BBC describes antisemitism as ‘criticism of Israel’

The BBC News website  says that one of the reasons the US is likely to stay away from the Durban review conference is because the draft of its final document “criticizes Israel.”

Analysis from Ben Cohen here.

More on the Livingstone Formulation here.

People who get caught up in racist worldviews…

People who stumble into racist ways of thinking…

Should we explain the issues patiently, try to educate them, make arguments, try and win them over?

Or should we simply say “Fuck you!”?

US State Department Statement on Durban Review

US State departmentOn the State Department website.

This Administration is committed to diplomacy and to active and effective engagement with international institutions, which can play a vital role in addressing the challenges we face. The United States looks forward to engaging with our partners around the world to build a more peaceful and secure world.

The Administration is also strongly committed to fighting racism and discrimination. Consistent with that commitment, and with the goal of trying to achieve a positive constructive result in the Durban Review Conference, the United States recently sent a distinguished delegation to attend the ongoing negotiations on the draft outcome document.

Our delegates met with over 30 delegations, the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, and other interested parties. In addition, the Department consulted with many governments in capitals regarding our effort. The engagement by the U.S. delegation was widely welcomed and appreciated.
Sadly, however, the document being negotiated has gone from bad to worse, and the current text of the draft outcome document is not salvageable. As a result, the United States will not engage in further negotiations on this text, nor will we participate in a conference based on this text. A conference based on this text would be a missed opportunity to speak clearly about the persistent problem of racism.

The United States remains open to a positive result in Geneva based on a document that takes a constructive approach to tackling the challenges of racism and discrimination. The U.S. believes any viable text for the Review Conference must be shortened and not reaffirm in toto the flawed 2001 Durban Declaration and Program of Action (DDPA). It must not single out any one country or conflict, nor embrace the troubling concept of “defamation of religion.” The U.S. also believes an acceptable document should not go further than the DDPA on the issue of reparations for slavery.

We will observe developments in Geneva and in capitals to see if such an outcome emerges. We would be prepared to re-engage if a document that meets these criteria becomes the basis for deliberations.

On the UN Human Rights Council, we share the concerns of many that the Council’s trajectory is disturbing, that it needs fundamental change to do more to promote and protect the human rights of people around the world, and that it should end its repeated and unbalanced criticisms of Israel.

We believe, however, it furthers our interests and will do more both to achieve these ends and advance human rights if we are part of the conversation and present at the Council’s proceedings.

Accordingly, we will participate in this month’s Human Rights Council session as an observer and will use the opportunity to strengthen old partnerships and forge new ones. These times demand seriousness and candor, and we pledge to closely work with our partners in the international community to avoid politicization and to achieve our shared goals.

Our participation as an observer is a sign of the commitment of the Administration to advancing the cause of human rights in the multilateral arena. We look forward to the help and cooperation of our friends and allies to ensure the Human Rights Council focuses on the pressing human rights concerns of our time.

Via the most excellent ICARE, the Internet Centre Against Racism in Europe

For an excellent account of what it was like to be at the UN and NGO global conferences against racism in 2001, and the antisemitic atmosphere which developed there, read The Durban Diaries.

Jewish Center attacked in Venezuela

This piece is by Christopher Toothaker at AP.

Assailants threw an explosive at a Jewish community center on Thursday, but nobody was hurt in the blast — the second assault against Venezuela’s Jewish community this year.

Abraham Garzon, president of the Jewish Community Center, told the local Globovision television news channel that a small explosive resembling a pipe-bomb was lobbed at the building in Caracas before dawn on Thursday. The explosion damaged the doors to the center.

“It seems there are people in the country dedicated to sowing terrorism,” Garzon said.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack, which immediately reignited fears of rising anti-Semitism in Venezuela.

It was the second attack against a Jewish institution this year.

A Caracas synagogue was ransacked and vandalized last month. The assailants shattered religious objects, spray-painted “Jews, get out” on the temple’s walls and stole a computer database containing names and addresses of Jews living in Venezuela.

Authorities have arrested 11 people, including eight police officers, suspected of participating in the attack. Investigators believe the assailants forced their way into the temple to steal a large amount of cash they believed was inside. The vandalism, authorities say, could have been aimed at turning attention away from the true motive behind the crime.

On Thursday, Sergio Widder of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center criticized Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for failing to take steps aimed at curbing anti-Semitism.

Chavez should strongly criticize pro-government Web sites and newspapers that have carried articles and columns that many Venezuelan Jews perceive as anti-Semitic, he said.

“This is outrageous, it’s turning into an escalation,” said Widder, the center’s representative for Latin America. “It’s the government’s responsibility to stop this.”

During Israel’s offensive in Gaza, Chavez fiercely criticized the Jewish state and ordered the Israeli ambassador out of Venezuela. Protests against the military incursion were held in Caracas and demonstrators hurled shoes at and sprayed graffiti on the Israeli embassy.

Chavez, who has repeatedly condemned the Jan. 30 attack on the synagogue, denies being anti-Semitic. The socialist leader says he simply opposes Israeli policies toward the Palestinians. He accuses the Israeli government of acting as an arm of Washington.

Venezuela’s Jewish community numbers nearly 15,000.

This piece is by Christopher Toothaker at AP.

via Z word

Lots of important stuff on Harry’s Place

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