Were there ever a case for America to reassess the way it finances international institutions, it would be the plan of the United Nations to mount a sequel to the Durban conference. Ostensibly a world conference against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, the original Durban conference began with such a farcical, over the top anti-Semitic and anti-American atmosphere that Secretary of State Powell, in one of his greatest acts, withdrew the American delegation in its entirety.
That was in the summer of 2001. America walked out of that conference, which took place in Durban, South Africa, because even to the most patient and tactful members of the State Department’s striped pants set could not take the abuse heaped at them. The conference became a hate-fest against America, and even more so against Jews and Israel. Such animus overshadowed the conference’s relatively banal final declaration, considering the NGOs’ declaration passed on to it by then Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson. A scheme to repeat the charade, under the rubric of a Durban Review Conference in the spring of 2009, was denounced earlier this month by America’s envoy at the world body, Ambassador Khalilzad.
Over the weekend, one of the most intrepid U.N.-watchers, Anne Bayefsky, who issues www.eyeontheun.org sent a wire to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations warning that money from American taxpayers was being siphoned off into the Durban Review Conference through two different methods. One was a resolution in respect of the Durban follow-up. Another was through what she called "the regular budget allotment for the Human Rights Council and associated mechanism," which — she didn’t have to say outright — is a unit of the United Nations set up for the purpose of isolating Israel. It has dealt with almost no other nations.
One of the things that alarmed Ambassador Khalilzad is that fact that the committee to plan the Durban II event is headed by Libya and includes as members such anti-racism luminaries as Iran, Cuba, and Pakistan. Even worse than the official governmental conference was the conference that preceded it, gathering Non Governmental Organizations. Much of the funding for that conference was provided by the Ford Foundation, a fact that, when exposed by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, led to inquiries in the congress and reforms within the Ford Foundation itself. A recent tendency in U.N. circles to redefine anti-Semitism as discrimination against all Shem’s descendants, except perhaps Jews, may very well end up next on Durban’s agenda.
These kinds of things are one reason that Ambassador Bolton, in his new book "Surrender is Not an Option," is pressing to change the way countries pay their share of the United Nations budget to voluntary giving for assessed costs. This would give American tax payers greater control over which programs they choose to finance. As it is, the proposal for the 2008-9 regular budget, which is expected to be voted on by Friday, includes $7.2 million to finance flights, hotel rooms, and other expenditures for preparations for the Durban farce. All this adds up to a dig into the American tax payer’s pocket to pay for something the vast majority of Americans despise. Twice.