Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Durban myths

The Durban II conference on racism is currently on in Geneva. I would like to know what is being said, but unfortunately the only information available is about a venomous anti-Israeli speech by Iranian clown (officially President) Mahmud Ahmadinejad, from which Holocaust-denying passages were removed only at the last minute.

Many Western countries have boycotted the conference, and many more walked out of the conference room while Ahmadinejad was delivering his speech. Were/are they right? A bit of propaganda, combined with the willingness to swallow it on the part of deeply paranoid souls, have helped extend a few myths about Durban I and Durban II, which have convinced quite a few that boycotting the latter was the right thing to do. Time for dispelling:

1. Durban I produced an antisemitic document that only sought to bash Israel

While there's no denying that a lot of antisemitim was on display at Durban I, and strenuous efforts were made to inject it into the document, it was effectively counterbalanced by the non-antisemitic world (i.e. the overwhelming majority of countries), and the final declaration contained not a single, repeat, not a single antisemitic, anti-Zionist or anti-Israel passage. Don't trust my word, go and read it.

2. It's outrageous that of all world leaders, none other than Ahmadinejad was invited to deliver the inaugural speech

All heads of State were invited to speak! But only Ahmadinejad took the opportunity. If Western leaders had wanted to convey a message that they care about racism, they could have coordinated for one of their presidents, prime ministers, kings or queens to be present in Geneva. But the UN can't disinvite a president who has the protocolar right to speak only because he's known to be deranged. That would be the beginning of a very dangerous slippery slope.

3. The UN are a bunch of incurable antisemites anyway, so it's no use attending their conferences because it will change nothing

This myth is based on the view that the UN is OK when it recommends the creation of Israel or orders Iran to suspend its nuclear program, but wrong when it hosts a conference in which Israel may be called what it is, i.e. racist. But the UN is representative of the whole world, and whenever nefarious regimes attend a meeting, it is fundamental that rule-of-law countries also be there just to convey the message that the world, on the whole, ain't that bad.

For instance, Haaretz reports:

Western countries were fiercely opposed to parts of early drafts for a Durban II declaration that suggested Israel was driven by racism in its treatment of Palestinians, and included proposals to bar "defamation of religion".

But the latest version of the draft issued yesterday as negotiations moved to a close showed all references to Israel had been dropped as has the "defamation" bid, also by Islamic states.

"This is the positive outcome of insistence by Western countries that the wording some people wanted was just not acceptable to democracies," said the representative of one rights activist group who asked not to be named.

I don't agree that Israel is not driven by racism, but if it was the only country that would have been so characterized, I'm fine that the reference was removed. And it's a great thing that defamation of religion (another slippery slope) was not included in the document.

This example, together with the non-antisemitic declaration from Durban I, are proof that, when it comes to the UN, involvement is better than boycott. But go tell that to those who publicly feign outrage at Ahmadinejad's tirade, but intimately are very happy that he displayed a degree of lunacy which can be presented to the Western public as characteristic of all Muslims.


Anonymous said...

Yes you're right Alberto, I am very happy. With the stupid reference to the "question of the Holocaust" (there is only a question for Holocaust denying cranks) that muppet Ahmedinejad and his pimp Khameini just moved themselves on step closer to regime change. Make no mistake: the current Netanyahu government will bomb the Iranian nuclear program which will ignite a long war over the heart of the Middle East. Then we shall see the true colors of nations: who supports the tyrants and the Muslim fanatics v. who supports the great democracy built by the Jews.

Gert said...

To me the Ahmedinejad speech and the subsequent walk outs and jeering/clapping was a Festival of Fools. It broke along the lines of who supported Israel and who didn't.

In essence, thanks Israel and US for sabotaging what could be essentially a very important conference, by stifling any criticism of Israel. A country that decides who can be a citizen exclusively on ethnic/religious criteria would be denounced to hell and back for racism, unless it's called Israel. Add to that deeply discriminatory measures applied to Israeli Arabs inside Israel proper and continuous land theft of Palestinian land beyond the Green Line and it's hard to see how we can describe Israel as anything other than an Apartheid state.

Ethnic cleansing du jour, one home at a timeAnonymous:

Get a Blogger handle (sign up for a Google account - it's FREE!). After your exploits below no one here still believes you're real or even just one person.

Make comments with an exclusive moniker and we'll be able to at least recognise you exist. Worth investing 2 minutes of your time in, no?

Anonymous said...


"A country that decides who can be a citizen exclusively on ethnic/religious criteria would be denounced to hell and back for racism, unless it's called Israel."

Of course this is not true since one million Israelis -- some 20% of the country's citizens -- are Arabs. This is the largest single minority by percentage in any country on earth.

It is utter nonsense for another reason: many EU countries, including Germany, Switzerland, Spain and Italy have "guest worker" programs which means that even if you're a third generation ethnic Turk born in Berlin who has never even been to Turkey you are nevertheless ineligible to be a German citizen.

You are doing the typical Israel-bashing maneuver: ascribe to Israel things that dozens of other countries around the world do and pretend that only the wicked Jews should be held responsible for it, while turning a blind eye to much worse offenses perpetrated by other nations.

I guess you think that the Jews have it better and can get away with more than other nations, but as the sad history of my people shows that is far from true.

Think about it, sixty years ago the Europeans wiped out a third of all Jews, and since then we have been living outnumbered and surrounded by our enemies, having to fight more wars in a shorter span f time than any country in history -- yet you think we have it good? It's true that despite our difficulties we thrive and prosper, do great things for humanity and never lose our famous Jewish sense of humor, but don't think we get any special treatment -- unless its special hatred directed against us by the likes of you!

Anonymous said...


The Hideous Face of Hamas Rule in Gaza
Your View, April 22nd 2009, 4:40 pm

This is a guest post by Ben Cohen of Z Word

“You can only imagine what would happen if Israel dealt with its internal political enemies or dissenters in such a fashion,” writes Richard Cohen of a new Human Rights Watch report detailing the appalling abuses of human rights entailed by the continuing rule of Hamas in Gaza.

“Of particular concern is the widespread practice of maiming people by shooting them in the legs, which Hamas first used in June 2007, when it seized control inside Gaza from Fatah,” says the HRW report. And there’s this too: “Abductions and severe beatings are another major concern. According to ICHR, unidentified perpetrators physically abused 73 Gazan men from December 28 to January 31, causing broken legs and arms. Human Rights Watch documented three such cases of Fatah supporters assaulted during and after the Israeli offensive, as well as one case of what appeared to be a politically motivated house arrest.”

This particularly harrowing story does not, thusfar, appear to have inspired any demonstrations from the “We Are All Hamas” crowd who took to the streets to protest Israel’s invasion of Gaza earlier this year:

In the case resulting in death, at around 6 p.m. on January 4, 2009, members of the al-Najjar family were sitting outside their home in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City when four men wearing masks and carrying AK-47 assault rifles approached the house. Two family members who were present told Human Rights Watch that the gunmen wore unmarked black uniforms and ammunition vests, but the family did not identify them as Hamas. When the gunmen ordered everyone to stand up and raise their hands, the head of the household, Hisham al-Najjar, age 55, protested, the two witnesses said. An argument ensued and one of the gunmen fired a shot, hitting no one. At least five women inside the house came rushing out, and in the chaos the gunmen opened fire, killing Hisham al-Najjar and wounding ten members of the family and a family friend. The victims ranged in age from a 12-year old girl, Ahlam Hisham al-Najjar, who was shot in the leg, to Zakkia al-Najjar, 70, Ahlam’s grandmother, who was shot in both legs. Human Rights Watch observed the bandages on both her legs.

“After the gunmen left, I saw a sea of blood,” said Amar Hisham al-Najjar, 25. He told Human Rights Watch that the gunmen shot his father Hisham in the chest, the abdomen, and the legs.”There was no electricity and no ambulances because of the war, so we tried to stop the bleeding and got our friends to drive the wounded to al-Shifa hospital, where my father died,” he said. “The Hamas police at the hospital questioned me about what happened, and they said they’d get back to me, but there’s been nothing. I’m not accusing anyone, but we demand a real investigation.”

Human Rights Watch is hardly regarded as a friend of Israel. Many Israel advocates view them as a foe, pure and simple. I’ve always thought that take is too crude. Of course, HRW’s reports should not, a priori, be regarded as beyond challenge or reproach. But to portray them as a mere cog in the Israel demonization machine is, as this new report demonstrates, deeply unfair. What’s really interesting here is whether HRW’s documentation of the hideous character of Hamas rule will compel at least some of those who regard the Islamists as a resistance movement to think again.

Anonymous said...


"In essence, thanks Israel and US for sabotaging what could be essentially a very important conference, by stifling any criticism of Israel."

Hmm. I seem to remember that the Canadians, Dutch, italians, Germans, Czechs and several other democracies also boycotted the conference. But that would complicate things wouldn't it? I guess it's easier to ascribe everything you don't like to the two main bogeymen of the Left (and, no coincidence, the countries with the main Jewish populations left in the world): the US and Israel.

Gert said...

Israel's immigration policy allows guaranteed right of return and citizenship for Jews only and completely excludes Arabs from returning, even those that can prove they or their direct ancestors were born there. By contrast, Yehudi from Brooklyn can set eyes on Tel Aviv airport tomorrow and be a citizen of Israel by the end of the month.

Current Israeli Arabs are being increasingly banned from their places of birth too.

In just about every country in the world anyone can apply for citizenship regardless of current or previous nationality, colour, religion or ethnicity. Germany hosts loads and loads of non-ethnic Germans as legal citizens or residents. So do Britain, France etc. Every EU country, US etc. There is no other example of a country like Israel that bases the right to citizenship almost exclusively on belonging to one religio-ethnic group.

Cut the crap about the 'wicked Jews'. I don't believe that. The fact that you believe I do doesn't make it true.

Whether 'you' 'have it good or not' is totally immaterial. Having been the victim of past crimes doesn't absolve anyone from committing present or future crimes.

'Alberto Yusuf' is allowed to address what he wants, not what you want him to address. You're trying the tu quoque type of argument. Don't: it's fallacy.

Most other governments rather slavishly follow the US/Israeli line on all things ME, including the conference. That's why it's fair to consider these two the main saboteurs.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

"It is utter nonsense for another reason: many EU countries, including Germany, Switzerland, Spain and Italy have "guest worker" programs"

Not the right analogy. The Gastarbaiter are the equivalent to the Filipinos in Israel. Like in Israel, their having children in the country does not confer citizenship on them.

But Germany makes no distinction among the people who already are citizens. Israel does. The grandson of an Israeli Jew is automatically granted citizenship. The grandson of an Israeli Arab is not.

"this law seeks to redress the past injustice that the Jews were forced out of Israel in the first place! "

The Jews were never expelled from Israel! They lied to you at Hebrew school. Check it out over the web: you won't find an expulsion order from the Land of Israel.

Gert said...


"But Germany makes no distinction among the people who already are citizens"

European countries (including Germany) make no such distinction between those who want to go and live there or who want to seek citizenship there, either. These countries do have things like immigration quota but these aren't based on ethno-religious inclusion/exclusion principles.

Anonymous said...

"The Jews were never expelled from Israel! They lied to you at Hebrew school. Check it out over the web: you won't find an expulsion order from the Land of Israel."

Obviously you know nothing about "Hebrew school" if you think Jewish kids go there to discuss post-biblical history written by Roman writers. They don't. I know this although I never went to Hebrew school (went to Italian public school actually.)

For the expulsion of the Jews from Israel and Judea there is no need to consult Jewish writers, I'd turn to the Romans -- particulary Josephus for the First Expulsion and then Cassius Dio for the Second Expulsion. Since you obviously know nothing of this history, you can preview it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish–Roman_wars

Although even following these disastrous wars against the Roman Empire, the Jews managed to pen the Mishnah in the Galilee, most of the indigenous population had been destroyed, replaced by Roman, Greek and Nabatean settlers. The remaining Jews eventually dwindled and many of them joined the comparatively thriving communities in Alexandria, Medina, Persia, Spain, Rome and North Africa. This is the beginning of the Diaspora...


Gert said...


Whether you like it or not: the vast majority of Liberal Democracies in the world are made up of a mix of religions/ethnicities. A Muslim/Jew/Filipino/Turk/American/Israeli/Zimbabwean/etc etc etc can come and live in Britain legally and obtain citizenship. Whether or not it is granted isn't based on ethnicity or religion. THAT is the reality here.

Israel excludes Arabs/Palestinians, unless they are Arab Israelis (and even then: Mustapha Barghouti was born in J'sem yet is no longer allowed to return there).

Should Britain all of a sudden base its immigration policy on, say, Anglicans only, there would be uproar worldwide, yet those same people white-wash Jewish exceptionalism.

SL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joshua said...

Oh God, Anonymous is still trying the usual spin. I imagine he got most of this (if not ALL of it) from that website Z-Word. Yup, I'm aware of it and they are of the opinion that every form of anti-Zionism is equated to anti-Semitism. I mean, look at this:

"Of course, the immigration laws grant citizenship on demand to ANY Jew. That is the whole point of Israel. This is not racism..."

It isn't racism to grant citizenship to one certain group and deny it to another? Wow. That really redefines what everyone thinks of racism.

Gert said...

To Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf:

Could you please contact me? My email address is in the profile of my blog.

Thanks in advance!

Gert said...

"Smear them with antisemitism is "dishonest"?"

It is if the allegation is incorrect.

"As for your idea that the Chosen People means Nazi supremacism"

I said nothing of the sort. I know very well what "Chosen People" means historically and I note that the term in a modern context has supremacist connotations. Nothing to do with the Nazis though. Nothing.

levi9909 said...

Durban myths? Brilliant. And English isn't even your first language. I wish I'd have thought of that.

Anonymous said...


""Chosen People" ... the term in a modern context has supremacist connotations."

This phraseology -- the history behind it, its tone and implications -- epitomize the very essence of classical antisemitic thinking, whether "Gert" means it or not (its actually scarier if he is unaware...)

Really, it is almost a perfect education in the latest form of pseudo-sophisticated (but really ridiculously transparent) european antisemitism to read this "Gert" who claims he's not Dutch.

Gert said...


No amount of thinking I'm Dutch makes it true. I'm not. Get over it.

Margaret said...

Israel excludes Arabs/Palestinians, unless they are Arab Israelis (and even then: Mustapha Barghouti was born in J'sem yet is no longer allowed to return there).
'Jewish exceptionalism' Gert

That's just a nasty way of singling out the Jews.

Anonymous, you are arguing with yourself, perhaps distracted by your obsession with the nationality of others.

Israel singles out "the Jews," even as you do, and creates exceptions in basic law to privilege those it identifies as "the Jews".
What you are criticising is Israel's actions, not Gert's discription of them.

Health Blog said...

A country that decides who can be a citizen exclusively on ethnic/religious criteria would be denounced to hell and back for racism, unless it's called Israel.