19 April 2009

Good Call - the US Withdraws from the UN's Conference on Racism

The United States has withdrawn from the UN's upcoming Conference on Racism, largely because (as stated in a Bloomberg report):

"The Geneva conference will review progress on the 2001 Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, or DDPA. The UN says about 4,000 delegates will attend, including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."

The DDPA was and is a huge problem. It essentially declares Israel to be fully at fault in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and while skirting the line of Holocaust-denial, blames Israel for racist oppression of the Palestinians. The entire conference is an issue as well, since the most vocal member states all enact racist and sexist policies. Any confrontation of these policies is impossible through this body however, as the same members have managed to turn around any criticism, calling it racist offensive. It's a neat trick to accuse your enemies of what they would charge you with, but it doesn't make it more accurate. The article continues:

While the Geneva draft text is an improvement on the 2001 document rejected by the U.S., it still reaffirms “in toto” the DDPA statement, the State Department said on April 18.

“The DDPA singles out one particular conflict and prejudges key issues that can only be resolved in negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians,” acting State Department spokesman Robert A. Wood said in a statement. “The United States also has concerns with relatively new additions to the text regarding ‘incitement’ that run counter to the U.S. commitment to unfettered free speech.

There has been a lot of worry and bother over whether or not the new Administration would cave to pressure, and participate in the conference, thus giving its members cover. It's good to know that the US is still going to draw a firm line - at least for now.

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