At this point, it doesn’t appear likely that the United States will attend a controversial United Nations conference on racism. It looks like the Obama Administration is backing away from attending the conference. The concern? Too much anti-Israel rhetoric. And while the language of the UN document has been toned down it still doesn’t appear to be enough to appease the administration. More below from The Jerusalem Post:
The United States welcomed changes made to the draft document for the United Nations' anti-racism conference starting Monday in Geneva but indicated they were not sufficient for the US to change its position and attend the event, according to a statement released late Monday.
"Substantial improvements have been made, including shortening the document, removing all language that singled out any one country or conflict, and removing language that embraced the concept of 'defamation of religion' and that demanded reparations for slavery," said State Department Acting Spokesman Robert Wood in the statement, referring to earlier objections including undue focus on Israel. "There remain, however, elements of the current draft text that continue to pose significant concerns."
The statement, however, held out the possibility that the United States could "re-engage the conference process with the hope of arriving at a conference document that we can support" if additional changes were made.
These include dropping its reaffirmation of the "flawed" document that resulted from the first such UN World Conference Against Racism, held in Durban, South Africa in 2001. Israel has been particularly troubled by the reaffirmation of the earlier document because of language singling out and criticizing the Jewish state, though all other language that referenced Israel has now been removed from the 2009 text.
The wrangling over the contents of the draft outcome document for the Durban review could continue throughout the week, leaving the US presence up in the air until right before the conference begins.
Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva Roni Leshno Yaar told The Jerusalem Post , "We are still very far from closure on this business."
The last planning session for the conference ends on Friday, April 17, just three days before the event opens on Monday, April 20.
"We will continue with this game until the very last day and hour before the conference," he said.
More from Washington Post here.
Hey, memo to The White House. When Zionism is being compared to racism that may be a signal to get out of dodge. You think The White House wants to deal with the fallout from that? At some point you have to draw the line and folks let’s face it. It would be a VERY risky political move for Obama to give the OK for U.S. presence at this conference. Staying as far away from Geneva seems to be the smart and safe play.