Descent Into Durban 2

The 2001 UN World Conference Against Racism held in Durban, South Africa is remembered as an anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hate festival. As NGO Monitor points out, the first Durban conference became an instrument for racism itself, particularly directed against Israel.

Durban had a tremendous impact on promoting the demonization and delegitimization of Israel. With the Durban Review Conference due to take place in Geneva in April 2009, it is imperative that a repeat of Durban 1 is not allowed to take place. While the mainstream media has largely ignored the preparations for this conference, it will have a major role to play in alerting the publics of Western democracies to the growing threat of Durban 2.

Jonathan Kay of Canada’s National Post takes a look at the latest developments:

Earlier this month, a UN committee stacked with dictatorships (Libya, Iran, Cuba, etc.) produced a provisional blueprint for the Spring, 2009 “Durban Review Conference,” an international confab organized to promote the “Programme of Action” that came out of the original, disastrous 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa.

Since Durban I has become a byword for anti-Semitism and anti-Western extremism, the forthcoming Durban II confab is widely expected to be a farce (Canada and Israel have already announced they won’t be attending). And so relatively few pundits seem to have bothered wading through the UN’s characteristically turgid pre-conference planning documentation.

But faced with a slow news day, I decided to take a crack.

Four hours later, I don’t recommend the exercise. The five-part “Draft Outcome Document” contains 88 pages and 646 provisions. Most of it consists of boilerplate repetition of the same small handful of themes (encapsulated well in this UN Watch report): (1) Racism is everywhere, (2) The fault for this lies with the West, because of its “genocidal” legacy of slavery and colonization, (3) “Islamophobia” and discrimination against “people of African descent” are especially prevalent and pernicious, and (4) Israel is a blight upon nations (Paragraphs 114-117 of Section 1, for instance, are dedicated exclusively to bashing the Jewish state. No other country comes in for singling out in the whole document). In many cases, whole paragraphs are repeated several times over (such as a lengthy Jimmy Carteresque screed about Israel promoting “a new kind of apartheid”).

Visit NGO Monitor, UN Watch and Eye on the UN for regular updates and material on Durban 2.


A lack of coverage may lead you to believe that all is quiet on the Israel-Gaza border. In fact, since the inception of the truce agreement between Israel and the Hamas government in June, Palestinians have fired over 20 rockets and 20 mortars at western Negev communities. YNet News also reports:

The defense establishment thwarted an attempt to smuggle military textile goods to the Hamas organization in the Gaza Strip on Monday.

Defense Ministry administration workers were surprised to discover the equipment under a surface during a routine check of a truck carrying humanitarian aid to the Strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing. The goods included coats, sweaters, hats, and camouflage fatigues.

Defense establishment officials said the equipment seized was not permitted to enter Gaza.

“There is no reason why we should allow Hamas to bring in such equipment at the expense of humanitarian aid intended for the Palestinian population. We are now trying to investigate who sent this equipment.

“Hamas doesn’t care about hurting the Palestinian population in order to promote its own interests. They choose to use the permits provided by Israel for the entry of humanitarian equipment for the organization’s own needs,” a security source said.

Read the full story here.


While HonestReporting focuses on English-language media, it is impossible to ignore the importance of the Spanish speaking world, where Israel faces a tough and sometimes lonely battle in the media. Someone is, however, prepared to make a stand. Ha’aretz profiles Pilar Rahola, a Spanish-Catalan journalist and politician:

About 500 million Spanish speakers are exposed almost daily to biased and one-sided reports about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and to harsh, venomous, targeted and tendentious criticism of Israel’s activities in Gaza and the West Bank. Only very few public figures and journalists paint the picture in a somewhat more balanced manner. As opposed to many of them, Rahola does not do so for religious reasons: She is not Jewish, and defines herself as a loyal member of the left and as a lapsed Catholic. Therefore she is also free of the right-wing, messianic fervor of which many of Israel’s Christian supporters in the world are immediately suspected – even in the eyes of Israelis themselves.

Rahola, who turns 50 this week, has visited Israel dozens of times, has written hundreds of articles and essays in condemnation of Islamic terror and of the pathological anti-Israel stance – with its strong undertone of anti-Semitism – of the European left, and has been interviewed or has acted as moderator of thousands of TV broadcasts on political subjects. Nevertheless, this exclusive interview with Haaretz is one of the first times in which this interesting and impressive woman is being exposed to the general Israeli public.

Read the full interview here.

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