Late in the afternoon of Friday February 27th the US State Department rushed out the announcement that the Obama administration was not going to participate any further in the United Nations Durban Review Conference in Geneva this April. The move followed a roller-coaster week in which the White House first signaled it would break with President Bush’s long-standing boycott of the Summit, went to Geneva to ‘engage’ with the preparatory process, only to announce that they were pulling out for good.
It was unquestionably good news for Israel and her many allies around the world, concerned that like the first Durban Summit in South Africa on the eve 9/11, the 2009 UN forum has become a platform for some of the world’s worst human rights violators to advance their anti-Semitic, hate-filled agenda under the guise of combating ‘racism.’ All eyes are now on Britain, France and Germany the ‘big three’ nations of the European Union - all of which have indicated they might consider following suit.
The ICEJ itself was one of a number of organizations calling on President Obama to boycott the conference altogether, gathering more than 3,000 signatures to our online petition in less than three weeks.
We are continuing to take a lead on the issue by organizing our national branches around the world to persuade their governments to do the same.
At an ICEJ Discerning the Times Seminar in Florence Alabama on February 21st, US Financial Controller Daryl Hedding spoke of growing up in the beautiful coastal town of Durban that, “thanks to the UN,” has now become “a dirty word” to fair-minded Christians the world over.
“My father preached against apartheid, so much so that we were eventually forced to leave South Africa for Israel,” said Hedding, son of ICEJ Executive Director Rev. Malcolm Hedding. “I know what racism is,” he continued, “and I know what a racist state looks like. It doesn’t look like Israel!”
Calling on a packed room of some 150 Christians to take the message back to their churches and their elected representatives, Hedding affirmed the ICEJ position that the US should boycott Durban II and its toxic brand of anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial and Islamic ‘blasphemy’ laws.
But the US withdrawal from the Durban II process comes at a price. The State Department made it clear that from now on it will be seeking membership of the discredited UN Human Rights Council to ensure it “focuses on the pressing human rights concerns of our time.”
That’s a tall order. The Human Rights Council has devoted more resolutions concerning Israel than all other nations combined. And whether US participation will positively influence Council proceedings, or just lend credibility to the world’s most hate-filled forum of human rights hypocrisy, remains to be seen.
USA Media Director
International Christian Embassy Jerusalem
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