Filed under: opinion, politics | Tags: Ahmadinejad, Durban, posted by Sam, racism, USA
Shimon Peres, Israel’s president, spoke out against the Durban 2 conference. The speech came at a ceremony commemorating one of the worst human rights disgraces of all time, the Holocaust. He proclaimed that the anti-racism summit currently being held in Geneva is really “an acceptance of racism, not a fight against it.”
Ahmadinejad gave a speech on the second day of the conference, without a translation from Farsi. Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz stood up at the beginning of the speech and commented on the lack of translation prevented attendees to participate. When Iran’s President mentioned Israel as a racist state, delegates from many European countries walked out. Other interruptions, like people interrupting Ahmadinejad with shouts of “racist, racist!” happened on several occasions.
This explicit example of racism is the reason that the United States did not want to legitimatize the conference with its presence. This is a a noble but incongruous position for the US to take. Under President Bush, this stubborn policy would have made more sense. Obama’s approach has been different. Since his election campaign, he has stated that he would be willing to meet with Iran with out preconditions. Congressional Black Caucus chair, Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee, pointed out that this non-confrontational strategy is only going to make the United States a less prominent player in the determination of what will be the future of global human rights policy.
It is important to be involved in such processes, since we view ourselves as paragons of human rights (despite the revelation of US use of the interrogation techniques used against terrorists). It is especially important because the current president of the UN Human Rights Committee is from Nigeria: a country who has its own issues with human rights.
If the Obama administration is just trying to pick their fights, I would advise getting involved in this one.
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