Durban II: Trashing Human Rights; Islamists Target Free Speech at U.N. Parley
Byline: Ed Royce, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Seven years ago, the United Nations held a conference on racism in Durban, South Africa to address what some saw as growing trends in hate speech and discrimination. Lofty ideals aside, the conference quickly collapsed into an anti-American, anti-Israeli spectacle. As then-Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat delivered rants on the conspiratorial and racist goals of Israel, others handed out flyers celebrating Adolf Hitler. Having had enough, the United States rightly walked out in protest.
Today, the United Nations is gearing up for a Durban follow-up set for 2009. Like the first conference, "Durban II" would be funded through the regular U.N. budget, 22 percent of which comes from the American taxpayer. In a symbolic gesture, the United States withheld equivalent funds from the U.N. budget, and voted against its final passage.
Regardless, Durban II will proceed, and the prospects for it taking a 180-degree turn are not good. Like the first Durban conference, some of the worst human-rights violators will serve on Durban II's panel. Participating members were selected by the gravely disappointing U.N. Commission on Human Rights - the same commission that has passed light condemnations of the regimes in Burma and Sudan. Its passion is democratic Israel, which has been condemned 15 times over the past two years.
Chairing Durban II will be Libya, whose U.N. ambassador called Israel "the most terrorist regime in the world," and whose deputy likened the situation in Gaza to the Nazi concentration camps. For its leader's denial of the Holocaust and repeated calls for the destruction of Israel, Iran has also been granted a leading position on the commission. In a supporting role will be Pakistan and Egypt - each strong critics of Israel. While we can expect the same denunciations of Israel and the United States that we saw in 2001, Durban II may prove to be even more harmful.
Participants will likely seek to shape international norms, attempting to push restrictions on basic freedoms of speech to prevent "Islamophobia." A recent resolution passed by the U. …