Alpha 1
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U.S. Threatens Walkout On Racism Conference

Tue Jul 31, 2001 4:36 am

GENEVA (AP) - Under threat of a U.S. boycott, delegates from more than 100 nations began a final effort to salvage the World Conference Against Racism - going quickly into talks Monday after being warned by the United Nations' top human rights official that Arabs must abandon attempts to equate Zionism with racism.

``The United Nations has already dealt with this issue at great length,'' Mary Robinson, U.N. high commissioner for human rights, told the opening of a two-week session trying to bridge divisions ahead of the racism conference starting Aug. 31 in Durban, South Africa.

She noted that a decade ago the U.N. General Assembly had repealed its 1975 resolution denouncing Zionism, the movement that led to the re-establishment and support of a Jewish homeland in biblical lands.

``I believe that it is inappropriate to reopen this issue in any form here and that anyone who seeks to do so is putting the success of the Durban conference at risk,'' Robinson said.

Robinson's boss, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, said in Washington that preparations for the conference had ``opened up deep fissures on a number of sensitive issues, such as the legacy of slavery and colonialism, and the situation in the Middle East.''

Israeli-Palestinian tensions led to the proposal from Arab countries and Iran to insert the anti-Zionism language in the draft of the conference's final document.

The Bush administration said Friday it would boycott the conference if the Zionism language remains.

Last week in Geneva, negotiators trying to find a way to enforce the global ban on biological weapons were shocked by a U.S. announcement that it was throwing in the towel on the germ warfare talks.

Robinson and Annan were clearly trying to make sure that Durban avoids a similar walkout, and the speed with which the delegates entered into negotiations indicated that conference organizers were moving to iron out differences if possible.

``If this conference is to succeed, there is an acute need for common ground,'' said Annan. ``The conference must help heal old wounds without reopening them.''

Robinson departed from her prepared speech to say she had great sympathy for the Palestinians.

``I am acutely aware of the suffering of the Palestinian people and dismayed at the continuing toll of deaths and injuries on a daily basis,'' she said.

Conference organizers have intended to be inclusive, but one of the first acts of the session Monday was to exclude the International Gay and Lesbian Association from the list of accredited non-governmental organizations.

The vote was 43-43 with 27 abstentions. Under conference rules ties equal no votes.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer also said the United States regards as another nonstarter the African demand that countries that prospered from slavery and colonization should apologize - and pay compensation - for the suffering they caused.

Annan said, however, the conference should be able to discuss historical wrongs, even though its focus should be on the future.

``We need to acknowledge the tragedies of the past, but not become captive to them.''

The calls for compensation have grown against the background of the United States' pressuring Germany to reimburse Nazi victims and Switzerland to compensate heirs of Holocaust victims for money that lay dormant in bank accounts after World War II.

The two-week negotiating session beginning Monday had to be squeezed into the month leading up to Durban because what was supposed to be the final planning meeting in May ended in deadlock.

U.N. officials say that if the Zionism issue is removed during the Geneva negotiating session, it is unlikely to resurface in Durban, where a vote would be required to put it back into the final document.

Robinson said she is encouraged because she senses greater political will to see the conference succeed.

``There have been a lot of negotiations behind closed doors over the last few weeks, and I have been very encouraged by the high-level political engagement'' from U.S. and European officials, she said.

Robinson, a former president of Ireland, said there are limits to what a U.N. conference can do, but Durban could make a significant contribution to eliminating ``an evil that has survived too long.''

``A serious document that explains the nature of racism in the modern world and that sets out the strategies to combat it would be a major step forward,'' she said.

AP-NY-07-30-01 1514EDT


A few observations:

1. The U.S. should boycott if the Arabs bring up Zionism again. It's pretty hypocritical for the Arabs to be calling Israel racists, when Arabs have been targeting Israeli citizens for attack for decades now. If it is brought up after the U.S. enters the conference, the U.S. should bring up the list if atrocities committed by Arabs against Jews.

2. It was right for the U.N. to deny the Gay/Lesbian group an unofficial seat at this forum. The issue on homosexuality is not an issue of racism, and rightly should not be brought up at this conference.

3. The African nations should just drop the notion of getting compensated for slavery. It's the same thing as the descendants of the actual slaves wanting $$$-a grab for money that is not deserved. The African nations have suffered nothing because of what happened 300 and 400 years ago. If that one is brought up, the Africans should be reminded that it was their fellow Africans back then who ALLOWED the west to take these people from Africa. No one now should get a dime for slavery.

Should be an interesting conference!!
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RE: U.S. Threatens Walkout On Racism Conference

Tue Jul 31, 2001 4:55 am

Alpha 1, it appears we agree on more than just music. Well put.
"Shaddap you!"
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RE: U.S. Threatens Walkout On Racism Conference

Tue Jul 31, 2001 6:43 am

I agree on all points that Alpha 1 makes. Gay/Lesbian issues would be better suited at a conference centered around gender issues. Yes, that's still not the category that Gay/Lesbian issues fall under, but it's much closer than racism. That's just my opinion though, as the debate over what category these issues fall under is still unsolved.

The Arab position is hypocritical indeed. It would be much more productive for Jews and Arabs to work towards reducing anti-semitism throughout the rest of the world and work on resolving their own differences during the many meetings and conferences that the US and other nations set up for them.

Aaron G.
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RE: U.S. Threatens Walkout On Racism Conference

Tue Jul 31, 2001 8:03 am

Now that's why I have Alpha 1 on my respected users list  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

1740 days idle. Beat that.

RE: U.S. Threatens Walkout On Racism Conference

Tue Jul 31, 2001 9:04 am

Gotta Love Religion.

That said, why should a G&L group not be allowed to participate? Considering a lot of the worlds major religions do discriminate against us.

I guess it's difficult to define 'homophobia' as racism, however the U.N. has stuffed around with the issue for far to long in how to define it. Yes, they agree it's a human rights issue, however they dilly dally around with the definition, hence why a G&L rights group wanted to sit in on the conference. And of course for other reasons.

I cannot see any resolution between the Arab states and the Jewish state. It's fundamentally impossible, the only time they talk on the issue is when they are threatened with trade barriers or encouraged to do so by western heads of governent. They make it look encouraging for the foreign media then it's back to their old tricks again.

As for the Pallestinians, Israel needs to set them up their own territory, with an independant legislature and plently of money coming from the UN. They have to create a new "Pallestine" for the Pallestinians and show the world that they mean what they are doing and are willing to forgive the terrorism that the Pallestinians have caused in their own country.

If the Pallestinians then proceed to demand too much more, at the very least the world won't be so harsh if Israel get's heavy handed with them again. Even with these ideas, I simply see no end to the trouble in the region. The rest of the world will have to watch them like hawks and keep some semblance of peace.

It's a very sad state of affairs where problems will never end.


Alpha 1
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RE: U.S. Threatens Walkout On Racism Conference

Tue Jul 31, 2001 9:10 am

Israel has offered to let an independent Palistinian state be formed, but the problem for Israel is that such a move won't guarantee that the Arabs will clamp down on these fundamentalist yahoos, and stop the attack on Israeli's. Until the Arabs do this, there'll be no peace.

Anyone ever read Tom Clancy's book "The Sum of All Fears"? In that book, he came up with a very elagant solution to the Palestinian/Israeli problem. I wonder if it could ever really work?

RE: U.S. Threatens Walkout On Racism Conference

Tue Jul 31, 2001 9:40 am


I don't really believe that my sollution to the Pallestinian problem will work, as you have said Israel has agreed in principle to some of these things.

I think the time is right for them to "Just Do It" and see what happens as the two sides have talked the ass off each other without even remote sucess.

I feel sorry for both parties, even though I do not agree with terrorism.

Peace in the region will never happen.



RE: U.S. Threatens Walkout On Racism Conference

Tue Jul 31, 2001 2:46 pm

I agree with Alpha 1.

But hey, wasnt Clancies "elegant solution" like a nuclear bomb destroying the entire MidEast or something?


Your "Pallestine" is pronounced Pa-yeah-i-stine, which is quite humorous.

Correct spelling for the former name of the territory that is Israel and is currently occupied by Israel is "Palestine", pronounced: palace-tine.

A complete separation is extraordinarily difficult for several reasons.

1) Settlements. Thousands of Jews and Israelis live in settlements outside the "green line" which would be classed in a modern form of Palestine. Would Israel simply give up on these people? Not likely. Would Palestine welcome them to their new nation? Not likely. Would Palestine allow them to be islands of Zion inside their supposed soverign territory? Not likely.

2) Refugrees. Thousands of Palestinians (although the use of the word is wrongly used because before 1948, Jews in the region were "Palestinians" also) or Arab Palestinians fled modern day Israel because of fears they would be killed or tortured. They are currently housed in camps in Lebanon and Jordan and want their land back. Israel will not allow them to have it because this would mean certain near destruction of the identity of the Jewish state and raise the likelihood of increased terror from angry refugees attempting to seek vengeance. Will the refugees happily move to this new Palestine and abandon their claims? Not likely. Will Israel allow them all back to Israel? Not likely.

3) Economy. In case you haven't noticed, what is currently Palestine has no economy. Well, thats a bit overstated. Palestine has no significant industry or commerce and better than 70% of its inhabitants rely on Israel for jobs and welfare. Completely separating Palestine from Israel will require billions of dollars to build a commercial society from traders markets, a shut airport, several mortar factories, and a casino limited solely to Israeli holidaymakers. Will Israel lend Palestine the money to become self-sufficient? Not likely. Will rich Arab nations lend Palestine the money to become self-sufficient? If past is any predictor, not likely. Will Palestine simply build a society capable of creating jobs and investment with monies from the UN?  Smile Not likely, but certainly ideal!

4) Jerusalem. This one is simple. Israel wants it. Palestine wants it. Neither is gonna say, "I'll trade you a goat and two barrels of....."

You get the point.

Solution: Make peace. (only option)


PS: It is the view of this Airliner, that peace will come. It will take time and lives, but I refuse to believe that Israelis and Arabs, two very strong-willed but highly intelligent peoples who thrive dealmaking and bargaining, will never make peace. With today's events, peace may seem far and hopeless.... but hold your breath, its coming.

RE: U.S. Threatens Walkout On Racism Conference

Tue Jul 31, 2001 3:16 pm


Sorry for the spelling error. But my spell checker keeps comming up with 'LL' - Why? I checked the dictionary and you are right.

Never mind.

All those things you point out are quite valid. My view was what I could see as the only possible solution as I do not believe there will ever be peace in the Middle East. Not when you have two very different religious states in the region. Passions run high, the differences too many. Look at the Balkans, and I don't ever believe that part of the world will be peaceful for ever.

But that just me. You never know when things will change.

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RE: U.S. Threatens Walkout On Racism Conference

Tue Jul 31, 2001 5:25 pm

Under the UN decree in 1948, 2 states were formed in the region for Jewish and Arab palestinians.
These states are Israel for the Jews and Jordan for the Arabs. The first thing Jordan did when they got their independence was invade Israel and capture the west bank of the river Jordan. the UN did nothing.
When Israel was attacked again decades later and succeeded in recapturing that territory, the UN was suddenly up in arms against them for "occupying" territories from another state.

The 1948 solution may not have been the brightest one, but the UN is hypocritical if they do not accept that Israel has (according to their own resolutions...) rights the the west bank of the river Jordan.

There can indeed be no peace in the region as long as people on both sides do not agree to follow their religion properly and live in peace. Islam does not allow violence against Jews, and Jewish religion claims to be one of peace...

The proposal put forward by Tom Clancy did not involve nuking the entire middle east (though it might just work). He put forward placing the holy sites under control of the Vatican, being guarded by the Vatican guards (who, being Swiss, are as impartial as one can get) and giving free access to them for all interested parties as long as they do not carry arms.
I wish I were flying
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RE: U.S. Threatens Walkout On Racism Conference

Tue Jul 31, 2001 6:57 pm

First of all the conflict in Palestine ( it is in Palestine, NOT in the whole of the Middle East) has absolutely NOTHING to to with the religious differences-it has everything to do with occupation, dispossession that Israel has imposed on the indigenous population of Palestine.I find it utterly hypocritical that Westerners including Americans find it in their hearts to accuse the Arabs of Anti Semitism and intolerance, given their own horrific treatment of Jews over the centuries, especially when the latter were harmless and down to earth people.Moreover, the fact that all too many overlook is that the Middle Easterners have a far superior record of religious tolerance compared to Europeans and therefore to accuse them of anything else than resisting occupation is laughable.As regards the racism conference, the fact of the matter is that Israel's treatment of the Palestinians is so horrible and the indifference shown by Zionism to the rights and lives of non-Jews is so glaringly obvious both in the past and present that any attempt to drop it from the issues to be discussed is tantamount not only whitewashing the issues but ignoring the only form of aparthied that persists today - Zionism.Therefore everyone should resist this hypocritical and pathetic attempt by the US to cover up the truth about Zionism, and if the Americans want to stay out, let them do just that.
go canada!
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RE: U.S. Threatens Walkout On Racism Conference

Tue Jul 31, 2001 9:04 pm

Well doen alpha one, im just expecting Zach to start mouthing off and its nice to see an arab defending their hatred.

"Moreover, the fact that all too many overlook is that the Middle Easterners have a far superior record of religious tolerance compared to Europeans and therefore to accuse them of anything else than resisting occupation is laughable"

Religious tolerance?

what about afganistan or Iran? or Palestine ?
or Iraq promising death to the state of israel?

what about hamas and hezbollah?
what about the other religious fanatics?

european may ahve had a problem in the past, it doent know, the middle east still has the same deep-rooted problems.

We in the Uk have the northern ireland issue, based on religion and on land, dont dare try and suggest that europe has a worse problem than the middle east.
It is amazing what can be accomplised when nobody takes the credit

RE: U.S. Threatens Walkout On Racism Conference

Thu Aug 02, 2001 3:15 pm


Your arguments are worthless. Do not try and defend Arab terror by saying "You did it too nah nah na boo boo." Now, that is pathetic. Yes, Europe has had some issues in regards to religious intolerance and yes its been ugly, but Europe has reformed itself very well and for the most part all religions and ethnicities live peacefully and happily in Europe.

The middle east is quite a different story. Lets take for instance, the intifadah.

FACT: The Arabs complain that Israel doesn't want to make peace.

FACT: The Intifadah is a violent and dangerous conflict meant to inflict harm, harassment, and humiliation on Israel and its citizens.

FACT: Arabs proclaim Zionism to be racist, exclusionary, and evil.

FACT: Zionism is the movement to create a successful and peaceful Jewish homeland in the Middle East. It is still being carried out.

FACT: The United Nations created Israel as a Jewish homeland in the middle east.

FACT: Upon its celebration of creation Israel was invaded by all of its continguous and some neighbors not so contiguous.

FACT: Israelis want to live in peace and security.

FACT: Palestinians want to create terror and violence to lead to an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza much as Israel did from South Lebanon.

FACT: The Intifada is not a noble cause, it is not a peaceful cause, it is not going to be a successful cause. It has caused terror, death, carnage, and mayhem and untill the Arab world restricts Hamas and friends from blowing up discos, Israel will continue to protect its citizens from terror. Can you blame it?

Jwetining, You are gravely mistaken. The West Bank and the Gaza strip were not part of the original Israel. The West Bank and East Jerusalem were given to Jordan, where Jews were prohibited from praying at their holiest place (Western wall), which was used as a city dump. Israel won the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the 1967 6 Day War.

The West Bank and Gaza Strip never belonged to any Palestine or Palestinian Arab people. It belonged to Jordan who lost it in battle. Now it is occupied by Jews who live in pockets that are under Israeli law and protection and the PNA.

Following the 1967 6 Day War, Israel attempted to give back Gaza to Egypt, who didn't want it. They took Sinai though. Why didn't they want Gaza? They didn't want to deal with the Palestinian problem that Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon today face.

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RE: U.S. Threatens Walkout On Racism Conference

Thu Aug 02, 2001 4:12 pm

on point 2 right on sexual orientation does not equal race. If this were a human rights conference I would change my stance.
On point 3; african american slavery ended less than 150 years ago, and if nothing else families should be able to sue for the reasonable value of 40 acres and a mule, which were to be given to newly freed african american families, but never materialized. Stupid US government and their toilet paper thin promises.
On point one; the jewish state uprooted many people. I believe the jews do deserve the home of their own but I think it will take a few more generations for peace to come about. On the other hand this Nukeing theory is intriguing...There, who wants it now Big grin

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