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article imageUnited States Officially Boycotts UN World Racism Conference

By Can Tran     Apr 18, 2009 in World
United States President Barack Obama could soon find himself in another tough position on a national and international level. It is official that the US will boycott the anti-racism conference.
On April 20, the United Nations will be holding the “World Conference Against Racism.” It is considered to be an extension Durban in 2001. The talks in 2001 had taken place in Durban, South Africa. The United States and Israel had walked out of the conference.
There is one resolution that is highly controversial. Under that resolution, it would have compared Zionism with racism. That angered Israel. The United States had walked out as well.
In regards to the 2009 World Conference Against Racism or “Durban II,” it was announced that the united States will not be participating. Back in February, Obama wanted to think it over first.
On the Iran based Press TV article, it explains the US asserted the boycott over the same thing that happened back in Durban. The main reason for the boycott would be the draft document that is considered to be anti-Israeli.
This story is also covered in TIME Magazine. While it made the decision to boycott it, this is considered to be a regretful one. Like the piece on Press TV, the TIME article also cites the document that could brand Zionism the same as racism.
Tensions between Israel and Palestine have raged on for quite awhile. Things really got agitated around December of 2008. Overall, this is one of the major issues within the Middle East. When one looks at it, the problems within the Middle East could pretty much be tied together due to a number of reasons.
It is expected that Obama will get praised by Israeli and Jewish groups. Perhaps he might also get praised by many Republicans in elected office too. However, this could also put Obama on the hot seat by African-Americans, Arabs, Muslims, and other minorities in the United States.
For Arabs and Muslims, it is self-explanatory. One should not forget the human rights advocacy groups, too. Asides from the resolution at the conference, Iran’s President Mamhoud Ahmadinejad will also be attending this conference. The relationship between Iran and Israel is not existent. On top of that, Iran does not recognize the state of Israel.
Tensions between Israel and Iran had gotten even worse during the Israeli-led Gaza offensive. Asides from that, there is the recent conviction of journalist Roxana Saberi, the American-Iranian citizen. Her father is Iranian and her mother is Japanese. She was convicted on the espionage and could face the death penalty.
Obama is looking for a two-state solution in regards to Israel and Palestine.
How do the African-Americans factor in all of this?
According to the African-American community, this conference would be a good way to address the issue of racism. The Congressional Black Caucus is not really happy about Obama boycotting the conference.
According to Democratic Representative Barbara Lee of California, boycotting such events makes it harder for the US to be a leader on the UN Human Rights Council. To Lee, the boycott is simply throwing away a grand opportunity.
According to a spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, it would be hypocritical to attack Israel. With that, Merkel does bring up a valid point. The conference is to attack racism. Condemning Israel would pretty much defeat the whole purpose of it.
The United States is also not the only country to boycott this conference. For the same reasons, Sweden is also issuing a boycott.
On the Party for Socialism and Liberation website, a similar article is posted. It cites the same reasons, the tensions between Palestine and Israel. It would seem that socialists in America may use this as an opportunity to take pot shots at Obama.
So far, this decision could possibly make some ripples within America’s black community. On, a news site in regards to hip-hop culture, an article is posted promoting support. It addresses the impact that the genre of hip-hop has made across the world.
The article called the boycott of the World Conference Against Racism an insult. It states that it insults the descendants of slavery and their ancestors in a watery grave in the Atlantic Ocean.
Overall, it could potentially put Obama in a bind nationally and internationally. The national and international problems are obvious. Due to what has recently transpired, could this boycott lead to a dispute between African-Americans and Israelis? In a sense, this gives off the implications that they feel like that they are being ignored because of fears of anti-Semitism.
Perhaps in the near future, somebody might be angry enough to lead a hip-hop style attack against Zionism. At the same time, the Israelis could fire back at them. In that respect, that should be quite interesting. And yes, hip-hop has made quite the impact in both the Jewish and Muslim worlds. Overseas, the Jewish and Muslim hip-hop scene is quite big.
More about United States, United Nations, Racism
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