Michael Warschawski


The UN Durban Review Conference on Racism held in Geneva on April 20-24.Representing the Alternative Information Center at Geneva , I was the only Israeli-Jew participating in this important gathering. Here are some of my impressions:

Between Durban II and Durban I there is no more in common than between the First Intifada and the so-call Second Intifada, i.e. absolutely nothing.

The UN Durban I Conference, held in South Africa in 2001, was a powerful statement by almost all the nations of the world against racism, and in spite of some marginal anti-Semitic incidents, an extraordinary outcry of international civil society. In fact, Durban was the last international demonstration of the decolonization era that started with the defeat of Nazi Germany and the awakening of the colonized nations.

Durban I was also the starting point of a global counter-reform launched by the big powers, under the leadership of the US and Israeli neoconservative administrations. That counter counter-offensive used the terrible accusation of anti-Semitism as its battle flag, and a permanent blackmail to paralyze any potential opposition.

The Durban II Conference against Racism was supposed to review the implementation of the Durban I decisions. In reality it was its planned assassination and funeral. The State of Israel and the USA played the leading role in that extremely well planned maneuver, with the assistance of some of the European countries. For three years, at least, they have been working hard to fix new guidelines for the conference, “the red lines” as they were labeled, mostly aimed to avoid any criticism of Israel, that in Durban I was indeed singled out in both the States and the Civil Society conferences. One must remember that 2001 was the year of Ariel Sharon’s “Defense Shield” murderous offensive against the Palestinian people, and the targeting of Israel was the direct and natural result of the massacres in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.