Archive for the ‘Breaking News’ category

Czechs Leave With Mates

April 21, 2009

The Czech Republic, having seen Ahmadinejad take the floor yesterday, has had enough of the Durban Review Conference.

This is significant, at the Czech Republic holds the EU Presidency, and had previously suggested it would therefore continue to participate as long as other European countries did. This is a rare and total splintering of the European consensus at the UN, especially in Geneva. Five member states, including the Presidency, have left their counterparts behind.

Mahmoud’s Day in the Spotlight

April 20, 2009

The bad news:

  • Ahmadinejad still thinks that Israel shouldn’t exist, and that the world should urgently act to eradicate it. These views led at least a handful of delegates to applaud.
  • He was allowed to speak first at the general debate — “to accomodate the schedules of visiting dignitaries,” wink, wink — making him into a keynoter of sorts.

The good news:

  • He was greeted by hundreds of protestors.
  • Most or all of Europe — and, reportedly, Morocco — walked out. And his speech was roundly condemned as the nasty bit of hate-mongering that it was.

Dominos Keep Falling: Poland, New Zealand Out

April 20, 2009

Two more countries have withdrawn from the Durban Review Conference — Poland and New Zealand. Report on Poland is here from Le Figaro (in French).

Nations of Good Will Must Turn their Backs

April 19, 2009

The author of these words will be addressing the Durban Review Conference tomorrow:

“Zionists have dominated the main media and monetary centers of the world to plunder nations by threats, smearing campaign and psychological war.Today the behavior of U.S. officials and Europe’s parties and governments are dominated by Zionists. They have monetary and financial systems of the world and have kept nations in poverty and direct their money and fortune to their pockets.”

Yep, it’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, helpfully parsing the main themes of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Enabling this racist to appropriate an anti-racist forum is perhaps the ultimate farce. Which is why AJC today reiterated its call for all “nations of good will” to withdraw entirely from the conference; those states who do attend are urged to instruct their representatives to leave the hall when Ahmadinejad delivers his rant. Read the full statement here.

The US, Australia, The Netherlands: Farewell Durban Review

April 19, 2009

It’s been a momentous twenty-four hours. The US announced it was pulling out the Durban Review Conference, swiftly followed by The Netherlands and Australia.

 “We applaud the principled stance of the United States,” said AJC Executive Director David A. Harris of the US statement. “The Obama Administration correctly concluded that the reaffirmation of the 2001 Durban Declaration in the final declaration effectively singles out Israel for condemnation. That is an outrage.” Read AJC’s statement in full here. 

“We know that this choice was difficult, given the Australian government’s deep commitment to racial equality,” said Harris of the Australian decision. “It’s still more proof that the UN’s relentless obsession with one country obstructs the real struggle for justice and human rights.” More here.

 In a letter to Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen, AJC wrote:  “Throughout the Durban preparatory process, you have been steadfast in your view that the Netherlands will not accept the unjustified singling out of any country, and will not allow democratic values to be trampled upon in service of a particular political agenda. Today, you courageously acted upon these commitments.” Read the full letter here.

Mahmoud’s Traveling Circus…

April 13, 2009

… comes to Geneva. Iranian President Ahmadinejad will attend the Durban Review Conference.

Suprising, in a way. After all, Geneva is a central hub for multinational corporations and international finance, and, as the president has previously reminded us, “Although they are a minuscule minority, Zionists have been dominating an important portion of the financial and monetary centers well as the political decision-making centers of some European countries ….”

On a serious note, this does not bode well for the overall level of calm, seriousness, or focus on the actual subject of racism next week.

Australia ‘Unlikely’ to Attend

April 13, 2009

Australian FM Stephen Smith puts it rather plainly: “Frankly, unless something qualitatively changes or something qualitatively different occurs, it is most unlikely that Australia will attend the Durban Review Conference in Geneva.” (From Xinhua news.)

This is perhaps the clearest indication yet of Australia’s intentions. Though, it must be said, the Conference’s opening gavel is less than a week away. At what point — if only for logistical reasons — do threats of non-attendance need to begin to be realized? (Heck, if anyone’s going to show up from Canberra, don’t they practically have to leave tomorrow?)