Kofi Annan, secretary-general of the United Nations, has described the "Zionism-is-racism" resolution of 1975 as "the low point" in UN history. Though the resolution was renounced a decade ago, the international body is on the verge of describing Israel in terms that make the old resolution appear almost benign.
With little fanfare, preparations are under way for the UN World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, to be held in Durban, South Africa, at the end of August. Whatever its lofty goals in celebrating and espousing human rights, the meeting appears destined to be hijacked by anti-Israel forces, led by the Arab states, as a means of delegitimizing the Jewish state and putting its very being on the defensive.
Draft language for various resolutions being prepared in preliminary meetings in Geneva from July 30 to Aug. 10 characterizes Israel as racist in nature and violating the UN Charter and international human rights through "a new kind of apartheid, a crime against humanity and a serious threat to international peace and security" in the form of "continuing domination on the occupied territory" and discrimination against Arabs.
Dore Gold, Israel's former ambassador to the UN and a close adviser of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, describes this "politicization of international law" as "extremely dangerous."
Such a war of words, in consonance with recent efforts in some quarters to depict Sharon and the Israeli army as war criminals, is part of a calculated effort to attack Israel in ways the Arabs are unable to do militarily — by assailing Israel's legitimacy as a Jewish state.
Ironies abound in the Arabs' Orwellian attempts to change the very meaning of language. While the politically and morally corrupt Palestinian Authority encourages its young people to kill Jews and rewards those who do, it charges Israel with violations of human rights for defending its citizens against murderous attacks.
Arafat instructed his minions to "kill as many settlers as possible."
In truth, Yasir Arafat has been a master of the use and misuse of words, primarily in sounding reasonable and willing to negotiate at times when he speaks to Israel and the West, while telling his own people and the Arab world, in Arabic, to disregard his conciliatory public statements and maintain a constant assault on Israel. Just last week, according to reports in the Israeli press, Arafat instructed his minions to "kill as many settlers as possible" and "do not pay attention to what I say in the media, the television or public appearances. Pay attention only to the written instructions that you receive from me."
Such behavior is consistent with Arafat's actions since the Oslo peace process began eight years ago. The only glimmer of good news is that while the Clinton administration consistently overlooked Palestinian violations of the accords in hopes of moving the process forward, the Bush administration has sought to hold Arafat's feet to the fire, at least in terms of refusing to invite him to the White House and hold off on renewed talks until he stops the violence.
One galling aspect of the incipient UN debacle in South Africa is the bias the institution has shown against Israel for decades, most recently in the refusal of its alleged peacekeeping force, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, to provide Israel with a copy of the UNIFIL videotape reportedly showing details of Hezbollah's kidnapping of three Israeli soldiers last fall. The UN did not acknowledge the existence of the tape until recently, and has been pressured by Hezbollah and Lebanon not to show it to Israel — this at a time when the Palestinians are insisting on an international force to observe the so-called cease-fire and protect them from alleged "aggression" on the part of Israel.
As attention turns to the upcoming UN World Conference Against Racism, it is vital that democratic states, led by the U.S., speak out in defense of Israel and against the potential travesty of politicizing an international forum with one target — the Jewish state. If the Arab effort is not thwarted, the Durban conference could become the new low point of UN history.
Courtesy of www.thejewishweek.com