'Deck Stacked Against' Israel Ahead of UN Racism Conference [Excerpts]
With a venue and date set for a United Nations conference on racism, organizations hoping to avoid a repeat of the problems that plagued the 2001 gathering are going to have to be "very aggressive to see that Israel and her Zionist supporters around the world are not demonized," a leading Jewish human rights group said Wednesday.
The U.N. announced that the conference will be held in Geneva over five days next April.
The gathering is meant to review progress made in the battle against racism and xenophobia since the World Conference Against Racism, held in Durban, South Africa in 2001.
The Durban U.N. meeting and a parallel non-governmental organization (NGO) forum were characterized by repeated attacks on Israel, including accusations of racism and apartheid-like policies. The United States and Israel withdrew their delegations in protest, and some of the language targeting Israel in the conference draft documents was subsequently changed.
Plans for a review conference -- dubbed "Durban II" by critics, although it won't be held in the South African port city this time round -- have raised fears that Israel once again will find itself in the dock.
Canada and Israel earlier this year announced they would boycott the conference, and the U.S. and Britain have indicated that they will not take part if the preparatory process suggests that the upcoming conference will repeat controversial elements of the 2001 event.
The U.S. also is not taking part in the preparatory sessions, and last December it voted against the overall U.N. budget resolution in part because of its opposition to the inclusion of funding for Durban II.
The groundwork for the conference is being laid by a U.N. preparatory committee (PrepCom) bureau, comprising representatives of 20 countries including Iran, Cuba and Pakistan, and chaired by Libya. The process is taking place under the aegis of the U.N.'s Human Rights Council (HRC), which has itself drawn fire for what critics say is a disproportionate focus on Israel at the behest of Islamic states.
[TBC: While many of the countries on this committee have proven themselves abusers of human rights, it is clear that their agenda will not include correcting themselves, but insuring that Israel is labeled "racist."