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The UN is UN-believable

by Archives April 7, 2009

WINNIPEG (CUP) – Canadians and Americans can be proud of their governments’ decision not to participate in the upcoming United Nations Durban II conference in Switzerland.
Canada and the U.S. have joined Israel in boycotting the conference, and Austria, Holland, Denmark, and Britain are contemplating withdrawing from the conference at a later date.
What would make these countries abandon such a seemingly noble conference, intended to put human rights at the forefront of its agenda, and deal with longstanding issues of xenophobia, racism, prejudice, and discrimination worldwide?
The answer to this question lies in the very failure of the United Nations to address these concerns in any real and meaningful way.
In fact, experience has shown that the exact opposite has been the case, and the forerunner to this conference – the 2001 World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance – in Durban, South Africa was a testament to that failure.
Prior to the 2001 conference, four regional conferences took place in Strasbourg, France, Santiago, Chile, Dakar, Senegal, and Iran. At these various conferences, topics of discrimination relevant to the respective regions were dealt with.
In France, issues surrounding foreign migrants and the rights of the Roma were discussed. In Chile, indigenous and black rights were emphasized. In Africa, issues such as tackling discrimination against HIV/AIDS patients were on the table.
But it was in Tehran, Iran that the track took a different route. The Tehran conference focused on Israel almost exclusively, labelling it a violent and fascist regime and a danger to the international community.
Israel was blamed for all the problems of the world, and the political problem between Israelis and Palestinians became an issue of race, leading Israel to be portrayed as an apartheid regime.
Surprisingly, the then-UN high commissioner for human rights praised the conference in Tehran for generating “consensus” on the issue.
The Durban I conference was not supposed to single out any particular political entity or political conflict for specific condemnation. It was intended to address the issues of xenophobia, racism, and discrimination in a broad way with commitments to be made by all countries to improve the global state of human rights.
The conference degenerated from the outset to an anti-Israel and anti-Jewish “hate-fest,” as some Jewish news organizations have called it.
Jewish delegates allege they were harassed, threatened, and silenced.
Pamphlets were handed out claiming that if Hitler had won the Second World War, there would be no Israel, and no Palestinian bloodshed.
The UN resolution that Zionism is Racism was plastered throughout the event, despite the fact that the resolution was repealed – and rightfully so – in 1991.
Calls for the dismantling of Israeli state were commonplace. Nazi swastikas were superimposed over the Star of David and copies of the Elders of the Protocols of Zion, a vicious and racist anti-Semitic forgery claiming that Jews control the world, were being sold.
Furthermore, caricatures of hook-nosed Jews with devious smiles were made available at various stands among various non-governmental organizations at the conference.
It is noteworthy to mention that Jews were even blamed by some for the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, and that representatives from Hamas and Hizballah were seen handing out propaganda at the conference.
All of this was tolerated throughout the conference. Efforts to bring the conversation and decorum to a civilized and fair level were completely dismissed.
The entire purpose of the conference became moot, and served the opposite purpose – to promote racism, hatred, misunderstanding, xenophobia, and discrimination towards the Jewish people and the state of Israel.
Of particular notoriety, the term “Holocaust” was deemed inappropriate by the Egyptian delegation – and other member states – because to them there were many “holocausts.” They made the outrageous claim that the Palestinians had also suffered a holocaust at the hands of Israel and thus the term must be pluralized.
Following the conference, the contracting parties of the Geneva Conventions met again on Dec. 5, 2001, to accuse Israel of violating the convention.
Up until that point, no country in the world, not Rwanda, Sudan, Cambodia, or any other county where real genocide and human rights abuses of untold proportions took place – and continue to take place – was taken before the contracting parties of the convention to be accused of any violation, since the adoption of the convention in 1949.
Not even the conflict in the Balkans, which had only recently ended and was rife with evidence of ethnic cleansing, massacres, genocide, rape camps, and other horrors, merited such a sanction.
Only Israel stood accused, despite being a democracy, despite not being an apartheid state, and despite not engaging in ethnic cleansing or genocide.
It was the sole country out of all countries above deemed to have violated the Geneva Conventions so egregiously that the contracting parties had to take issue with it, and it alone.
It is no wonder that this new upcoming conference to “end discrimination” is met with much trepidation among many Western countries.
It was not even a decade ago that this farce of a conference shed light on a vitriolic agenda to promote, legitimize, and disseminate hatred and manipulate a conference with so much potential to fit a particular political agenda.
The UN has shamefully ignored these inflammatory events, has ignored calls to prevent such hate mongering, and has even actively supported these types of activities, either by turning a blind eye or by giving tacit approval by dismissing these events as simply political expression.
The UN has shown itself to be truly ineffective in combating prejudice around the world and has greatly damaged its credibility.
There is no reason to believe that the UN has changed its attitude since the Durban I fiasco. The same accusations, the same hate, and the same vitriol will be present at this upcoming conference, and the UN will stand idly by as the very principles it purports to stand for are freely trampled upon by those who claim to be disenfranchised and discriminated against.
It is truly unfortunate that the UN’s raison d’

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