The forecast for New York City for September 22 is for a big cloud of anti-Semitism – brought to you courtesy of your own tax dollars.
The third edition of the farcically-named UN World Conference Against Racism is this time being held on American soil after stints in Switzerland in 2009 and South Africa in 2001 (hence its shorter moniker, Durban) and there is no reason to believe this one will be any different than the first two.
Durban III, still more than a month away, is already causing an uproar, thanks in no small part to scholar Anne Bayefsky's valiant efforts to expose this odious gathering for what it really is. Several countries, including the United States, Canada, Israel, the Czech Republic, Italy and the Netherlands have already announced they will boycott it.
Now comes word that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is scheduled to speak at the UN on the same day as the conference, signalling he will show up at the "anti-racism" event again, just as he did in Geneva in 2008. That was the speech, you will recall, in which he condemned Israel for being "totally racist" and accused the West of using the Holocaust as a pretext for aggression against the Palestinians. European Union delegates left the room, although they appear set to give it another shot this time.
The conference's results are a foregone conclusion. The Arab bloc and its allies have enough votes at the UN to declare that the Earth is flat if they'd like. The assembled will release recommendations saying that full compensation should be given for states with a colonial past and that Zionism is synonymous with racism.
At the 2001 Durban conference, Israel, and only Israel, was singled out and named as a racist state. None of the Arab dictatorships was accused of racism towards non-Muslims, and the Chinese were spared mention of their treatment of Christians and Tibetans. Based on the original draft of the Durban Declaration, racism will cease to exist as soon as Israel is wiped off the map.
At that original conference, the Palestinian Solidarity Committee of South Africa was distributing copies of the fraudulent Protocols of the Elders of Zion to anyone who would take it, and banners promoting genocide were at every street corner – including one famously stating that "Hitler should have finished the job".
Given this history, it is surprising that more Western countries have not stepped up to boycott this year's event. Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said it best last November when he declared that Canada would not participate, calling the event a "charade" and a "hatefest".
What should we do then?
For one, we need to help Bayefsky and others to draw attention to this event, and to pressure UN states to boycott the conference. If it becomes nothing more than a debate session of the world's least credible governments, anything coming out of it should have no moral authority anyway, not that countries with no moral authority care about that: with a straight face, Iran just recommended to England to show "restraint" with its looters. The fact that Durban III is being held in New York a few days after the tenth anniversary of the worst terrorist attack of our time – what Bayefsky likens to "pouring salt in the wounds of still grieving Americans" – should be highlighted.
Further, pressure must be laid on decision-makers in Washington to reduce American funding for the UN. America continues to fund nearly a quarter of the UN's budget and is the largest contributor by far. Americans are therefore paying a good chunk of the bill for Durban III. Given the ongoing economic crisis and the search to cut frivolous spending, now is the time to increase pressure on Congress
Former Ambassador John Bolton's 2007 call to move from a system of automatic assessments to one of purely voluntary contributions should be revived. Funding would then only go to efforts America supports. "We should pay for what we want and get what we pay for," Bolton said at the time.
What are we waiting for?