Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, April 2009
US, EU Boycott of Geneva Conference Shields Israeli Zionist Racism
By Hassan El-Najjar
Editor of ccun.org
April 21, 2009
It's a sad day in the history of the US and the world. The administration of Barack Obama, the first African American President, has followed the Israeli lead blindly, and took with it several EU countries, away from the UN conference on Racism in Geneva, April 20-24.
This is just another occasion in which the Obama administration shows that there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats, whites or blacks, when it comes to Master Israel.
This US-EU position is nothing but support for Israeli Zionist racism perpetrated against the Palestinian people. Period.
Even without saying it bluntly, any conference on racism is a condemnation of Zionism as racism. Zionist Israelis have been discriminating against the Palestinian people, on racial and religious bases.
In 1948, racist Zionists usurped the Palestinian homeland by force, with full support from the UK and US. They have been denying Palestinians all their inalienable human rights, as expressed in the UN universal declarations and as prescribed in the UN resolutions, particularly their political rights as expressed in resolutions 181, 194, and 242.
Palestinians have been denied any political rights inside their homeland. Since the brutal Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, Zionist racists in Israel have been denying Palestinians freedom, keeping them under military rule, killing them, injuring them, kidnapping them, destroying their property, and building illegal settlements on their lands.
The Zionist propaganda machine has been trying to justify this US-EU position by focusing on Iran and Ahmadinejad.
No matter what they do and how they do it, the whole world knows that the issue is Palestine, which is under the savage Zionist, racist, Israeli occupation.
This is the truth, plain and clear.
This is a truly sad day! Instead of stopping Israeli Zionist racism, US and EU governments still shield and support Israeli racism.
US 'will not join' anti-racism conference
WASHINGTON (AFP) —
The United States "will not join" the UN conference on racism starting Monday in Geneva because its final declaration still includes language the US "is unable to support," the State Department said.
"Unfortunately, it now seems certain these remaining concerns will not be addressed in the document to be adopted by the conference next week. Therefore, with regret, the United States will not join the review conference," State Department spokesman Robert Wood said in a statement.
Australia said Sunday it would also not attend a UN conference on racism in Geneva as it feared the event would be used as a platform to air "offensive views", including anti-Semitism.
Australia could not support the final text for the UN's Durban Review Conference because it reaffirmed the original Durban Declaration of 2001, which singled out Israel and the Middle East, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said.
"Regrettably, we cannot be confident that the review conference will not again be used as a platform to air offensive views, including anti-Semitic views," Smith said in a statement.
He said Australia was also concerned at suggestions from some delegations to limit the universal right to free speech.
Smith praised the efforts of some delegations -- including Russia, as chair -- to improve the review conference but said Australia had regretfully decided not to participate in the five-day conference beginning Monday in Geneva.
Negotiators in Geneva said Friday that Western and most Muslim states had agreed on a declaration for the five-day Durban Review Conference that ironed out the most controversial issues relating to religious discrimination, Israel and the Middle East.
The United States, along with Israel, walked out of the landmark World Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa in 2001 after a row with some Muslim states about Israel's treatment of the Palestinians and anti-Semitism.
US doubts have persisted through preparations in recent months for the Durban Review Conference in Geneva, which is meant to take stock of international progress in fighting against racism and xenophobia since 2001.
The anti-racism conference's success is also thrown in doubt after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced he would attend, sparking renewed fears the meeting could end in acrimony like the original anti-racism conference in Durban in 2001.
Ahmadinejad, who has stirred outrage (among Zionists and their followers) by repeatedly calling the Holocaust a "myth" and with comments (against the brutal Israeli occupation of Palestine), is the only prominent head of state so far scheduled to attend the Geneva conference.
After Saturday's agreement on the meeting's final text, European diplomats also said they were considering whether to participate in the conference, according to the French foreign ministry.
Foreign ministers from Britain, the Czech Republic, France, Germany and the Netherlands had a joint telephone discussion, and would talk again on Sunday, a French diplomat said.
Wood said that while "we applaud the progress" made on the new conference document, which he said is "significantly improved" compared to prior versions, it falls short of easing US concerns.
"The text still contains language that reaffirms in toto the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA) from 2001, which the United States has long said it is unable to support.
"Its inclusion in the review conference document has the same effect as inserting that original text into the current document and re-adopting it."
Wood said the DDPA singles out the Middle East conflict "and prejudges key issues that can only be resolved in negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians."
He also said the United States has "serious concerns with relatively new additions to the text regarding 'incitement,' that run counter to the US commitment to unfettered free speech."
The spokesman thanked the delegations - including Russia, as chair - and UN officials who worked to improve the review conference, but regretted the United States would not attend the Geneva conference.
"The United States remains fully committed to upholding the human rights of all individuals and to fighting racial discrimination of every form in every context.
"We will continue to work assiduously in all United Nations fora and with all nations to combat bigotry and end discrimination," Wood added.
NZ to boycott UN conference on racism - McCully
Monday Apr 20, 2009
Foreign Minister Murray McCully has confirmed New Zealand will not take part in the United Nations conference on racism.
The Geneva conference is in trouble because of intense sensitivity around Israel and Arab states - the last UN meeting called to condemn racism ended in chaos when Muslim delegates tried to insert language into a declaration defining Zionism as racist.
The United States walked out of that conference in 2001 and won't attend next week despite a draft declaration which doesn't mention Israel, the Middle East or any other divisive issues.
Australia has also said it will not participate.
Mr McCully said New Zealand would not attend because he was not satisfied the wording of the review would prevent the conference from "descending into the same kind of rancorous and unproductive debate that took place in 2001".
"I was determined that New Zealand's participation in the review conference would be on the basis of a draft outcome document that did not endorse the 2001 declaration, and which responsibly and productively addressed racism."
He said the review would also need to avoid circumscribing freedom of expression.
"Combating racism and related intolerance is an important cause and one to which New Zealand attaches the highest importance.
"However, the review conference in Geneva is not likely to advance the cause of race relations at the international level, and so New Zealand, like many other countries, will not be represented at it."
Green Party MP Keith Locke yesterday said he strongly opposed New Zealand joining a US boycott of the conference.
"Most nations will be present at the meeting, which will be opened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon," he said.
"It would be highly ironic if just as we are farewelling Helen Clark to head up a major UN agency, we boycotted a key UN meeting at the behest of the United States."
Former prime minister Helen Clark has been appointed head of the UN Development Programme and has left for New York.
Mr Locke said there was a large degree of consensus around the revised text of the draft declaration to be discussed at the conference.
Other countries boycotting the event out of concern that Islamic countries will demand that it denounce Israel and ban criticism of Islam include The Netherlands, Germany, Canada, Israel and Italy.
The administration of President Barack Obama, America's first black head of state, announced on Saturday that it would boycott "with regret" the week-long meeting in Geneva, which already is experiencing much of the bickering and political infighting that marred the 2001 conference in Durban, South Africa.
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