They don’t even pretend anymore (DATE DE PARUTION 6 MAI 2009)

By Beryl Wajsman on June 18, 2009

Though we can’t be surprised anymore, we still need to condemn. The World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, commonly called Durban 2, concluded recently in Geneva. Durban I, eight years ago, at least had the veneer of civility however quickly disabused by the contents. This year’s incarnation didn’t even pretend. How could it? Two gangster regimes — Iran and Libya — co-chaired and co-organized it. The result was as anticipated. But the date was filled with pathos.

 Durban 2’s first day was the eve of worldwide celebrations commemorating the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. On that day the Iranian president, this generation’s leading Holocaust denier, gave the opening address to the conference. Ahmadenijad denies the first Holocaust while openly preparing a second against Israel. On that day. One wonders if the timing was co-incidental. Or perhaps the haters are now so brazen that they don’t even bother to hide.

ahmadinejad.jpg Ahmadinejad did his usual act. Spewing words of nullification and interposition. The hate dripped from his lips like blood from the mouth of a savage beast that had just chewed its prey. Israel called him the new Hitler. With reason. Nobel-prize winning author and Holocaust survivor and witness Elie Wiesel once wrote that the critical lesson nations and peoples must take from the Holocaust is that when a leader threatens you with destruction, believe him. Evil men commit unspeakable evil acts. Don’t try and rationalize them away. “He didn’t mean to go that far.” “He’s just speaking for domestic consumption.” Nonsense!

 Policy makers and talking heads in the west have consistently dismissed hate. Why is inconceivable. Are they cowards, appeasers or simply delusional? As Irwin Cotler said so often in so many places the Holocaust did not begin with guns. It began with words! And so did what he labels “the first genocide of the 21st century – Darfur.” The beat goes on. Does humanity learn anything?

The only glimmer of hope at Durban II was that the Iranian’s words against Israel were so hate-filled that western delegates walked out and even UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reprimanded Ahmadinejad. Canada’s Prime Minister Harper was the first western leader to fully recognize — and refused to contenance — this evil. He refused to let Canada’s diplomats even participate in the preparatory conferences to Durban. America, the Netherlands, Australia, Italy and a few other countries followed. But the UN, and indeed the international community, will have to live with the guilt thet they enabled a Holocaust denier. They enabled a ruler who has made hate against Jews and persecution of minorities in his own country, the leitmotif of his life. 

His inflammatory incitement and humiliating and intolerable appeal to racist hate constitute clear proof, for those who still require it, that the conference’s agenda — and indeed the UN’s own conscience — have been taken hostage and diverted from real and necessary racism-related deliberations — to an unabashed tirade against Israel and the Jews.

 “I deplore the use of this platform by the Iranian president to accuse, divide and even incite,” Ban Ki-moon said in a statement. “This is the opposite of what this conference seeks to achieve.” European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering condemned Ahmedinejad’s speech as “unacceptable” and also warned about Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.

He went on to say that neither the existence nor recognition of Israel could be called into question. He further added that nuclear weapons in the hands of the Iranian head of state would be a danger for the Middle East and the world.

Earlier, Ban and Ahmedinejad met on the sidelines of the conference during which the U.N. chief told the Iranian that the U.N. General Assembly had adopted the resolution to revoke the equation of Zionism with racism.

 Finally world leaders are understanding the linkage between genocidal racism and a nuclear Iran. Finally they seem to be speaking out and walking out. One hopes that what we are witnessing is true. One wishes for courage. One yearns that the age of the appeasers is over. But we can never be sure of that. And we can never be sure it is not too late.

 There is one thing we can be sure of. Appeasement has never worked. And it won’t now. Churchill’s words come back to us from the mists of a time not long ago. He said, “An appeaser is someone who feeds the crocodile hoping he will eat him last. But eat him he surely will.” It’s time to stop feeding the Iranian crocodile. He doesn’t even pretend that he will eat us if he can. 

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Beryl P. Wajsman

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