Posted tagged ‘Durban’

Holocaust Denial Yes, Clown Noses No

April 21, 2009

Being a head of state has its privileges. One is the ability to commandeer a global podium and say whatever you want.

If you’re an NGO, not so much. The European Union of Jewish Students, and perhaps other Jewish student groups, have lost their accreditation to the Durban Review Conference for standing up to Ahmadinejad in the corridors of the Palais des Nations yesterday. (The now-famous clowns who protested in the assembly hall were actually from the French Union of Jewish Students, but that distinction seems to have been lost on the conference secretariat.)

Signs, placards, and costumes are apparently against UN rules. Of course, so is calling for the eradication of another member state, but no one seems particularly eager to enforce that one.

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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.

What Durban II Should Have Been…

April 20, 2009

Kudos to the crowd over at AJC’s UN Watch, which was a key part of the diverse coalition that put together yesterday’s Geneva Summit for Human Rights, Tolerance, and Democracy — a gathering of dissidents and human rights activists speaking out for dispossessed minorities around the world.

Among the key speakers: Ashraf El Hagog, the Palestinian doctor who was imprisoned, tortured, and sentenced to death in Libya for supposedly infecting children with AIDS. UN Watch had previously brought him in to speak at the UN — and this happened.

Also, check out Zvika Krieger’s reflections over at The New Republic.

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Two more countries have withdrawn from the Durban Review Conference — Poland and New Zealand.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).

Outreach from Pillay’s Office

April 7, 2009

In what seems like fairly unusual outreach, representatives in New York of the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights pledge that Durban II will be a “celebration of tolerance.” They also assert that there’s nothing accusing Israel of racist practices in the current document … well, except for that pesky reaffirmation of the 2001 document that accuses Israel of racist practices.

Durban from a Different Perspective

March 24, 2009

For another take on U.S. engagement with Durban, check out Dewayne Wickham’s USA Today column from this morning, which argues that the new Durban text represents a successful diplomatic outcome, on which the black and Jewish communities can find common ground.

While the 2001 Durban Declaration is objectionable because it singles out Israel, it does include meaningful content on the actual of issue racism. For the Jewish community, its flaws outweigh its contributions, but that’s not the case for everyone. Let’s see how the politics play out.

Not Good Enough

March 24, 2009

JTA reports a sort of emerging Jewish communal consensus — the new text is nice, but “not good enough,” since it still reaffirms the 2001 Durban Declaration without reservation.