is afoot within the Obama Administration that will lead to American participation in the UN’s World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.
Sounds proper on the surface. Of course, the Conference is better known as Durban II, the sequel to the first such conference held in South Africa in September, 2001. That conference was transformed into an infamous anti-Semitic hate fest reminiscent of Nazi Germany. At the time, the prospects of such a farce occurring was evident. America honorably refused to participate, as did Canada. Not this time around.
The [Israeli] Foreign Ministry received confidential telegraphs from Israel's embassies in Washington, the United Nations and Geneva, about a possible change in the policy of the new U.S. administration regarding "Durban 2."
"Iran and Arab countries will once more take over the conference, and if the U.S. participates in 'Durban 2,' it will be a major blow," a senior Israeli diplomat told Haaretz. "This will pull the rug from under us and will lead to the participation of many more countries in the conference."
In one of the telegrams, a number of Obama officials reportedly pressed Secretary of State Clinton to announce the U.S. would participate in the conference.
One of the leading officials pressuring Clinton on "Durban 2" is the new U.S. ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, who was Obama's close campaign adviser.
Rice is also pushing for the U.S. to join the UN Human Rights Council, which is based in Geneva. The body had been boycotted by the U.S., in part because of its one-sided criticism of Israel.
President George Bush had accused the HRC of opting to focus on Israel instead of dealing with the genocide in Darfur.
The other official pushing for American participation in "Durban 2" is Samantha Power, another Obama adviser at the National Security Council.
Power participated in the initial Durban conference as the representative of a non-government organization and is known for her strong criticism of Israel. In the past, she expressed support for cutting U.S. military assistance to Israel and transferring the funds as aid to build a Palestinian state.
Israel is boycotting the conference because a declaration equating Zionism with racism is expected to be made there. In addition, it is expected that the organizers and participants will charge that Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinians, and, like before in Durban, will make anti-Semitic statements.
The Bush administration agreed with Israel last year that the U.S. would not participate unless it received guarantees that the conference would not become a stage for anti-Semitism and one-sided criticism of Israel, as occured during the first Durban meeting in 2001.
Canada also announced that it was boycotting the conference and the Foreign Ministry has tried in recent months to convince European Union countries to also avoid participating.
We at American Thinker saw the graffiti on the wall last year. We predicted in May of 2008 that Barack Obama would likely agree to participate in Durban II . We were not alone.
Professor Anna Bayefsky, whose Eye on the UN website is superb - also speculated that America would play a role in Durban 2.
Barack Obama has always advocated a more “cooperative” approach towards the United Nations. In her maiden speech to the United Nations, Susan Rice called upon Israel to investigate itself for war crimes for its actions in Gaza (a radical request of an ally); she also expressed support for the International Criminal Court-a forum that critics of Israel have often attempted to use to indict Israel and Israeli officials (a movement to do so is currently underway).
There is no surprise that Samantha Power, newly ensconced at the National Security Council as the official in charge of multilateral organizations (and she has never met a multilateral organization that she has not admired), has pushed for America to participate in Durban II. She knows from first-hand experience that it was used to attack America, Israel and Jews. Nevertheless, she apparently has no compunction in signing up again for a sequel. She has made comments that are certainly not just anti-Israel but verge on anti-Semitism (during the campaign she complained that scrutiny of Barack Obama all came down to “what was good for the Jews” )
This time she will give an American imprimatur to a conference that may very well become a forum not just for Israel-bashing for but expressions of anti-Semitism, as well.
Our taxpayer dollars at work.
Paul Mirengoff of Powerline predicted that Powers’ influence on the National Security would grow. Not only was she the closest foreign policy adviser to Barack Obama and has a close relationship with him that extends back years (they are Basketball and Blackberry pals) but she has apparently benefited from portfolio creep - the tendency for the responsibilities of officials to grow over time - so that she can now move into areas that were not formally in their job description or indicated by their title. Some people were reassured that Power had no formal role in dealing with Israel. That assurance can no longer be taken for granted.
The power grab by the National Security Council that I wrote about in the Bureaucratic Coup Targeting Hillary and Israel may have already borne bitter fruit.
What is shocking is that the State Department seems to be advocating that Jewish and Israeli groups try to stop this from happening. The State Department has usually been a very unfriendly place for Israel in the past (and for Jews, for that matter), The Department is usually considered a haven for so-called Arabists. The coup by the National Security Council must have ruffled feathers among State Department officials if they are advocating groups become involved in preventing US participation in Durban II.
The times-they are changing.
The White House said late Saturday (when actions that are controversial are often ignored by the media) that it would participate in planning for the UN conference on racism despite concerns the meeting will be used by Arab nations and others to criticize Israel.
The U.S. will decide later whether to participate in the conference.
The State Department said it would send diplomats next week to participate in preparatory meetings for the World Conference Against Racism, which is set to be held in Geneva, Switzerland in April and which some countries including Israel have already decided to boycott.
During the Bush administration the United States and Israel walked out the first U.N. conference on racism in Durban, South Africa in 2001 over efforts to pass a resolution comparing Zionism — the movement to establish and maintain a Jewish state — to racism.
Those efforts failed but there are signs the resolution may be reintroduced at the so-called "Durban 2" meeting in Geneva and Israel has been actively lobbying the United States and European countries to stay away from this year's meeting.
In a statement released late Saturday, the State Department said the U.S. delegation to the planning discussions would review "current direction of conference preparations and whether U.S. participation in the conference itself is warranted."
The administration also stated that the intent is to change the direction in which the review conference is headed and their actions should not be misconstrued to indicate that the US will participate in the conference in April. Canada has already announced it will not participate, maintaining the meeting will promote racism.
The Obama administration thinks it can change the tone and the promotion of anti-Semitism during the planning of the conference. The history of such UN-sponsored events is replete with outbursts of anti-Israel actions and marked by expressions and promotion of anti-Semitism. If the agenda is cleansed of obvious anti-Semitism promotion, will the Obama team declare their involvement in the planning a success and participate in the conference? What then will happen when the agenda is ignored and the attendees at the conference (or people outside the official meetings) spout anti-Semitic invective?
Will the Obama team see any of this through their rose-colored glasses? Will the mainstream media even bother to report that the UN has again been used to promote anti-Semitism (which it has a history of so doing . Indeed, Professor Anna Bayefsky has called the United Nations the Leading Global Purveyor of Anti-Semitism.
Now the US seems to be on the verge of joining the party.