Friday, March 13, 2009

Durban II: Politicizing Racism

By Ramzy Baroud
Palestine Chronicle

"Many countries are set to participate in the Conference against Racism, scheduled to be held in Geneva, April 20-25. But the highly touted international meet is already marred with disagreement after Israel, the United States and other countries decided not to participate. Although the abstention of four or more countries is immaterial to the proceedings, the US decision in particular was meant to render the conference ‘controversial’, at best.

The US government’s provoking stance is not new, but a repetition of another fiasco which took place in Durban, South Africa in 2001......

But the main “controversial” issue that led to the US representative’s departure from the conference was the criticism by many countries of Israel’s racism against the Palestinians. A majority of countries called for reinstituting UN General Assembly resolution 3379 which in 1975 equated Zionism with racism.

The conference, then, was not meant to only address the issue of Palestine and Israel. However, the strong American resistance to any criticism of the racially motivated practices of the Israeli state – the extreme violence, the land theft, the Wall, the settlements, the protracted military occupation, etc - pushed the issue to center stage.

The Palestinian struggle is not meant to overshadow the struggles of oppressed nations around the world, but it rather compliments the calls for rights, freedom and liberation that continue to echo around the globe. However, the fact that the illegal and violent mass oppression of Palestinians, as practiced openly by the Israeli state continue unabated – and is rather defended and justified by the United States and other European powers - highlights the historical legacy championed by former colonial powers throughout the so-called third world for so many years........"

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