Durban II, the how, why and who

The farce currently taking place in Geneva, known as Durban II, has already thrown up a veritable collection of freaks, distractions, nutty celebrities (what the hell is Angelina Jolie’s dad, Jon Voight, doing there?) and agendas. What follows is a small selection of the issues raised (and yet more evidence that the Western world, led by the US, Australia etc, continues to shield Israel from accepting responsibility for its horrific crimes against the Palestinians). Zionist activists were ready.

Former New York Times reporter Chris Hedges wonders when the US will take seriously its shameful history:

Israel and the United States, which could be charged under international law with crimes against humanity for actions in Gaza, Iraq and Afghanistan, will together boycott the United Nations World Conference Against Racism in Geneva. Racism, an endemic feature of Israeli and American society, is not, we have decided, open for international inspection. Barack Obama may be president, but the United States has no intention of accepting responsibility or atoning for past crimes, including the use of torture, its illegal wars of aggression, slavery and the genocide on which the country was founded. We, like Israel, prefer to confuse lies we tell about ourselves with fact.

Gideon Levy, writing in Haaretz, challenges those who compare the Jewish Holocaust to the occupation of Palestinian land (as a response, I presume, to the charges at Durban II that the Jewish state is committing genocide against the Palestinians, as well as marking Holocaust Remembrance Day):

I have never called Israel Defense Forces soldiers Nazis and I never will. The Holocaust and the Nazis could not and should not be compared to any other inhumane behaviors.

In Europe, this designation is becoming more and more common. The IDF are Nazis and Israel is a Nazi, Jews afflicting unto others all that was done to them.

A large part of the world’s leftists – many of whom consider themselves to be friends of Israel, some of them even Jewish – see the Israeli occupation as a manifestation of renewed Nazism.

I reject that comparison with anger and contempt. It is incorrect, horrifically infuriating and harmful to the just Palestinian cause. The occupation is cruel enough, and while comparison to the Holocaust not only cheapens that historical memory, it also undervalues the crimes of the Israeli occupation.

Muzzlewatch has one of its key players in Geneva providing essential updates of proceedings, not least examining Zionist groups that preach human rights but in fact are designed to focus on abuses in every corner in the globel except Western nations or Palestine:

So hopefully by now, you’re getting the gist of the Israeli government’s campaign. They work closely with various NGOs that make up the pro-occupation/pro-Israel lobby. The Israel Project, for example, functions as a PR arm.

How about pro-West Bank settler groups talking about racism and discrimination? A lot of credibility there.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is sadly not exactly the best poster boy for human rights. As one Iranian blogger said after his speech in Geneva:

It is a very ridiculous and bitter thing that a president who in his own country witnesses a high number of human rights violations”¦ where women are deprived of the most basic rights such as [choosing] their own clothes, and prisons are full of political and ideological prisoners”¦ talks about racism and human rights violations of other UN countries.

One of these so-called human rights groups, UN Watch, surprised the Libyan chair by presenting a victim of the Muammar Qaddafi regime:

And the Jewish Telegraphic Agency produced this video about the pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel gatherings in Geneva:

What does all this tell us about Durban II? A few things come to mind. Israeli policies are seemingly beyond debate. Crimes in Gaza and the West Bank are not really crimes at all because Iran also abuses citizens and therefore let’s focus on those. The Western states are fearful of allowing the world – and let’s face it, a great proportion of the globe are present in Geneva, aside from a handful of Western states – to talk about their crimes. Allied bombing in Iraq and Afghanistan? Biased.

The Australian Jewish community is overjoyed that Australia has withdrawn. Being potentially “marred with anti-Semitism” was seemingly a good enough reason to put out.

As a Jew who writes extensively about Israel/Palestine, I have no desire for Iran to speak for me on human rights (and my recent book, The Blogging Revolution, details the woeful record of the Islamic Republic.) But the fierce resistence to even examine the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and its well documented recent abuses in Gaza is shameful. These are not actions of a civilised nation. It is the behaviour that we would condemn if done by a relatively unknown Third World nation, but Israel is seemingly untouchable.

Well, it’s not anymore. Any number of activists, journalists, human rights workers and lawyers are increasingly speaking out about Palestine. Until the Western political and elite understand this, resistance will continue. Self-appointed Jewish leaders and their Western backers are trying to stop the inevitable; Israel is the new South Africa and will soon be viewed in exactly the same way that that apartheid regime was seen.

It’s already happening.

I don’t write this with glee but the madness of Durban II won’t change anything, other than convince a handful of smug Jews that the world hates Israel and Jews. A handful do, most do not.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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