The arcane saga of Durban II goes on: "Despite changes to the draft text last month to exclude specific references to Israel, Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith said on Monday that it was 'unlikely' Australia would attend the Durban Review Conference, aka Durban II, which commences in Geneva on April 20. However, he was holding off on making a final decision to give a UN working group the opportunity to make last-minute changes." (Australia attendance at Durban II 'unlikely', The Australian Jewish News, 17/4/09)
The draft conference declaration has been neutered, with no mention of Israel, occupation, racism or apartheid*, but that's not good enough for Smith. And Smith's failure to jump when the Zionist Lobby says jump is simply not good enough for its movers & shakers: "Smith's postponement, however, just days in from the conference, has frustrated Jewish leaders, who have been lobbying the Government for months [sic: over a year] to boycott the conference... This week, Executive Council of Australian Jewry president Robert Goot said he wrote again to the Foreign Minister urging him to pull out of the conference given that ongoing deliberations of the draft text had gone from 'bad to worse'." (ibid)
So for Goot, the dropping of all references to Israel in the draft means that it has "gone from 'bad to worse'"? Can you, dear reader, figure these guys out?
But the song & dance has finally paid off with Smith announcing: "Regrettably, we cannot be confident that the Review Conference will not again be used as a platform to air offensive views, including anti-Semitic views." (Anti-racism talks hit by Western boycott, AAP, 20/4/09)
Typically, Smith was merely waiting for the US to pull out: "On Friday [20/4], negotiators, including Western and Muslim states, believed they had ironed out the most controversial issues relating to religious discrimination and the Middle East in the draft conference declaration. But the US State Department spokesman Robert Wood said it still reaffirmed unacceptable parts of the 2001 Durban declaration referring to the Middle East conflict and infringed on freedom of speech." (ibid)
So let's draw a few relevant conclusions from all this:
1) Australia, which voted against funding Durban II in the UN in January last year**, has sufficient chutzpah to stuff the UN around since then with its maybe/maybe not routine before finally giving it the finger, but insufficient chutzpah to give same to the Israel Lobby.
2) The KRuddies have just made their own special contribution to Australia's grand foreign policy tradition of 'All-the-way-with LBJ'.
3) It's simply not good enough anymore for the UN to ignore what Israel so transparently is - a racist, genocidal entity - it must knuckle under to USrael and adopt the rhetoric of the Israeli PR machine.
4) The KRuddies have, by implication, ordained that calling the Israeli occupying power an occuping power is anti-Semitic; that calling Israel's racist project and policies racist is anti-Semitic; and that calling apartheid Israel an apartheid state is anti-Semitic.
5) The KRuddies have once again affirmed that support for Israel is in their DNA.
6) Canberra, like Washington, is effectively Israeli-occupied territory.
7) Black is white, wrong is right.
8) Over at Israel Lobby HQ, they're popping champagne corks.
Stop Press: Blimey! I've just seen today's Australian. Cop this: "The Australian understands the Dutch will not be going to the conference and Germany is also considering a boycott after intense lobbying by Mr Smith of his European counterparts..." (Israel slur fear forces boycott, Mark Dodd) There you have it - Smith has been swanning around Europe, at Australian taxpayers' expense, acting as a sock puppet for the Israelis. Could it get any worse?
[* See my 20/3/09 post Australia Bats for Israel in the UN **See my 18/1/08 post Working Out the Mechanics of Our Relationship]