• The foreign minister of Tunisia, co-chair of one of the roundtables, said that the Durban anniversary provided an opportunity “to highlight…first and foremost, the Palestinian people” so as to avoid “exacerbating intercultural tensions.”
• The foreign minister of Iran ranted about “the racist Zionist regime” while proclaiming the DDPA [2001 Durban Declaration and Program of Action] to be “one of the richest record of achievement of humanity in today’s world against racism.”
• The Lebanese minister of foreign affairs denied the meaning of anti-Semitism: “Anti-Semitism is not known in the Arab world because Arab nations are Semitic.” He then manifested his own anti-Semitism by objecting to the “Jewish character of Israel” as “contrary to any vision of a future based on peace and tolerance.”
• The Syrian UN ambassador complained about “unpleasant practices in our region” – by which he didn’t mean his own government’s habit of butchering its people – but “the racist concept of a ‘Jewish state of Israel,” “the Facist racism of Israel” and “the mass racist violations by Israel.”
Durban III was also a golden opportunity for countries to attack the West, undermine democratic freedoms and play dress-up as a human rights advocate.
• The deputy foreign minister of Cuba railed against “subjugated” Palestinians and against institutionalized racism “in Europe and North America.”
• The Islamic Republic of Mauritania hailed Durban’s “significant achievements, in particular, condemning slavery,” and Mauritania’s stellar record of following Durban’s directions – despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of people are enslaved in Mauritania and that its government jails anti-slavery activists.
The Saudi Arabian “undersecretary for multi-relations affairs” never showed up, but, in an extraordinary breach of protocol, the UN uploaded his “speech” to the Durban III site anyway.
Here are the words of the world’s leading practitioner of gender apartheid and the country which criminalizes public displays of religion other than those of Islam: “Islam calls upon us to refrain from offending other religions and faiths;” “the Kingdom established…agencies that call for the spread of human-rights culture;” “freedom of speech should never be used as a tool for injustice;” and “the highest degree of racism and discrimination…the clearest illustration of such comprehensive racial discrimination lies…against the Palestinian people.”
But according to Bayefsky’s report, it wasn’t just Israel that was singled out for censure – as the other well known big-time racist power, the US was also taken to task for its abominable conduct.
That sounds like “mission accomplished” for the anti-racists at the UN.