This week Israel observes Yom Hashoah, the day of remembrance for the Holocaust. This month marks the anniversary of the start of the Rwandan genocide. This year is the 60th anniversary of the Genocide Convention.
So, in celebration of these events, the Durban Review Conference on racism elected to give its stage to the world’s most prominent Holocaust denier and anti-Semite, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran. This is a person who is not satisfied just to deny the Holocaust, but to propose another in his exhortation to “wipe Israel off the map” and through his country’s support of terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. Ahmadinejad did not disappoint in his remarks.
He rose to great applause from many of the government delegates and, shamefully, from some of the NGOs. Some protestors did rush the stage wearing clown wigs, but they were removed. Ignoring that brief disturbance, Ahmadinejad proceeded to:
· Attack Europe and the U.S. for slavery and occupation of countries around the world.
· Dismiss the U.N. Security Council as a tool of the West and a means for imposing racism and oppression on other peoples.
· Accuse the U.S. and Europe of establishing and supporting a “racist” and “cruel” regime in Israel that has committed genocide and brutalities on Palestinians.
· Assert that the Iraq war was an avaricious effort by the U.S., conceived in collusion with “Zionists.” to control Iraq’s resources and support the interests of military arms manufacturers.
· Label U.S. foreign policy as “racist” and “discriminatory.”
· Call on the international community to combat Zionism, which he described a malicious racism that has “tarnished” the conscience of humanity. To Zionisms other evils, he added the charge of scheming and working to oppose the objectives of the Durban II conference.
· Announce that “inequitable and unjust management of the world is at the end of the road,” to be replaced by a “common global system” to meet the needs of “world society” through “collective material interest.”
These comments were oddly interspersed by frequent exhortations of love for mankind and justice, but they only served to underscore the hostility of his message.
Ahmadinejad concluded his remarks to great applause among a portion of the delegates. Only hours into the event, the Durban Review Conference on racism seems to have already hit its nadir. At least let’s hope so.