Few spectacles more clearly demonstrated what is wrong with the United Nations than the UN World Conference Against Racism held in Durban, South Africa in September 2001. Thanks to the domination of that conclave by a substantial majority led by the most despotic – and racist – regimes on the planet, “Durban” became synonymous with unbridled vilification of the United States and Israel. Even the most pro-UN Secretary of State in memory, Colin Powell, was so infuriated by the proceeding that he felt constrained to walk out.
Ironically, the insights Durban provided into the extraordinary mutation of the United Nations – from an instrument the United States was indispensable to creating after World War II in the hope of preventing future conflicts into what amounts to the diplomatic equivalent of mob-rule in the hands of America’s enemies – were obscured by what happened within days of the conference’s conclusion: the September 11 attacks. Ironic because, as the most indefatigable journalistic observer of the UN, Claudia Rosett, has observed, those “hijackings [were] driven by the same kind of hate stoked at the Durban conference.”
It may well be that, because of our preoccupation with al Qaeda’s acting out the Durban agenda, we failed to respond properly as a nation to this 2001 orgy of anti-Western hate-mongering and racism. There is no excuse, however, for what is about to happen: American taxpayers are poised to be charged for the preparation of a follow-on conference that promises, if anything, to be even worse than what is now known as Durban I.
As Ms. Rosett and the Hudson Institute’s indispensable Anne Bayefsky have warned, the UN is now launching “Durban II,” a conference to be held in 2009 for the purpose of reviewing “implementation of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action.” Given that these products of the first conference were so defective, one might think a review conference could be justified, provided it had any prospect of rectifying their myriad shortcomings.
Unfortunately, in the farce the United Nations has become, the job of preparing to review the Durban I conference is being entrusted to none other than Muammar Qaddafi’s despotic and Islamofascism-supporting regime. Worse yet, the Libyans are being helped in their work by other preposterous members of the UN’s Human Rights Council, including Pakistan, Cuba and Russia, and by non-Council member Iran.
(You might be confused by all this if you thought one of the “reforms” the United States wrested a few years back from the would-be “world government” on Turtle Bay was a panel on human rights that actually respected and strengthened them. If so, see John Bolton’s excellent – albeit dispiriting – account in his just-released memoirs, Surrender is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad. Amb. Bolton lays bare how the State Department, Europeans and others hostile to U.S. interests begat a new council essentially indistinguishable from its appallingly bad predecessor.)
In the UN’s inimitable fashion, there are now no fewer than five organs charged with advancing the Durban agenda. In addition to Qaddafi’s preparatory commission, these are: the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action; the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent; Five Independent Eminent Experts (I am not making this up) to Follow-up the Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action; and the Ad Hoc Committee of the Human Rights Council on the Elaboration of Complementary Standards.
Even the European Union has begun to balk at this absurd exercise, joining the United States and Israel in a recent vote on a resolution on Durban II promoted by the so-called African Group. As is generally the case in the UN, though, the U.S. and its friends were simply outvoted by those more-or-less-explicitly hostile to freedom.
Two things are clear: First, as is also generally true of all things related to the United Nations, the costs associated with the countless meetings, meals, perks and logistical requirements of these five, self-important entities and eminent experts are exorbitant. The UN Secretary General’s office came up with an initial (and probably conservative) estimate of $7.2 million.
Insult will be added to injury however if oil-rich Durban II promoters like Iran, Libya and Russia and their allies are able to make you pay for the platform with which they intend to revile and hector America and Israel. All other things being equal, they stand to do so if they can get the tab picked up by the UN’s regular budget – of which this country underwrites nearly a quarter.
Second, Durban II’s architects have in mind making us pay even more dearly in another coin. As Rebecca Tobin put it in a December 8th posting on EyeOnTheUN.org: They seek to “create ‘new normative standards aimed at combating all forms of contemporary racism, including incitement to racial and religious hatred’ – in other words to turn the alleged defamation of Islam into a global witch-hunt in the name of human rights.”
Will the Bush Administration and Congress allow a new Durban goat-rope to occur at our expense – literally on our dime and to the detriment of our moral standing, security and other interests? Now is the time to say “No” – No to conclaves that empower and embolden Islamofascists and other racists, and No to any underwriting of them by American taxpayers.