NEW YORK, Sept. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Mike Huckabee – who will address the biggest conference countering the expected Israel-bashing-fest at the UN’s Durban III “anti-racism” gathering Thursday – said today that the world body is dabbling in “politics dressed up as human rights.”
Huckabee will join 17 other top names – among them former U.S. ambassador to the UN John Bolton and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel – at the day-long "counter conference" titled "The Perils of Global Intolerance: The United Nations and Durban III."
The counter conference will directly respond to this week's peril-fraught Palestinian bid for a UN-backed statehood status that does not include a negotiated settlement with Israel. The goals of the UN commemoration of the 2001 Durban Declaration and Programme of Action – which emerged from the UN's anti-Israel and anti-West "World Conference Against Racism" just days ahead of the 9/11 attacks that year – are closely connected to the Palestinian gambit scheduled for the day after.
Chairing the counter conference will be Anne Bayefsky, whose own odyssey as a human rights activist provides an additionally gripping account of the role she and the counter-conference backers have played in highlighting the hypocrisy of the UN's "Durban" process as a bulwark against racism. Bayefsky attended the UN's 2001 conference as representative for the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, and emerged determined, she said, "to tell the story of corruption in the world of international protection of human rights."
As a measure of how the Durban process continues to run counter to internationally declared human rights standards, and in a reflection of how her 10-year long campaigning has been the leading edge on the issue, 13 democracies – including the three "permanent" Western members of the UN Security Council – have declared they will boycott the Durban III.
But that leaves 180 UN member states that have taken no such action – a point the counter conference's speakers are expected additionally to highlight.
"The effort to condemn and isolate Israel on the world stage is an affront to American values and American security," said Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, who mounted a strong campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, and now hosts the successful talk-show "Huckabee" on the Fox News Network.
"The effort by those at the UN who have attempted to destroy Israel from the moment of its creation ought to be completely unacceptable to every American.
"Americans are committed to the state of Israel for moral, ethical, and strategic reasons. Ours is an unbreakable bond, and no use of politics dressed up as human rights will succeed in undermining our absolute commitment to Israel," said Huckabee.
Bolton, currently senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, said he will discuss "what's wrong with singling out Israel for criticism in Durban III."
Specifically, he said he will "talk about the Palestinian statehood effort, and how it is the flip side at the UN of Durban III's effort to delegitimize Israel."
Crucially, Bolton will provide historical context to the UN's stance towards Israel and the Palestinian cause up to and including the 2001 conference in Durban, South Africa, which saw the United States and Israel walk out in protest to the draft document that charged Israel – and only Israel among the entire UN membership – with racism.
Bolton said he will "remind everyone that it was (Secretary of State Colin) Powell's decision to walk out of (the) 'anti-racism' conference." The significance is that Powell, an African American, was far from being among the so-called "hawks" of the administration of former Republican President George W. Bush.
Bolton will also touch on the relevance to current events of the U.S. effort to have the UN General Assembly revoke its 1975 Zionism-is-racism resolution in 1991.
Other key speakers at the "Perils of Global Intolerance" conference include Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning Israel-Arab journalist and documentary filmmaker.
In addition to highlighting what it means to him to be an Arab citizen of Israel, he said he will discuss "how the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic messages coming out of international gatherings, like UN's Durban conference, serve the agenda of the radicals and fundamentalists in the Arab and Islamic countries."
"These messages also promote anti-Israel and anti-Jewish violence, embolden Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and Syria and undermine moderate Arabs and Muslims," he said.
Bayefsky offers her own analysis as an expert who has intimately chronicled the process as part of her decade-long campaign. "Arab states at first sought to focus on the defeat of Israel solely through military means, but they soon realized that the political battlefield was as important," Bayefsky said.
"The Durban Declaration and the follow-up processes it has spawned are the centerpiece of that political battle. First, they allege that Israel is racist, akin to apartheid South Africa – which they have done consistently since the mid 1970's and the (passing of the) Zionism-is-racism General Assembly resolution. Second, having turned Israel into a rogue state, there is no need to negotiate with it; the only route left is to impose upon this country the 'right' answers.
"And who better to supply those answers but the self-described emblem of human rights, the United Nations. That is why Durban and the unilateral Palestinian move at the UN go hand-in-hand, a one-two punch.
"It is, therefore, imperative to point out that Durban and the unilateral declaration of independence are part and parcel of one goal: the rejection of a Jewish state," she said.
Among those who will speak at the UN General Assembly on the same day as the Durban III conference is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose constant vitriol against Israel includes what is almost universally accepted as direct calls for the country's destruction. He also frequently questions the reality of the Holocaust.
"The racists are masquerading as anti-racists," Bayefsky continued. "And the organization that is supposed to protect human rights is largely controlled by those who oppose those same rights.
"All the world's major democracies have pulled out of Durban III because they have finally understood exactly that."
Bayefsky is on record as welcoming the 13 countries that have so far declared they will boycott Durban III. They are: Australia, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, the United States and the United Kingdom.
"Durban is not about combating racism, it is about demonizing Jews and the Jewish state," Bayefsky added. "The fact that every Western member of the permanent five powers on the UN Security Council has decided to boycott a UN conference is an historic step of tremendous importance. The Palestinians – and Yasser Arafat in particular – were behind Durban I and its message. This is a major defeat of their message of rejectionism and a refutation that anti-Semitism is a legitimate political tool, period."
Please note that the counter conference on Thursday, September 22, 2011, also takes place on the same day that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is scheduled to address the UN General Assembly – presenting journalists covering his speech with an opportunity to seek immediate reaction from the conference's speakers. The counter conference will be just across from UN headquarters in New York, at the Millennium UN Plaza Hotel.
The hosts of the "Perils of Global Intolerance" conference
The Touro College Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust aims to understand, explore and evaluate contemporary mechanisms for protecting human rights and the rule of law in view of the lessons of the Holocaust and its aftermath. http://www.touro.edu/ihrh
Hudson Institute is a nonpartisan policy research organization dedicated to innovative research and analysis. Founded in 1961, Hudson is celebrating a half century of forging ideas that promote security, prosperity, and freedom. http://www.hudson.org
SOURCE Hudson Institute and Touro College