Thursday, December 18, 2008

"The UN"

Arlene Kushner

Eye on the UN, headed by Anne Bayefsky, has put out an appeal with regard to the planned Durban II conference, scheduled for April 2009 in Geneva:

A 2008 U.S. State Department report on global anti-Semitism highlighted the malicious role played by the 2001 United Nations Durban I Conference. It was, in theory, intended to be an "anti-racism" conference. It was, in practice, anything but. The American and Israeli delegations walked out in protest, deeply disturbed that the conference was being hijacked by global promoters of hate. . The stated purpose of Durban II is to "further the implementation of the (2001) Durban Declaration."

The Durban Declaration declares that Israel, and only Israel, is guilty of racism.

Sitting on the planning committee for the Durban II conference are Chairman, Muammar al-Gaddafi of Libya; Vice Chairman, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran; and Rappateur, Raul Castro, Cuba.

Can you believe this? Believe it. Is any other information needed to understand what's going on?


The government of Canada has announced that it will not be attending the conference. Israel will not be attending. The Dutch foreign minister has said his country will not be involved unless anti-Israel statements are removed from draft texts: "It seems like the sole intention is to criticize Israel and condemn the West for slavery and its colonial history."

In November, when announcing that Israeli would not be participating, Foreign Minister Livni called upon the international community to also refuse to participate.

The US has not yet decided whether to participate. Eye on the UN is promoting action to encourage the US government to stay away. It is recommending this request be made of:

President-elect Obama at 202-456-1111,

Secretary of state-designate Clinton, at 202-647-4000, with e-mail via

Congressman Howard Berman, Chair House Foreign Affairs Committee, 202-225-5021, 202-225-4695, or fax (202) 225-3196.

Many persons of distinction lent their names to this appeal, including Bernard Lewis, Eli Wiesel, Alan Dershowitz, Victor David Hanson, William Bennet, Norman Podhoretz and James Woolsey.

In the cases of Obama and Clinton, contact information provided by Eye on the UN is via the White House and State Department respectively. Please, convey your messages so that it clear for whom they are intended. I suggest also contacting your own senators and congresspersons. You can find their contact information here: Faxes are a most effective way to relay messages.


In some quarters the argument is being made that it's better to be at the conference in order to combat what's going on. In principle this sounds good, but where this conference is concerned, it would be impossible. If the US -- and a solid number of European countries -- were to decline to participate, the legitimacy of the conference would be undercut.

If you are a citizen of a European nation and are able to promote a campaign to get that nation to withdraw participation, please do!


Pity that a proposal made some while ago for democratic nations to withdraw from the UN and start their own organization never took off. The UN is a good idea that has gone seriously bad. Some of its agencies do constructive work, but it is, to a large extent, co-opted by corrupt, repressive, anti-democratic, and hateful forces.


Now, having seen the UN Security Council resolution -- # 1850 -- on promoting the Annapolis negotiations, I would like to return to that subject briefly.

I clearly am not pleased that Condoleezza Rice promoted this resolution as a way of firming up the "legacy" of the work she and President Bush have done with regard to Annapolis -- in essence saying that the way to continue to deal with the "Palestinian-Israeli conflict" is via this avenue of negotiations and not some other way (something that Olmert pretty much signed on to with the Annapolis Agreement, which referred to "vigorous, ongoing and continuous negotiations").

But neither am I as alarmed as some of the people I've been hearing from are. And I would like to explain why.

It speaks, as does the Quartet statement I analyzed yesterday, about the "irreversibility" of the bilateral negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis. The "irreversibility," as I've explained, refers to the process, not to specific content of negotiations. So...we're expected to keep talking.

But, we must note, the negotiations are referred to as "bilateral," which means between the two sides, and not with resolution imposed from the outside. There were no specifics dealt with -- something for which I am grateful. It doesn't talk about the need for Israel to withdraw from specific lands, or about the sanctity of Jerusalem to both parties or about justice for the refugees.


It does speak of a two-state solution, with Israel and Palestine living side by side. But this is not groundbreaking. In 2003, there was SC resolution 1515, which endorsed the roadmap for a two state solution. In 2002, there was SC resolution 1397, which affirmed the vision of a region in which two states would live side by side, welcomed the contribution of Prince Abdullah (that's the horrendous Saudi plan), and called on both sides to cooperate in the Tenet plan with the aim of resuming negotiations towards a political settlement.

So, there's sort of a tradition here, with various plans that promote a two-state solution endorsed. So far, we don't have a two-state solution. Neither resolution 1397 nor 1515 imposed that upon us, and I believe neither will the current resolution.

We've been talking off and on for 15 years now. For the time being, seems we'll keep talking. I won't belabor what I said yesterday regarding the need to stand up for our rights and security within those talks.


Two things are of concern to me. One is that it calls on the parties to "refrain from any steps that could undermine confidence or prejudice the outcome of negotiations." This is not new language but it's troublesome. It's one thing to abide by agreed-upon rules. It's another to speak of "undermining confidence," which is very amorphous. What seems most likely is that the international community will be on us if we so much as breathe in Judea and Samaria or eastern Jerusalem.

But I have a response to this of considerable import: There is little that undermines our confidence in the sincerity of the Palestinians more than does the horrendous incitement that spews forth daily in the PA. It behooves us to be on top of them for that, make noise internationally about that (we've been far too quiet), and retort with that when we are accused of "undermining confidence." There can be no progress until they change the textbooks that call for jihad, etc. etc.

The second matter that causes unease is that the Security Council "Welcomes the Quartet’s consideration, in consultation with the parties, of an international meeting in Moscow in 2009." This is amorphous enough -- "in consultation with the parties" -- so that it may come to nothing. But a conference in Moscow would not be a good scene. This resolution was co-sponsored by the US and Russia and my assumption is that Rice signed off on this to get Russia, which is eager for such a conference, to cooperate.

The text of the resolution can be found at:


The Foreign Ministry, as might have been expected, responded positively to the resolution, putting an anti-Hamas spin on it, saying:

[The resolution] "delivered an unequivocal message to the Hamas terrorist regime in Gaza.

"The Security Council's statement that lasting peace can only be based on mutual recognition, ending terror and incitement, and committing to the two-state solution, is an endorsement of core Israeli principles for the peace process."

Livni additionally said that "the negotiations must be accompanied by parallel and uncompromising efforts against Hamas rule in Gaza and terrorist groups that target innocent civilians. Concern for security is the first and highest imperative."

This last suggests to me that she's setting the scene for something other than a "lull" with Hamas. The question of how we "negotiate" with the PA while we're fighting with Hamas remains to be seen.


Add Barry Rubin to the list of commentators who thinks Obama will be focused domestically:

"[The Obama administration] faces humongous problems at home and has gigantic ambitions to change America, for better or worse." This was Krauthammer's point precisely.


The escalation of violence from Gaza continues. Today 20 Kassams were launched and three people in Sderot were lightly injured.

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