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Do the Honorable Thing: Boycott Durban II
The 2001 World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance -- otherwise known as the Durban Conference -- was a parley hijacked by radicals betraying the real purpose of the event -- the confrontation of racial discrimination worldwide.
The April 2009 Durban II conference promises to top that fiasco, despite the Obama administration's decision to attempt to influence the process.
In the end, it will be a Holocaust-denying, anti-Israel hate-fest. The United States, the Europeans and all other democratic nations should boycott this cynical effort to incite racist hatred and religious bigotry. If the United States chooses to attend this fraudulent conference, we will legitimize and sanction the bigotry and racism practiced by the world's most intolerant, anti-democratic nations.
Indeed, it is these nations, and their long and hostile records, that cause the most concern.
Let's look at a few of them.
If you had to choose a responsible nation to chair the beginning conference preparatory committee, a safe bet would be to pass over Libya. Yet as the upside-down logic of Durban II goes, the Libyan representative was elected by his peers, along with vice chairmen from human-rights-abusing nations such as Iran and Cuba.
Libya's twisted worldview -- if there were any doubts -- was on exhibit last April, when its deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Ibrahim Dabbashi, appeared before the Security Council and brazenly compared Israeli actions in Gaza at the time to the Nazis' systematic killing during the Holocaust.
This is what happens when terrorist countries are elevated to the stature of democratic states. So what stunts will they try to pull at Durban II?
Last year, Iran added its peculiar brand of democratic practices to the Durban II process when it protested the credentials registration of the Canadian Council on Israel and Jewish Advocacy, in a preparatory meeting on the conference. With Iran proudly serving as the center of Holocaust denial today, we can only imagine what it has up its sleeve for this conference.
Syria objected recently to language in conference program documents citing the number of Jewish deaths during the Holocaust, saying that it didn't want to engage in a statistical debate. Iran also objected to Holocaust references, complaining that banning denial was a restriction on freedom of expression.
Yet these countries and their allies have been staunch defenders of the insertion of so-called "blasphemy" legislation in numerous other U.N. forums -- a policy that violates freedom of expression through the suppression of any criticism of Islam or its leaders.
The Human Rights Council -- the successor to the Human Rights Commission -- has also been active in the planning of the conference at the request of the U.N. General Assembly. Yet the council, just like its predecessor, has become irrevocably tarred with anti-Semitism and bias against Israel.
The timing of the Durban II conference is equally disturbing. It will take place in Geneva from April 20 to April 24, overlapping Israel's annual observance of Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, on April 21. How ironic it will be that a conference organized by the United Nations, which gave birth to Israel in 1948 out of the ashes of the Holocaust, promises to repeat its shameful performance of 2001 by again allowing the unbridled hatred, condemnation and slander of Israel.
In encouraging this conference to reconvene, and worse -- leaving it in the hands of the likes of Iran, Libya and other terrorist states -- the United Nations again dishonors itself by allowing these tyrants a platform to impose their racial and religious bigotry on the world.
How can the United States be a part of this insanity? If we join this charade, then we extend this dishonor through our presence, sullying ourselves in the process.
We must do the only honorable deed and boycott Durban II, and thereby deny the world's terrorists and bigots the privilege of our legitimizing presence among them.
Gregg J. Rickman served as the first U.S. special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism from 2006 to 2009.