March 13, 2009 12:00am
WHY on earth is the Rudd Government going to a festival of hate against Israel and the West?
Actually, it's not hard to work out why the Government won't join a boycott by other democracies of next month's United Nations bizarre conference on "racism".
You see, the Prime Minister is desperate to win the cheap votes of African and Muslim nations in his bid for a temporary seat at the United Nations Security Council, where we would join great powers such as Burkina Faso, Libya, Costa Rica and Croatia.
It is to win this paltry prize that the Rudd Government this week announced it was even sending $10 million in aid to the Zimbabwean regime of Robert Mugabe, who is still a hero in much of Africa.
It's why the Government has said it will triple its aid to the rest of a continent wracked with corruption.
It's why it is sending Governor-General Quentin Bryce to nine African countries to lobby for UN votes, as if she were a politician or door-to-door shonk.
And it's why the Rudd Government has broken with a Howard government policy and voted already for two anti-Israeli motions in the UN.
But going next month to the UN's anti-racism conference in Geneva goes beyond such diplomatic grovelling and wheel-greasing. It would be a grotesque betrayal of our principles, an insult to democratic allies and a vote for the enemies of our freedoms.
Think I exaggerate?
Then read for yourself the draft declaration that has been produced for this conference -- with the help of Australian officials, holding their noses.
You will read a tirade that emphasises the sins of the West above those of the rest, suggests restrictions on free speech to save Islam from criticism, and blames colonialism for Third World dysfunction, for which it demands compensation.
Only one country is singled out for denunciation -- democratic Israel, which is accused of torture, collective punishment of Muslims, "apartheid" and "crime against humanity".
Only one faith is singled out as needing protection from free speech -- Islam, which should not be insulted "through publication of offensive caricatures" or an "association of terrorism and violence", because "a most disturbing phenomenon is the intellectual and ideological validation of Islamophobia".
Only one slave trade is singled out for a day of international commemoration and reparations -- that of pre-Civil War America, which must be commemorated by an "International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade". No day is recommended for commemorating those enslaved in Africa, Arabia or the Ottoman Empire.
The West is even pilloried for allegedly creating a hatred of Muslims by taking steps to protect itself from, er, the hatred of Muslim terrorists who have slaughtered so many civilians in London, New York, Madrid, Mumbai, Lahore, Jerusalem, Baghdad, Bali, Nairobi and God knows how many other places.
"Overt and covert discriminatory counter-terrorism measures . . . have led to the rise of racism," the UN document states, blind to the fact that it is precisely the other way around -- that counter-terrorism is prompted by the fear of being blown up by Islamists with venomous hatred of Jews, Christians, Hindus, Americans, Buddhists and Muslims of the wrong shade of faith.
NOTHING is said in this draft about the regimes that in fact sponsor and harbour such terrorists, of course.
In fact, you'd never guess from its pages that in recent decades the worst genocides have been in Africa, the most savage terrorism has been launched by Islamists, the worst ethnic cleansings have been in Africa and Asia, and the people most likely to kill for their faith are Muslim.
But if you're puzzled at its strident tone, be aware of something so incredible that you'll think I'm joking.
This declaration against racism and hatred has been prepared under supervision of a UN "preparatory committee" chaired by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's Libya, with the help of co-chairs including Pakistan and Iran, and a rapporteur from Fidel Castro's Cuba.
I kid you not. Welcome to the modern United Nations of Despots.
So what do sane, proud and free people do when faced with such a document and such a hate fest?
What do such sane people do, given the UN has priors in this dirty pond, having organised this conference as the follow-up to its infamous 2001 Durban meeting, which even Foreign Minister Stephen Smith admits was "an anti-Jewish, anti-Semitic harangue".
Here's what Canada has decided: it's boycotting this Geneva meeting because of the draft declaration's "expressions of intolerance and anti-Semitism".
Italy and Israel are boycotting it, too, condemning it as anti-Semitic. The United States also says it won't go to a conference which debates any such form of words: "The document being negotiated has gone from bad to worse, and the current text of the draft outcome document is not salvageable . . .
"It must not single out any one country or conflict, nor embrace the troubling concept of defamation of religion". Nor was the US keen to foot a bill for "reparations for slavery", which could see Michigan car workers compensating Michael Jordan.
So what is the Rudd Government waiting for? How could it delay a day longer in declaring it will not go, either?
Foreign Minister Smith says our officials are still trying to improve the draft declaration, and he'll wait before deciding if it's worth going to Geneva.
But it's already as clear as a swastika what the agenda of this meeting is. It's clear that Australia will not succeed in changing it, when even the US failed.
And it's clear that the Government's hesitation in making a stand for the West, for our values and for Israel has got nothing to do with whether the document can be "improved".
Rather, it has everything to do with the Government's hopes that no one will notice if it quietly joins this UN party of anti-Western and anti-Jewish bile to keep sweet with the Mugabes, Castros, Gaddafis and Ahmadinejads. Or that no one in Africa or the Middle East can accuse it of being among the first to RSVP no.
But every day it waits is one more day of complicity. One more day of shame.
Our values cannot be so cheaply sold. Or defended with such hesitation.
The draft text of the UN conference against racism is at http://www.un.org/durbanreview2009/pdf/