Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dutch May Boycott Durban II

Photo Credit: Buitenlandse Zaken (Dutch Foreign Ministry)

Earlier today, Maxime Verhagen, Foreign Minister of the Netherlands, threatened that his country would not participate in the planned UN Anti-Racism Conference, which is to take place in Geneva in April 2009. 

Verhagen said that 
Nederland zal er niet aan meewerken dat deze top, net zoals de vorige, ontaard in een antisemitische hetze (Foreign Affairs press release).

The Netherlands will not take part if this conference, like the previous one, turns into antisemitic agitation [my rough translation - Dutch speakers, please correct mistakes!]
He objected to a draft that accused Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinians. The minister has also opposed moves by Islamic member states to issue a declaration against "blasphemy" at the conference, and he has initiated a UN declaration calling for a decriminalization of homosexuality. 

A Dutch boycott of "Durban II" would be a significant blow to the conference and may result in boycotts by other European nations. At a talk about the conference that I attended recently, one audience member, who had recently interviewed Verhagen, expressed skepticism about the likelihood of the Dutch delegation walking out of the conference. Hillel Neuer of UN Watch, on the other hand, suggested that it was a real possibility. 

5 comments:

Nobody said...

The minister has also opposed moves by Islamic member states to issue a declaration against "blasphemy" at the conference

This is serious? Blasphemy is racism now?

Amos said...

Yes, they are quite serious about this. The UN's ostensibly democratic mechanisms have given the world's least democratic states the power to issue all kinds of declarations inimical to the spirit in which the institution was founded. It's a classic case of "democracy" being turned into a tool of dictators. The rhetoric of human rights and anti-racism, skillfully employed by the Organization of Islamic states and others, is being used for grotesque ends. And just as during the Cold War, there were enough naive tools around to do the bidding of the Soviets at no cost (think of the anti-imperialist campaigns which defined US interventionism as imperialist and Soviet interventions as anti-imperialist), there are today plenty of people on the "left" willing to fight the Islamist cause.

ontheface said...

@NB - apropos the so-called "left," you would probably enjoy a book by British journalist Nick Cohen, called "What's Left."

Lisa

Nobody said...

@Lisa

Thanks for the info

@Amos

I find it a bit hard to believe that there may be leftists who would support such a thing, however ready to fight the Islamist cause these people may be. Equating blasphemy with racism should be too much even for them.

Ariel said...

Calling for the decriminalization of homosexuality seems to me like a good move that will hopefully help some on the left to stop mindlessly supporting anything that claims to be anti-racism or simply emanates from outside the West.