UPDATED 2/27/09: Obama admin shafts Israel at prep meeting for Durban II


UPDATE Feb 27th, 2009: American Thinker’s Rick Moran passes on the news that… on the second thought… the Obama admin will be boycotting the April Durban II conference:

White House aides told Jewish leaders on a conference call today that the United States will boycott the United Nations’ World Conference on Racism over hostility to Israel in draft documents prepared for the April conference.

The aides, including an advisor to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, Jennifer Simon, and longtime Obama advisor Samantha Power, said the administration will not participate in further negotiations on the current text or participate in a conference based on the text, sources on the call said.

They left open the option of re-engaging on a “much shorter, much different text,” a source said.

The draft outcome document, typically negotiated in advance and available here (.pdf), contains sharp and specific criticism of Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians, and Western European nations and Canada have also signaled that they may boycott the conference in Geneva.

Really? Isn’t the entire reason they went was to prevent it from becoming an anti-Israel manifest?? Then perhaps they should have spoken up… or not showed up. See below…


To use National Review’s Anne Bayefsky’s words:

The speed at which President Obama is selling off American assets is breathtaking. The speed at which he is selling them out is even faster. [Emphasis added]

While America focused on “kitchen table” and “back yard” issues, Obama quietly not only broke faith with a US ally, he also shattered his campaign promises of “talk”, engaging Middle East antagonists. His mouthpieces shafted Israel not once, but twice…. first by not boycotting the preparatory forum, followed second by silence instead of protest at offending provisions in the draft manifesto.

The prep meetings for the UN’s “anti-racism” forum, the Durban Review Conference have been held the past few days with the 20 member committee in Geneva, drafting a final manifesto to present in Geneva this coming April. It was chaired by that bastion of “tolerance”, Libyan ambassador, Najat Al-Hajjaji.

Back in 2003, she chaired the U.N.’s former Human Rights Commission, which discredited itself not only by picking Al-Hajjaji, envoy of Libya’s despotic regime, to run the show, but also by slamming Israel 27 times from 2001 to 2006. As the State Department anti-Semitism report notes, this was more than twice the number of UNHRC criticisms leveled during that same period at North Korea, Burma and Sudan combined.

In 2006, as part of a package of U.N. “reforms,” that farce of a Human Rights Commission was dissolved. It was replaced by the current sham of a Human Rights Council, which in its first 16 months spent most of its time issuing 15 criticisms of Israel, and then singled out Israel to become a permanent item on its agenda.

This same Human Rights Council is now providing the official umbrella and support staff for the Durban Review Conference. Among the vice-chairs of the preparatory committee are emissaries of such unfree countries as Iran, Russia, Pakistan and Cameroon (which, according to New York-based Freedom House, still tolerates slavery in its northern reaches). Cuba–where wholesale repression includes the additional frill of job discrimination against Afro-Cubans–fills two seats at this Durban II table, which features both a Cuban vice-chair and Cuba as Rapporteur.

It was just a week ago that Obama admin officials had to meet with US Jewish leaders to explain why the US was not boycotting this anti-Semitic gathering along with Canada and the Netherlands.

The closed-door talks were led by the White House and the State Department, according to the JTA, and the content of the meeting was off-the-record.

The meeting was held after the State Department sent a high-level team to an informal preparatory session in Geneva this week, but declared that a “change in direction” was required before it could commit to full participation in the April meeting.

“If you are not engaged, you don’t have a voice,” State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid said on Tuesday.

“We wanted to put forward our view and see if there is some way we can make the document a better document than it appears it is going to be,” he said. “That does not mean, however, that we will take part in future meetings or indeed in the conference itself.”

Delegates to the talks on Monday told the JTA they were organized to give the Jewish leaders a chance to voice their concerns and for the Obama administration to explain its policy about the controversial event.

Heard a lot about this in the news, right? Nope…

In addition to the boycott by the two aforementioned countries, Obama’s choice to “engage” on “behalf” of Israel reversed the decision of Britain, who had been poised to join the boycott until the Obama admin legitimatized the forum with US representatives.

At today’s [Feb 17th, 2009] London Conference on Combating Antisemitism, which has been highlighting the shocking connection between the misreporting of Israel’s military action in Gaza and the global pandemic of Jew-hatred, the Foreign Office minister Lord Malloch-Brown – himself a former UN official – made a very careful statement about Britain’s involvement in this process. Unlike Canada and the Netherlands, Britain is still – shamefully — ‘engaging’ with ‘Durban 2’ on the similarly absurd grounds that it might ameliorate it.

Today, Malloch-Brown – who said he had been horrified by Durban 1 — said that Italy was ‘close to withdrawing’ and that Britain had come very close to doing so. But Britain was ‘not there yet’, and would co-ordinate very closely with the Obama administration in trying to get a good deal out of ‘Durban 2’. The British government was very clear, he said, that it would be intolerable if one country, Israel, was alone singled out for censure. If Britain did not secure a ‘good deal’ in the Declaration, it would withdraw.

I am told, however, that behind Lord Malloch-Brown’s diplomatic phrasing lies fury in Whitehall that the Obama administration has pulled the rug from under Britain’s feet. It appears that the British government had finally arrived at a decision – not before time – to pull out of ‘Durban 2’ on the grounds that its vile agenda was now incontrovertible. But then the Obama administration announced it was going to get involved; and so Britain, marching as ever in public lockstep with Washington, had no choice but to abandon its walk-out — to the dismay in particular, it seems, of the Czechs who were looking for a bit of moral leadership in Europe.

The US State Department has, however, made it clear that their participation in this early stage did not prelude the option to boycott the April formal convention… an action exhibited by both the US and Israel walking out “in disgust” from the 2001 Durban I convention.

But, as Ms. Bayefsky points out, such lip service is disingenuous:

They know full well that preparations are planned on and off-the-record from now until April and will likely continue until the final moments of the actual meeting — justifying ongoing participation under the guise of “still can’t tell yet.” Like diplomatic bees to honey. It is the decision to attend at all which represents a huge shift in American principles and priorities. For the past seven and a half years, the United States has boycotted Durban follow-up activities and voted against every Durban-related U.N. resolution.

For those that still labor under the assumption that talking to those dedicated to the extinction of Israel can actually yield results, it might be the moment to point out the high price of merely attending such a meeting.

Durban II’s very objective is to reaffirm Durban I’s Declaration and Program of Action… a policy that asserts Palestinians are victims of Israeli racism while simultaneously giving a pass to Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria etal. They purport “tolerance”, but that tolerance is only focused on Muslim tolerance… a one way street at best.

For the first time since Durban I, and the dramatic walk out, the US presence affirms agreement to these offensive provisions. Lending legitimacy to this intolerant “tolerance” is Obama shafting Israel, number one.

How about shaft number two?

Certainly the lip service of the US being there to act as a buffer for blatantly anti-Israel provisions has merit. And Obama did, after all, campaign on engaging in “talks”. By sending US representatives, Obama *should* have been fulfilling a campaign promise, as well as providing a certain amount of defense for our Israeli ally at these talks.

Problem is, these Obama mouthpieces did no “talking”, and instead remained silent when confronted with offensive passages of the document.

Anne Bayefsky is again atop the reality… this time in her yesterday’s column appearing in Forbes, The Obama Administration Sacrifices Israel: The cover up on Durban II’s anti-Semitic agenda…. where she calls the chit chat about giving Israel a voice in the proceedings “clearly a planned public relations exercise”.

The reality, however, was nothing of the sort. Instead, Obama’s Durban II team slipped easily into the U.N.’s anti-Israel and anti-Jewish environs, taking the approach that “fitting in” was best accomplished by staying silent.

On Tuesday, the Palestinian delegation proposed inserting a new paragraph under the heading “Identification of further concrete measures and initiatives … for combating and eliminating all manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance…” with the subtitle “General provisions on victims … of discrimination.” The paragraph includes: “Calls for … the international protection of the Palestinian people throughout the occupied Palestinian territory.” In other words, it claims that the Palestinian people are victims of Israeli racism and demands that all U.N. states provide protection from the affronts of the racist Jewish state.

Furthermore, the new Palestinian provision “Calls for … implementation of international legal obligations, including the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the wall…” This is a dramatic attempt to change an “advisory opinion” into a “legal obligation”–a status which attaches to no advisory opinion.

The ICJ decision, which advises that the Israeli security fence is illegal, has always been rejected by the United States–hitherto. And with good reason. The Egyptian judge had voiced his opinion on the result before the case was even heard, in his capacity as a leading Egyptian diplomat. The terms of reference from the General Assembly who asked for the decision, and the documents they laid before the Court, predetermined the outcome. And as the strong dissent by the American judge and Holocaust survivor Tom Buergenthal pointed out, the Court came to its preposterous conclusion that “the right of legitimate or inherent self-defense is not applicable in the present case” without considering “the deadly terrorist attacks to which Israel is being subjected.”

But when the Palestinian delegation laid their new proposal before the drafting committee, what did Obama’s team do? Nothing, absolutely nothing. They made no objection at all.

Bayefsky notes that the absence of “talk” had to be intentional, as the US representatives had made objections to other provisions – calling for deletions or suggesting new phrasing. She also notes their political agenda for doing so… avoiding controversy.

The Obama team was not only silent on the new “Israel is racist” language, it also said nothing when faced with Holocaust denial. Negotiators from the European Union suggested on Wednesday a new provision to “condemn without reservation any denial of the Holocaust and urges all states to reject denial of the Holocaust as an historical event, either in full, or in part, or any activities to this end.”

Iran–whose president is a Holocaust-denier–immediately objected and insisted that the proposal be “bracketed” or put in dispute. The move blocked the adoption of the proposal and ensured another battle over the reality of the Holocaust in April–at these supposedly “anti-racism” meetings. After Iran objected, the chair looked around the room, expecting a response. He said: “Is there any delegation wishing to comment on this new proposal by the European Union? It doesn’t seem the case. We move on.” U.S. delegates said nothing, even after the prompt.

Again, the American silence must have been deliberate. In marked contrast, after the E.U. objected to a provision calling for limits on free speech, the American delegation had no trouble piping up immediately: “I want to echo the comments from the E.U. This … call for restrictions is something that my government is not able to accept.”

Evidently, a U.S. team bent on legitimizing Durban II believed it would be counter-productive to object vigorously to sections most likely to be noticed by Americans skeptical about participation in the conference. They must have figured that no objection would mean no controversy, which in turn would mean there would be no cause for complaint from U.S. observers. That’s one way to buy favors on the international stage, but it sure doesn’t forward a stated intention of changing the Conference direction. Nor does it promote the ultimate need to change the anti-Semitic and anti-democratic direction of global human rights policy.

This “silence”… or *not* “talking”… is not lost on Israel either. Today’s Jerusalem Post, Durban II Draft Document “getting worse” notes that America’s presence did nothing to improve the offensive provisions, but fell short of serious criticism. Probably a wise move. If you think your strongest ally is about to toss you to the wolves, why antagonize him? But I suspect, behind the scenes, the newly installed Israel Parliament and Prime Minister are making notes, and taking names as they assess their own future.

The initial draft of the Durban II text, posted on the United Nations Web site, spoke of the suffering of the Palestinians under occupation.

“A foreign occupation founded on settlements, laws based on racial discrimination with the aim of continuing domination of the occupied territories,” it adds, is a “contemporary form of apartheid and a serious threat to international peace and security.”

An alternative paragraph calls for the right of return for Palestinian refugees and refers to the “racial policies of the occupying power.” Israel itself is not named in the document, although the reader can clearly understand where it is being referenced.

Israel has boycotted the preparatory meetings but has kept close tabs on the proceedings and has been lobbying countries to abstain, Leshno Yaar said.

In the last week, the Palestinians tried to introduce language into the document regarding the 2004 advisory ruling by the International Court of Justice at The Hague against the security barrier, said Leshno Yaar.

The Americans were present but did not appear to have made improvement in the document, which he said “is getting worse every day.”

Irwin Cotler, a Canadian MP and former justice minister, told the Post that the conference had been initially designed to speak about global issues relating to racism without singling out any country or group.

Israel was the only country that was alluded to in this way, he said.

“Any reference to Israel, directly or indirectly, is wrong and illegitimate, not only in the eyes of Israel but also in the eyes of all western countries,” said Leshno Yaar.

If Obama has not yet officially – to use that shop worn phrase – “thrown Israel under the bus”, it has most certainly has at least opened the bus doors while still underway.

Back in early January, when Obama refused to speak out INRE Gaza, I posed the theory that his very notable silence on the conflict may indicate the coming of diluted support for Israel under his administration. It was a stand that many have poo pooh’ed, others weighed as somewhat possible, and still others simply shrugged off as improbable.

Today, the abandonment of Israel in the name of “talk” doesn’t seem so far fetched anymore. Or, again, as Anne Bayefsky said a week ago:

In truth, this Obama trip to the U.N. represents an abandonment of Israel. All his campaign promises to the contrary, sacrificing Israel for the sake of currying favor with others — demagogues included — is clearly at the top of the new president’s agenda. Israel asked Obama not to attend. Canada also pulled out of Durban II and expected American support. Instead, today’s American foreign policy leaves America’s closest ally and its biggest trading partner out in the cold.

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So, why does Obama hate Israel anyway? Oh, why does anyone hate Israel?

Here’s hopin’ Israel’s new/returning PM has a few words with President Ferengi about this.

I had heard that obama was bending over backawards for the palestinians, and he is selling out the Israelis. The print below is from the Federal Register, and it bears obama’s signature. Does this mean Obama wants the “displaced” palestinians to come here?????????? He wasn’t in office a week, and he did this. Just what we need, immigrants who have been taught for a generation or more to hate and kill Jews. Maybe there is room for them in the muslim terrorist training camps operating on US soil. You can check on this at the link below if you like.

Presidential Documents
Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 22 /Wednesday, February 4, 2009 / Presidential Documents 6115
Presidential Determination No. 2009–15 of January 27, 2009
Unexpected Urgent Refugee and Migration Needs Related To
Memorandum for the Secretary of State
By the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the
United States, including section 2(c)(1) of the Migration and Refugee Assistance
Act of 1962 (the ‘‘Act’’), as amended (22 U.S.C. 2601), I hereby determine,
pursuant to section 2(c)(1) of the Act, that it is important to the
national interest to furnish assistance under the Act in an amount not
to exceed $20.3 million from the United States Emergency Refugee and
Migration Assistance Fund for the purpose of meeting unexpected and urgent
refugee and migration needs, including by contributions to international,
governmental, and nongovernmental organizations and payment of administrative
expenses of Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration of the
Department of State, related to humanitarian needs of Palestinian refugees
and conflict victims in Gaza.
You are authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal

Here is the link:


The UN actually stopped distributing the aid due to Hamaz thugs stealing the supplies. It was discontinued until the supplies were returned, don’t know what came of it, but I do know Obama just gave them $900 million more to be distributed through the UN.

Here’s another kick in the pants. Chas Freeman.

Freeman facing resistance for NIC post

Middle East Policy Council President Chas Freeman, I’ve been able to confirm, has been offered and has accepted the influential, low-profile job of chairman of the National Intelligence Council.


Freeman on Israel:

“American identification with Israeli policy has also become total. Those in the region and beyond it who detest Israeli behavior, which is to say almost everyone, now naturally extend their loathing to Americans. This has had the effect of universalizing anti-Americanism, legitimizing radical Islamism, and gaining Iran a foothold among Sunni as well as Shiite Arabs. For its part, Israel no longer even pretends to seek peace with the Palestinians; it strives instead to pacify them. Palestinian retaliation against this policy is as likely to be directed against Israel’s American backers as against Israel itself. Under the circumstances, such retaliation – whatever form it takes – will have the support or at least the sympathy of most people in the region and many outside it. This makes the long-term escalation of terrorism against the United States a certainty, not a matter of conjecture.”

And on Hamas and Hezbollah:

“I’m a very practical man, and my concern is simply this: that there are movements, like Hamas, like Hezbollah, that in recent decades have not done anything against the United States or Americans, even though the United States supports their enemy, Israel. By openly stating and taking action to make them–to declare that we are their enemy, we invite them to extend their operations in the United States or against Americans abroad.”


That’s probably why that name rang a bell.

Tameri stated in your other post that he was not sure of the role Dennis Ross will have. Yet, in the Politico post, critics are reluctant to oppose Freeman because of Dennis Ross. If Ross is window dressing/Obama MO, looks like that might be, they lose again.

But critics are unwilling to put their concerns on the record — in part because of the goodwill Obama has accumulated with other appointments, like Dennis Ross’s role at State, perhaps, because of the loss of face that would come with opposing it publicly and losing.

“Everybody’s up in arms and trying to figure out how to deal with it,” the official said.

I remember reading somewhere that there was some funny business going on with Hamas during the Obama campaign with donations and visits by Obama’s people. I bet Israel was on top of it and doubt much of this is surprising them.

It’s ugly to sit and watch it unfold.