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Foggy Bottom

Calling UN Racism Conference Text 'Unsalvageable,' Administration Threatens a Boycott

By Colum Lynch
NEW YORK -- The Obama administration has threatened to boycott a major U.N. conference on racism scheduled for April unless major changes are made to the draft conference outcome document, which they claim unfairly singles out Israel and would restrict freedom of speech.

A State Department official said that the negotiating text is "unsalvageable" and that the United States would only reconsider its position if the negotiators stripped out provisions criticizing Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands, as well as calls for restrictions on the defamation of religions, a position that Washington fears could undercut free speech.

The Obama administration sent a delegation to Geneva last week to participate in preliminary negotiations for the conference, which is being held to review strides since the 2001 World Summit Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Other Related Intolerance.

"Unfortunately, the document being negotiated has gone from bad to worse," a State Department official said. "The current text of the draft of the outcome document is, in the United States government's estimation, unsalvageable.

"As a result the United States will not participate in the forthcoming negotiations on this text, nor will we be able to participate in a conference that is based on this text."

It's "possible," the official continued, the U.S. would participate in a conference on a "viable text" that was "shorter" and did not reiterate the 2001 documents. U.S. officials had previously said that any agreement on a declaration would also have to drop a call for reparations for slavery.

U.N. officials had urged the Obama administration to participate in the review conference, saying that the election of the first African American president presents the United States with an opportunity to inspire other minorities around the world and to highlight U.S. progress in the years since slavery was abolished and blacks were granted civil rights.

Israel and Canada have since said they plan to boycott the April review conference, claiming that initial preparatory meetings confirmed their fears of anti-Israel bias in the process.

The debate over U.S. participation has pitted American human rights advocates, who support U.S. participation at the conference, against some American Jewish organizations, who have called for a boycott.

White House officials outlined the U.S. policy in a meeting with American Jewish leaders.

Posted at 2:54 PM ET on Feb 27, 2009  | Category:  Foggy Bottom
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So, our African-American President and his administration are boycotting a conference on racism. Disappointing, but not surprising actually, considering that Obama has long been bought off by AIPAC.

It's so tiresome to STILL hear not only the US government but so many clueless American citizens equate criticism of the racist Israeli government (and the many racist Israeli citizens who support it) with "anti-Semitism" even after its violent rampage through Gaza that has justifiably provoked outrage all over the world. Never mind that probably a majority of the world's Jews outside Israel agree with most non-Jews in regarding Israel as a pariah nation, as hateful toward Arabs and Muslims as apartheid South Africa was toward black Africans. Racism is racism; that others have acted in racist ways toward your group in the past is no excuse whatsoever.

Posted by: meltonj1 | February 27, 2009 11:58 PM

the point being, if the Arabs are just going to start picking on Israel again, why can't the USA show up and tell them to their faces that is not acceptable

there are a lot of reasons why the USA backs Israel - including because it was the one little scrap of land that the Jews got after Hitler nearly bonked them out

and Hitler was fixing to bonk us out too

and then they had to contend with the Arabs, who have been bullying them for years

now there are even these luminaries like Majinijad who say there was no WWII

why not go confront them and give them an earful, you don't just turn tail and run away from them

Posted by: snorfy | February 27, 2009 11:27 PM

of course the Obama people are too chicken to show up and say what needs to be said

that might offend the Iranian monarch Abdineejad who is being embraced by Obama like a long lost friend, Majinijad the world's #1 producer of roadway bombs used on our troops

"please let us extend our hand to you Mr. Majinijad" ..... "say a kind word to us and we will be nice to you"

Posted by: snorfy | February 27, 2009 9:23 PM

I had a primary point in the prior post that I wanted to get across, but I think I perhaps was unclear in one area. I believe innocent people ought to be protect, that racism of all kinds should be eliminated, and the atrocities that have been committed against all people should be clearly word, and deed. In the past, I think the USA has gone too far, and other times has not done enough. Innocent life ought to, and must be, protected. I believe that Obamas move here is a smart one, for many reasons. I am primarily attacking the blind support of Israel, not the support in general. I hope that is clear.

Posted by: jdaggett | February 27, 2009 8:16 PM

I would certainly agree that there are some seriously racist Jews out there...I will tread lightly here, but it seems to stem from those racist jews thinking they have a free pass because of the atrocities committed during the holocaust. They have a right to be pissed at how they have been treated over the last 4000 years by various groups, but the victim mentality grows a bit old - especially when it affects the entire world. I am a conservative, but I think the US policies, most often conceived of by republicans are counterintuitive and counterproductive. It stems from, in my opinion, a Protestant influence that sees Israel as a geography and people that must be protected blindly in order to keep God's favor with the USA. seriously, it sounds a bit idiotic but I guaranty to you that that is a big part of it. Go survey some Protestant Republicans and they will tell you that outright. I believe democracy is to be protected, and where there are infractions against Israel that affect our own security, we should support them. But this blind support of Israel (which has one of the world's largest sex trades) is simply ludicrous.
Chalk it up to recent reinterpretation of Christian scriptures, but it is what it is. This theology that has influenced the US policy is around a hundred years old, which in my mind makes it highly suspect...along with the faulty reasoning behind it. But hey, I'm just an old school Catholic – what do I know...

Posted by: jdaggett | February 27, 2009 8:12 PM

"Looks like AIPAC is calling the shots with Obama already.

Posted by: hhkeller | February 27, 2009 6:57 PM"
If you believe that then you should check out Charles Freeman, our newest head of the National Intelligence Council.

Posted by: JRM2 | February 27, 2009 8:07 PM

Anytime the U S refuses to participate in anything the U N does is a good thing. The U N is the most feckless anti-American organization the U S ever signed on to. We should withdraw from this money sucking entity and run them out of the country. Slave reparations is a joke. We already have Reparations Day, it's April 15th!

Posted by: roncee | February 27, 2009 7:38 PM

Another thing, the Muslims living in Israel are more prosperous and treated more fairly than in any of the nations of their Muslim neighbors. Unfortunately, you cannot say the same about the Jews, Christians, Hindus or Baha'i living in the Muslim states.

Posted by: DL13 | February 27, 2009 7:15 PM

I support the boycott. The conference is just another anti-Israel group bash whose members wont be happy until they finish what Hitler started. We should send the message that, "When you want to get serious and treat everyone with equality, give us a call; until then, please don't waste our time."

Posted by: DL13 | February 27, 2009 7:10 PM

Looks like AIPAC is calling the shots with Obama already.

Posted by: hhkeller | February 27, 2009 6:57 PM

How could this be sloved if we stand for Israel and the rest of the world doesn't. How can this be solved if we see only Palestinian mistakes and ignoring Jewish mistakes. Obama is making msiatke here and keeps going down the path of George Bush and Zionists. USA is probably the only country that can solve world's problem with Israel, but for some reason wont. USA is probably the only country that should not miss this conference, but Zionists have money, and now we bring haters over our land because of racist Jews, not normal Jews; racist Jews.

Posted by: BOBSTERII | February 27, 2009 6:27 PM

I agree with rob15 below. Israel is a racist state, but there are many others who are racist as well. So no point in singling out just Israel. There are better ways to handle the Israel issue than this conference.

Posted by: dogsbestfriend | February 27, 2009 6:16 PM

Uh I don't believe many of you people get what the issue is all about. It's wayyy more than just racism. The UN conference, is led by some of the world' worst regimes i.e. certain one's in the middle east who themselves are very racist. Most Americans (those with sanity anyway) when they understand what the conference is all about what nothing to do with it. That's why the Canadians have taken the correct stand. This conference is way more about defending the rights of "terrorists" and attacking Israel, than trying to solve any problems. Essentially it's an anti-semitic hate fest disguised as an international conference.

Posted by: fountainviewkid | February 27, 2009 6:11 PM

I thought the only appropriate response to a JakeDCrazy post was a raspberry. Not a lot of smirky posts these days from the Jakester - I guess the Alan Keyes lawsuit funding keeps him off the golf courses...

Posted by: LABC | February 27, 2009 5:54 PM

Obama, himself a victim of racism in the U.S., now threatens to boycott a major U.N. conference on racism. If this is not ironic, then I don't know what is.

There is just too much hypocrisy and double standard from Obama who promises to bring "CHANGE" to our country.

Posted by: Mickey2 | February 27, 2009 5:53 PM

He was just desperate to make some kind of response to Jake's post and that was the best he could come up with.

Posted by: Jeff08 | February 27, 2009 5:37 PM

What do all the Obama haters say now that he has boycotted?"

Uhm, maybe "good job, now correctly address the 100 other issues that we think you are incorrectly handling"

I know that is a sort of "duh" response to your rhetorical question, but I tried to respond on the same general intellectual level of the post.
Im not implying you are dimwitted, Im sure you are just as intelligent as I think I am, just that the post was a bit stupid...not that I missed your point - I got it - but still it was pretty dull.


Posted by: jdaggett | February 27, 2009 5:34 PM


Gee, you mean the UN doesn't approve of countries bombing their aid stations and shooting their humanitarian aid workers? We'd better throw another temper tantrum until we get out way and the UN stops slapping Israel on the wrist for killing thousands of fenced-in civilians in Palestine. Stupid UN should know that Israel's perfect and can do no wrong. They're just looking out for their own selfish interests again, like that time they said Iraq didn't have WMDs.

Posted by: Terrorfied | February 27, 2009 5:27 PM

Is Israel any more racist than the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Islamic Monarchy of Saudi Arabia, Yemen (where Arab Muslims rape and kill African Muslims), the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Islamic Republic of Turkey. Are Christians afforded the same rights as Muslims in any of these countries? Are Jews given equality in Iran? We all know the answer. But the world doesn't have conferences condemning those countries - just Israel. What a bunch of hypocrites!

Posted by: rob15 | February 27, 2009 5:26 PM


Posted by: goldhatresearch | February 27, 2009 5:10 PM

For the record, I don't "hate" anyone.

Posted by: JakeD | February 27, 2009 5:06 PM

Oh No! I thought Obama was gonna do whatever the UN said, to restore our moral standing in the world!

I weep for our country. I really really do. *sniffle*

Posted by: Jeff08 | February 27, 2009 4:58 PM

Zionism, by definition, is racist (just go to official sites and read the manifesto). It's as racist as the Europeans who exterminated the native Americans and now call America a "Christian nation." Judaism and its bastard offspring Christianity and Islam make up the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on humanity. As far as terrorism goes, the Jewish Irgun was described as a terrorist organization by the New York Times, the Anglo-American Committee of Enquiry, Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, and many others. The Stern gang, another Jewish organization, was described as a terrorist organization by the British authorities and United Nations mediator Ralph Bunche (of the U.S.).

Posted by: edwcorey | February 27, 2009 4:55 PM


What do all the Obama haters say now that he has boycotted?

Posted by: nodebris | February 27, 2009 4:31 PM


What would the Bush haters have said if he had boycotted?

Posted by: JakeD | February 27, 2009 4:18 PM

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