Does an Anti-Semitic Conference Deserve U.S. Participation of Any Kind?

[Wall Street Journal] Editorial - The first "Durban" conference was named for the South African city where the UN held its 2001 World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and was chiefly notable as a virulent display of anti-Semitism. Yet last weekend, the Administration announced it would participate in "conference preparations," while reserving judgment on whether to attend the conference itself. Back in 2001, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell refused to appear at Durban for fear that it would turn into a carnival of hatred and grievance. That's exactly what happened, prompting Powell to withdraw the U.S. delegation. As he put it at the time, "I know that you do not combat racism by suggesting that apartheid exists in Israel." The UN has been merrily planning the "Durban Review Conference" for April, whose purpose is to "reaffirm the Durban Declaration." The preparatory committee is chaired by Libya. Vice chairs include Iran and Cuba. The conference is organized under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council, which the previous U.S. Administration refused to join. In the latest draft of the so-called "Outcome Document," Israel's "racial policies" are a major theme. The draft also calls for "limitations on the exercise of the right to freedom of expression" in order to criminalize all criticism of Islam. There is also an effort to extract reparations for the long-banned trans-Atlantic slave trade: States that "have not yet condemned, apologized and paid reparations" for the trade are urged "to do so at the earliest."

2009-02-20 06:00:00

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