Roger L. Simon » Durban II Diary - Part 4: The UN folds its cards
At 4PM Geneva time, the United Nations and its High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay announced that the responsible committee (hard to know exactly who that is) had approved the final outcome statement of the Durban Review Conference.On that note, and since this Jew-bashing conference was supposedly an exercise in anti-racism, convened by some of the most race-conscious of people, let us remember that it is Israel that makes it illegal to have a bumper sticker that reads "No Arabs - no terror", while even in Israel chants of "Death to the Jews" go unpunished.
The odd thing is - it’s Tuesday and the conference is not supposed to end until Friday. Whazzup?
Ahmadinejad, of course. This was damage control at its most obvious - and totally predictable to many people here, myself included. The UN wants everyone to go away and forget this conference as quickly as possible. The institution has received a horrible dose of publicity that led even the usually idolatrous BBC to raise a skeptical eye.
Making matters worse for the UN today was a seemingly under the radar panel brought together in the Palais (only yards from the actual plenum) by the Touro Institute’s Ann Bayefsky in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day. This formidable panel consisted of Natan Sharanksy, Elie Wiesel, Jon Voight, Alan Dershowitz, Shelby Steele and Father Patrick Desbois. Father Desbois is the only name there that may be unknown to you. It shouldn’t be. He is an extraordinary man who has devoted his life to locating the remains of anonymous Holocaust victims in Eastern Europe and is the author of a book undoubtedly not high on Ahmadinejad’s reading list - The Holocaust by Bullets: A Priest’s Journey to Uncover the Truth Behind the Murder of 1.5 Million Jews.
This panel was electric, even to jaded me, and should have been the true conference. (PJTV will have it in a day or so.) During it, the African-American Steele made some telling points that were taken up by the others - (paraphrasing here - I would recommend the author’s own work) implying that racism had diminished significantly and was now being used as an excuse for failure. It had become, in Steele’s words, a “distraction.” And that anti-Semitism was the biggest distraction of all, an obsession that turned people away from their own problems and prolonged them.
Meanwhile, an unbelievably high percentage of the UN’s time (and money, of course) has been devoted to the Palestinian-Israeli question with little or no time for anything else. This was underscored later in the day when a demonstration in support of Darfur was staged outside the Palais. There was little interest in this genocide inside, just as there was very little interest in Rwanda. For the UN, it’s “All Palestine All The Time”.