18 August 2008 - Obama endorses Durban II conference?
The Saddleback Civic Forum transcript continues to provide food for thought--and to provoke further questions. (We really do need more presidential debates than Senator Barack Obama has been willing to allow. They are the only way to truly discover each candidate's views as well as his instinctive responses to tough questions.)
At one point, Obama was asked about what he would do about religious persecution around the world. He answered:
"Having an administration that's speaking out, joining in international forums where we can point out human rights abuses and the absence of religious freedom, that I think is absolutely critical."
Now, it is not entirely clear what Obama means by "joining in international forums." The only international human rights forum in recent memory that the U.S. chose not to join--or, more precisely, to leave--was the U.N. World Conference Against Racism in Durban in 2001. That conference descended into a carnival of antisemitic hatred, and the U.S. and Israel both pulled out.
The decision to leave was sharply criticized at the time by the American left. I know, because I was at the conference at the time, working as a journalist for the left-wing magazine Colorlines, whose editors were in complete denial about the anti-Jewish propaganda being paraded in front of our faces.
One editor later wrote that the Bush administration had used the "red herring" of antisemitism "to control the Durban debate and set the stage for a racist resurgence in foreign and domestic policy." This type of rhetoric was fairly typical on the left.
One of those who joined in the criticism of the Bush administration's decision was none other than Jeremiah Wright, Obama's pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ. It is unfair to ascribe Wright's views to Obama, but Wright was merely repeating a view that was fairly common in left-wing circles--particularly among those interested in racial politics--when he said:
"...last year's conference in Africa on racism which the United States would not participate in because somebody dared to point out the racism which it still supports, both here and in Israel..."
Obama would not have agreed with Wright's follow-up comment that 9/11 was caused by the U.S.-Israel relationship, but he has certainly done nothing to stop the left-wing from endorsing the next Durban racism conference, which Nancy Pelosi's Democratic Congress officially endorsed last month in House Resolution 1361, despite the likelihood that it will be a repeat of the 2001 debacle.
Did Obama suggest at Saddleback that the U.S. participate in Durban II as a way of confronting religious persecution?
It's hard to avoid that conclusion--though his comment was typically vague.
One other possibility is that Obama was referring to the U.N. Human Rights Council, which has also become an obsessive anti-Israel hate-fest (for more on this see UN Watch).
Regardless, there is hardly a single major international human rights forum that has lived up to its mandate. They have been hijacked by dictatorial regimes and twisted by radical anti-Israel activists.
That Obama would suggest the U.S. defend victims of religious persecution through these perverted forums--whether Durban II or any other--is simply outrageous. If anything, those forums have been abused to protect and promote hatred--religious and otherwise.