Let's first get 'Adolf' Ahmedinejad's speech at Durban II out of the way. Yesterday's Murdoch fishwrapper predictably called the Iranian president's rather unremarkable speech an "anti-Semitic tirade." (UN Integrity Damaged: Australia was right to have no part of Durban II, The Australian, 22/4/09)
Now, whether you love him or loathe him is irrelevant. Is his speech "anti-Semitic" as alleged? Let's take a look at some of the wording:
"Following World War II, [a number of powerful countries/the UN Security Council] resorted to military aggression to make an entire nation homeless under the pretext of Jewish suffering and they sent migrants from Europe, the United States and other parts of the world in order to establish a totally racist government in occupied Palestine. And, in fact, in compensation for the dire consequences of racism in Europe, they helped bring to power the most cruel and repressive racist regime in Palestine."
It would be more accurate to say that such powerful countries as Britain and the United States were instrumental in enabling Zionist forces to ethnically cleanse Palestine in 1948, and that the suffering of European Jewry at the hands of the Nazis provided a pretext for same. However, that the ethnic cleansing was motivated by the desire to achieve a Jewish majority in what had been, up to that point, a non-Jewish majority land, and that this makes it an inherently racist endeavour, is incontestable and cannot be smeared as anti-Semitism.
"The Security Council helped stabilize the occupying regime and supported it in the last 60 years, giving them a free hand to commit all sorts of atrocities. It is all the more regrettable that a number of Western governments and the United States have committed themselves to defending those racist perpetrators of genocide while the awakened-conscience and free-minded people of the world condemn aggression, brutalities and the bombardment of civilians in Gaza. The supporters of Israel have always been either supportive or silent against the crimes."
Pointing out that Israel has received disproportionate support from former and current imperial powers is hardly anti-Semitic. Nor can accusing it of genocide* be so described.
[*Article II of the Genocide Convention defines this crime as "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group" by "(a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part..."]
"World Zionism personifies racism that falsely resorts to religions and abuses religious sentiments to hide its hatred and ugly face."
Israel promotes itself as a Jewish state, representing not simply its own citizens, but Jews the world over. It also works assiduously to conflate the faith of Judaism with its Zionist political program. Recognising this is hardly the stuff of anti-Semitism.
Yet another Zionist beat-up from the self-styled Heart of the Nation.
In today's Durban II beat-up, however, we actually get the drum on the toings & froings of our foreign minister, Stephen Smith. (See my 20/4/09 post Australia Dumps on Durban.) Foreign editor Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan begins his usual Zionist tirade by banging on ludicrously about that "vile and hateful anti-Semitic jamboree" Durban I of 2001: "Israel was demonised not just for its alleged mistreatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories but uniquely as a racist state. The very idea of Zionism - a Jewish state in the Middle East was denounced as racist." (Boycott is a triumph of principle over hate)
For some perspective, here's what Durban I's Declaration & Program of Action (DPA) actually said about the Palestinians: "We are concerned about the plight of the Palestinian people under foreign occupation. We recognize the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to the establishment of an independent state" (Article 63); "We call for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region" (Article 64). The Palestinians were also included on a list of "Victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerence." Even the Holocaust got a mention. OK, so Sheridan gets it wrong yet again - surprise, surprise. But there is some gold in his propaganda dross:
According to Sheridan, when this fearsome anti-Semitic talk was dropped from Durban II's draft declaration, but not that document's reaffirmation of Durban I's DPA, the Dutch and the Australians got going. Over to you Greg: "A Russian, Uri Boychenko, chaired the overall preparatory effort and laboured mightily to clear up the text. He got most offensive things out, except the first paragraph's ringing declaration that Durban II reaffirmed Durban I. Thus, although there were no obnoxious references to Israel in the final text, the reaffirmation of Durban I meant that its positions were re-endorsed. Boychenko could not get this out because the Organisation of the Islamic Conference said it would boycott the conference if it was removed... Meanwhile the Dutch put in a heroic effort to substitute a shorter, better text that did not contain the reaffirmation. On March 12, Smith... said Australia would not be attending unless the text was fundamentally changed and Canberra was convinced the conference would not be misused as an anti-Semitic hate fest in the way the first conference was. In the following few weeks, the Dutch asked Smith to make a final decision until their efforts on the text were exhausted. Having an important group of countries, including Australia, still up for grabs, as it were, gave the Dutch extra leverage in their ultimately unsuccessful efforts to fix the Durban II declaration and make the conference workable. Smith co-ordinated his actions with the Dutch foreign minister, with Clinton, and with a number of his other counterparts. When it was clear the text was irredeemable, a cascade of nations pulled out. First there was Italy, then the US, Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Germany and Poland... as an Australian I am proud of our actions."
How revealing is that? I ask again, why is the Australian foreign minister doing Israel's dirty work?