Reparations, and Zionism: the White House says it will boycott the U.N. Conference Against Racism if these twoissues aren’t struck from the agenda. They don’t want to discuss whether Western countries should compensate victimsof colonization and slavery, or whether Zionism is a movement based on racial superiority and Israel’s settlementpolicy constitutes a form of neo-apartheid and a crime against humanity.
Yesterday, Democratic Representative Cynthia McKinney had these words for the White House, at the first publiccongressional hearing on the conference:
"I have to wonder if the Bush administration’s position on the World Conference on Racism is just politically dumb orif it is perhaps indicative some something more malignant." She asked, "Is the Bush White House just full of latentracists?"
Also yesterday, State Department officials admitted that they have been engaged in a fierce lobbying effort topersuade other nations to drop the two issues. This week, a small corps of American diplomats is in Geneva attendingsessions with conference planners about the agenda. However, the real negotiations, one administration official said,are expected to occur behind closed doors during the next few days as the diplomats press their argument that theinclusion of the two agenda items would subvert the conference and impede any progress.
- Roger Wareham, human rights attorney and member of the December 12th Movement. E-mail: email@example.com