A very good thing. Let the sick and decayed meet without benefit of the good men and women in the world. Cutting the UN budget, a great thing. Now a few more baby steps and we'll be able to leave that cesspool for good. It's only a matter of time.
We are aware of the keen interest in whether or not the United States will participate in the Durban II conference.
The Durban Conference held in 2001 was supposed to help the international fight against racism.
Instead, it degenerated into an Israel-bashing session and the U.S. delegation, as you know, walked out.
Colin Powell, who was then Secretary of State, had it right when he said, “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 ideas 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.”
Unfortunately, the UN General Assembly, both in the Third Committee and the Fifth Committee, resolved to convene a Durban Review Conference in 2009 with preparatory work done by the Human Rights Council.
The U.S. voted against these resolutions, because we do not believe there will be a meaningful review of any of the problematic aspects of the original Durban Conference, and that therefore the expenditure of any UN funds on preparatory meetings or the “review” conference itself would be a colossal and irresponsible waste of such funds.
In fact, in December 2007, the U.S. voted against the entire UN budget in part because of our staunch opposition to the inclusion of funding for Durban II.
As we stated in our explanation of vote in December, “We could not support this budget resolution because this budget today contains funding to what we refer colloquially to as the ‘Durban 2 Conference.’ Our political sentiments have been clearly expressed on this revisiting of an event that was noxious to my country and a disgrace in the International Community.”
Because of these views, the United States has declined since August to participate in the preparatory events of this Conference. We and Israel have both sent note takers to ensure that we have an accurate record of the proceedings and that we don’t rely on press reports to know what is being planned, but we have made clear that the United States is not participating in the process and we have no plans to do so.
We will not participate unless it is proven that the conference will not be used as a platform for anti-Semitic behavior.
Turning to the Human Rights Council . . .the HRC has not advanced the fundamental goal envisioned by the Charter of the United Nations of promoting universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms.
In some ways the Human Rights Council is worse than its predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights.
In 2005, the international community seemed to have reached a consensus on the need for a more credible body and one that could take more timely, effective action in the case of ongoing crises.
But, what we have found is that, in some ways, the HRC is less able to take affirmative action, but is more willing to focus on Israel-bashing exercises.
Because of our concerns, the United States will withhold a portion of its 2008 funding for the United Nations – specifically, an amount equivalent to the U.S. share of the Human Rights Council budget, including amounts that would pay for the HRC-administered preparatory process for a Durban II conference tentatively scheduled for 2009