Friday, December 21, 2007

Death, Taxes...And Durban

Claudia Rosett raises a red flag on next year's Durban Conference:
At the United Nations, ‘tis the season to bankroll hatred of Israel and America — via pricey preparations for a 2009 gathering dubbed the “Durban Review Conference,” or Durban II. Right now, plans have advanced from general talk of funding this jamboree out of the U.N. regular budget, and have homed in on a figure of $6.8 million which the U.N. budget committee is poised to approve. Unless Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice makes it her business to somehow block the money — and fast — this means that Americans, as top contributors to the U.N. budget, can look forward not only to being vilified at Durban II along with our democratic ally, Israel, but also to picking up the biggest share of the tab for this next landmark U.N. exercise in bigotry.

Durban II is of course being planned as the follow-up to the U.N.’s notorious 2001 conference in Durban, South Africa. Convened under the pretext of fighting racism, that conclave erupted into a frenzy of malice toward America, and even more specifically, Israel. Colin Powell, then secretary of State, had the integrity to withdraw the U.S. delegation, and publicly tell the U.N. organizers: “You do not combat racism by conferences that produce declarations containing hateful language, some of which is a throwback to the days of ‘Zionism equals racism;’ or supports the idea that we have made too much of the Holocaust; or suggests that apartheid exists in Israel; or that singles out only one country in the world — Israel — for censure and abuse.”
And we are going to pay for it with our tax dollars:

Over the weekend, one of the most intrepid U.N.-watchers, Anne Bayefsky, who issues sent a wire to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations warning that money from American taxpayers was being siphoned off into the Durban Review Conference through two different methods. One was a resolution in respect of the Durban follow-up. Another was through what she called "the regular budget allotment for the Human Rights Council and associated mechanism," which — she didn't have to say outright — is a unit of the United Nations set up for the purpose of isolating Israel. It has dealt with almost no other nations.

One of the things that alarmed Ambassador Khalilzad is that fact that the committee to plan the Durban II event is headed by Libya and includes as members such anti-racism luminaries as Iran, Cuba, and Pakistan. Even worse than the official governmental conference was the conference that preceded it, gathering Non Governmental Organizations. Much of the funding for that conference was provided by the Ford Foundation, a fact that, when exposed by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, led to inquiries in the congress and reforms within the Ford Foundation itself. A recent tendency in U.N. circles to redefine anti-Semitism as discrimination against all Shem's descendants, except perhaps Jews, may very well end up next on Durban's agenda.

These kinds of things are one reason that Ambassador Bolton, in his new book "Surrender is Not an Option," is pressing to change the way countries pay their share of the United Nations budget to voluntary giving for assessed costs. This would give American tax payers greater control over which programs they choose to finance. As it is, the proposal for the 2008-9 regular budget, which is expected to be voted on by Friday, includes $7.2 million to finance flights, hotel rooms, and other expenditures for preparations for the Durban farce. All this adds up to a dig into the American tax payer's pocket to pay for something the vast majority of Americans despise. Twice.

It remains to be seen whether our taxes and Durban II are a sure thing.

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