Thursday, April 3, 2008

U.S. & Israel Pass on Durban II

The current administration sent their RSVP to the United Nation's World Conference on Racism to be held in April 2009 in South Africa. One might think the world could learn from the only nation to have achieved nuclear disarmament and completed a widespread reconciliation process between races over past abuses. But such is not the case, as nuclear armed Israel and the U.S. declined their invite.

Apparently they have bad feelings about Durban I, held September 8, 2001. Three days before 9-11, the world fractured over racist policies. Since then, the Bush administration has done its best to be colorblind on race. This strategy didn't produce gains for the African American community. Why am I not surprised?

Recently several Israeli rabbis issued orders not to employ or rent housing to Arabs. Prior State Department reports cited Israel didn't afford Arabs the same opportunities in those very two areas. Israeli leaders, like Avigdor Lieberman, talk about cleansing Israel by moving all Arabs to Palestinian land. Another recently dangled a shiny new Arab city within the Jewish state, while many struggle for their daily bread.

It's odd that leaders cannot speak truth and learn difficult lessons from a past offender. That a Bush led America and our ally pulled a pre-emptive decline on the conference is no surprise. The question remains what our next President will do. McCain, Clinton, and Obama have all lined up behind Israel, so the turn down will likely stick. Maybe that new League of Democracies can learn from South Africa. But first, Bush has more buttons to push...