It is extremely unfortunate that the Obama White House has reneged on Bush’s policy of avoiding and not attending the upcoming Durban II conference in Geneva where Israel will be attacked, ostracized and vilified by an international community led by stalwarts of human rights such as the Arab and Muslim nations of the world, as well as their helpmates, NGOs such as Amnesty and Human Rights Watch.
Whatever has driven the current Administration to revisit this policy and attend the summit, it is probably one of the most shameful decisions it will have made when its tenure is up in 4 or 8 years.
I don’t always agree with Caroline Glick, but she is one smart, sharp writer and political commentator. Her editorial about this decision by the Obama team is powerful and difficult to swallow, perhaps slanted to the right to a degree I reject, but it gives a fair assessment on the meaning of this development. Here is part of it but I suggest you read it all.
SINCE IT came into office a month ago, every single Middle East policy the Obama administration has announced has been antithetical to Israel’s national security interests. From President Barack Obama’s intense desire to appease Iran’s mullahs in open discussions; to his stated commitment to establish a Palestinian state as quickly as possible despite the Palestinians’ open rejection of Israel’s right to exist and support for terrorism; to his expressed support for the so-called Saudi peace plan, which would require Israel to commit national suicide by contracting to within indefensible borders and accepting millions of hostile, foreign-born Arabs as citizens and residents of the rump Jewish state; to his decision to end US sanctions against Syria and return the US ambassador to Damascus; to his plan to withdraw US forces from Iraq and so give Iran an arc of uninterrupted control extending from Iran to Lebanon, every single concrete policy Obama has enunciated harms Israel.
At the same time, none of the policies that Obama has adopted can be construed as directed against Israel. In and of themselves, none can be viewed as expressing specific hostility toward Israel. Rather, they are expressions of naivetÃ©, or ignorance, or – at worst – deliberate denial of the nature of the problems of the Arab and Islamic world on the part of Obama and his advisers.
The same cannot be said of the administration’s decision to send its delegation to the Durban II planning session this past week in Geneva. Unlike every other Obama policy, this is a hostile act against Israel. This is true first of all because the decision was announced in the face of repeated Israeli requests that the US join Israel and Canada in boycotting the Durban II conference.
Some could chalk up the US’s rejection of Israel’s urgent entreaties as an honest difference of opinion. But what lies behind Israel’s requests for a US boycott is not a partisan agenda, but a clearheaded acknowledgement that the Durban II conference is inherently devoted to the delegitimization and destruction of the Jewish state. And by joining in the planning sessions, the US has become a full participant in legitimizing and so advancing this overtly anti-Jewish agenda.
OBAMA’S SPOKESMEN and defenders claim that by participating in the planning sessions in Geneva, the administration is doing nothing more than attempting to prevent the conference from being the anti-Jewish diplomatic pogrom it was in 2001. If they are unsuccessful, they will boycott the conference. No harm done.
But this claim rings hollow.
As Bayefsky and others argued this week, by entering into the Durban preparatory process, the US has done two things. First, it has made it all but impossible for European states like France, Britain, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands, which were all considering boycotting the conference, to do so. They cannot afford to be seen as more opposed to its anti-Israel and anti-freedom agenda than Israel’s closest ally and the world’s greatest democracy. So just by participating in the planning sessions the US has legitimized a clearly bigoted, morally illegitimate process, making it impossible for Europe to disengage.
Second, through its behavior at the Geneva planning sessions this week, the US has demonstrated that State Department protestations aside, the administration has no interest in changing the agenda in any serious way. The US delegation’s decision not to object to the Palestinian draft, as well its silence in the face of Iran’s rejection of a clause in the conference declaration that mentioned the Holocaust, show the US did not join the planning session to change the tenor of the conference. The US is participating in the planning sessions because it wishes to participate in the conference.
Yes Matilda, there is a Palestinian draft:
the Palestinian delegation proposed that a paragraph be added to the conference’s agenda. Their draft “calls for implementation of… the advisory opinion of the ICJ [International Court of Justice] on the wall, [i.e., Israel’s security fence], and the international protection of Palestinian people throughout the occupied Palestinian territory.”
Apparently the American delegation kept quiet and did not object to the phrasing or intent of this language.
Watching Netanyahu get squashed by Obama should be interesting. Not good for Israel, but interesting.