Durban II: Politicizing Racism

the mere censure of Israel’s unfair, undemocratic and racist policies – let alone taking any action to bring them to a halt – is mechanically considered anti-Semitic from an Israeli standpoint and US administrations.

The US conditioned its participation of the April conference in Geneva (Durban II) by removing any specific censure of Israel, and ensuring that Israel is not ‘singled out’ for criticism. Although US sensibilities constantly expect, but demand the singling out of any country, leader or group it deems rouge, war criminal, or terrorist, Israel is treated based on different standards. “A bad document became worse, and the US decided not to participate in the conference”, Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported in reference to the draft documents being finalized before the conference.

The original “bad” document apparently dubs Israel “an occupying state that carries out racist policies”, a description which is consistent with international law, UN resolutions and the views of leading world human rights defenders – Archbishop Desmond Tutu,  John Dugard, the former UN Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories, Richard Falk,the current UN’s envoy, among many others.

The ‘bad document’ might have ‘became worse’ with new references to the Gaza bloodbath, which killed and wounded nearly 7,000 Palestinians in 22-days.

From an American – and unfortunately, Canadian and Italian, so far – viewpoint, such inhumane practices don’t warrant a pause or mere words of condemnation. The same, of course, doesn’t apply to Sudan, Zimbabwe, Iran, Cuba and other ‘unfriendly’ nations. The US decision must be particularity disheartening to African nations who saw in the advent of Barack Obama some vindication. The US first black president, however, saw it fit to boycott a conference that intended to discuss the issue of slavery and repatriation, to once again prove that race alone is hardly sufficient in explaining US internal and external policies.

A day after rebuffing the conference, US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton arrived on her first visit to the Middle East, where she admonished Iran, Hamas and Hizbollah – for largely posing threats to Israel – and praised the Jewish state and its ‘moderate’ allies.

She remarked in a joint statement with Israeli president Shimon Peres, on March 3: “It is important that the United States always underscore our unshakeable, durable, fundamental relationship and support for the State of Israel. I will be going from here to Yad VaShem to pay respects to the lost souls, to remember those who the Holocaust took, to lay a wreath, and to say a prayer.”

Needless to say, Mrs. Clinton refused to visit Gaza, where 1.5 million people are trapped in one large concentration camp, denied access to food, medicine, political and human rights.  read more

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