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Demonizing the Jews

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

by Malcolm Hedding

On the 20th April, the day Hitler was born, the United Nations conference on racism, Durban II, will convene in Geneva. Durban I was nothing more than an attempt to attack Israel by accusing it of racism and of setting up the new Apartheid state. Thankfully, the USA walked out of that circus thus exposing the racist and anti-Semitic nature of the convocation. But now, in Geneva, those seeking to delegitimize Israel are seeking to ratify Durban I and smear Israel again. The Apartheid accusation against the Jewish State will be revived and more greatly amplified. Anti-Apartheid activists like Desmond Tutu will be quoted to verify the claim and even Jimmy Carter will be referenced in order to prove the point. The goal is simple: Discriminate against Israel, delegitimize Israel and, in the end, call for the dismantling of Israel. These voices are already being heard in different parts of the world. Durban II will press forward with this agenda.

Naturally, the word Apartheid is a very powerful one as it evokes images of racial discrimination and suffering that were all too common in South Africa for decades. Forty million people were robbed of their human dignity, treated like animals and herded into ghettos. They were classified white or non-white at the stroke of a pen and sometimes, when such racial profiling was not possible, the strength of one’s curled hair would determine one’s fate. Race coloured all departments of life and those who opposed the system were harassed, hunted down, imprisoned, exiled or even killed. It was an evil system that destroyed the lives of countless thousands.

It was indeed a joyous and great day when this scourge was finally removed allowing South Africa to become a fully democratic non-racist state on the 24th of April, 1994. However, to equate Israel with this system is ludicrous. I lived under the Apartheid State and its vicious machinery and know all too well what it meant. To band the word apartheid about loosely is an insult to the 40 million people who suffered under it. To use the term other than in its original context is to play down the horrific nature of this political nightmare. The same applies to the use of the word Holocaust other than in its original context. There can be no equal! Yet this is what Durban II is all about. The goal is sure; if a charge or accusation of being an apartheid state can be made to stick as far as Israel is concerned then a call can be made to the international community to dismantle such an entity. After all, why should Israel be different to South Africa? This is the danger that Israel now faces. It is a real danger and not one to be taken lightly. Powerful and significant international “players” are involved with it.

Israel is not an Apartheid state. It is a thriving modern day democracy that affords all its peoples dignity and equality under the law. Within its borders are Jews, Christians, Arabs, Druze, Armenians and many other minority groups. All have the same rights and dignity under the law. It enjoys freedom of the press and the right to peaceful protest. Women are respected under the law and allowed into all branches of human endeavour. Israel is a shining light in an Arab world that is largely in the grip of totalitarian governments. Yet it is Israel that the United Nations conference in Geneva has chosen to describe as an Apartheid one! Nothing could be further from the truth.

The conflict in Israel has nothing to do with Apartheid and never will. It is a conflict for survival and thus until Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and their fellow travelers in the Middle East come fully to terms with Israel’s existence the sufferings of the Palestinians will continue. Not because they live under an Apartheid regime but because they live under bad leadership that has led them continuously into a no man’s land of misery and despair. The idea of a Middle East without Israel is a delusion that many have to get over. Until that day dawns the blessings that Israel can bring to the region will be forfeited.

Rev. Malcolm Hedding
Executive Director
International Christian Embassy Jerusalem

©2010 International Christian Embassy Jerusalem

Obama's Double-Take on Durban II

Late in the afternoon of Friday February 27th the US State Department rushed out the announcement that the Obama administration was not going to participate any further in the United Nations Durban Review Conference in Geneva this April. The move followed a roller-coaster week in which the White House first signaled it would break with President Bush’s long-standing boycott of the Summit, went to Geneva to ‘engage’ with the preparatory process, only to announce that they were pulling out for good.

It was unquestionably good news for Israel and her many allies around the world, concerned that like the first Durban Summit in South Africa on the eve 9/11, the 2009 UN forum has become a platform for some of the world’s worst human rights violators to advance their anti-Semitic, hate-filled agenda under the guise of combating ‘racism.’ All eyes are now on Britain, France and Germany the ‘big three’ nations of the European Union - all of which have indicated they might consider following suit.

The ICEJ itself was one of a number of organizations calling on President Obama to boycott the conference altogether, gathering more than 3,000 signatures to our online petition in less than three weeks.

We are continuing to take a lead on the issue by organizing our national branches around the world to persuade their governments to do the same.

At an ICEJ Discerning the Times Seminar in Florence Alabama on February 21st, US Financial Controller Daryl Hedding spoke of growing up in the beautiful coastal town of Durban that, “thanks to the UN,” has now become “a dirty word” to fair-minded Christians the world over.

“My father preached against apartheid, so much so that we were eventually forced to leave South Africa for Israel,” said Hedding, son of ICEJ Executive Director Rev. Malcolm Hedding. “I know what racism is,” he continued, “and I know what a racist state looks like. It doesn’t look like Israel!”

Calling on a packed room of some 150 Christians to take the message back to their churches and their elected representatives, Hedding affirmed the ICEJ position that the US should boycott Durban II and its toxic brand of anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial and Islamic ‘blasphemy’ laws.

But the US withdrawal from the Durban II process comes at a price. The State Department made it clear that from now on it will be seeking membership of the discredited UN Human Rights Council to ensure it “focuses on the pressing human rights concerns of our time.”

That’s a tall order. The Human Rights Council has devoted more resolutions concerning Israel than all other nations combined. And whether US participation will positively influence Council proceedings, or just lend credibility to the world’s most hate-filled forum of human rights hypocrisy, remains to be seen.

Michael Hines
USA Media Director
International Christian Embassy Jerusalem

©2010 International Christian Embassy Jerusalem

The Durban Dilemma

Friday, January 9, 2009
Michael Hines

On January 20, Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America in front of a record crowd of well-wishers. Between two and four million people, according to some estimates, are preparing to brave the wintery Washington cold to witness the ascension of the first African-American to the highest office in the land.

The euphoria of this unarguably historic moment, however, will no doubt be tempered by the scale of the challenges facing the new president as he enters the Oval Office to start work the following day. Aside from a deepening global recession and the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Obama will inherit the seemingly inevitable threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, rising tensions between India and Pakistan and an explosive stalemate between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

Yet buried under the pile of intelligence reports, fiscal projections and stimulus measures awaiting early consideration on the president’s desk will be an innocuously worded invitation to the second global summit on racism to be held in the Swiss city of Geneva this coming April.

For a man like Obama who genuinely embodies the ability of the American people to transcend the past sins of segregation and slavery, a United Nations conference against discrimination and intolerance should represent a unique and timely opportunity to project US influence on the world stage. Furthermore it appears to offer the Obama administration an early chance to live up to the campaign promise to "repair" the nation’s damaged image abroad... If only.

Instead the Geneva summit is destined to be a repeat of the first ever World Conference against Racism held in Durban, South Africa in September 2001, on the eve of the 9/11 terror attacks and described by the late US Congressman Tom Lantos as “the most sickening and unabashed display of hate for the Jews I had seen since the Nazi period.” Lantos should know; he was a member of the US delegation that travelled with former Secretary of State Colin Powell only to walk out in protest half way through. He was also a Holocaust survivor.

Now the same state actors that singled Israel out for condemnation as an apartheid state at Durban while whitewashing the Arab-instigated genocide against the black Muslims and Christians of Sudan, have raised the stakes even higher for the so-called Durban Review Conference in Geneva. These include Libya, chair of the UN’s Human Rights Council that is running the get-together and vice-chairs Cuba and Iran. On the table is a proposal to further vilify Jewish right to self-determination and end the "foreign occupation" of Jerusalem. What’s more the Durban II draft documents call for new rules on defamation of Islam "in private life" a direct assault on Western freedom of expression - and condemnation of discriminatory “counter-terrorism” measures that, according to the organizers, are fuelling "Islamophobia."

The Bush administration has seen this coming, taking a strong stance against the summit from the beginning, refusing to participate in the preliminary sessions and voting against the entire UN budget based upon its objection to the allocation of US funds to the Durban process. Even Hillary Clinton, who as Obama’s Secretary of State would have a crucial role in determining the US response, is on the record back in February 2008 supporting the Bush policy of boycotting the conference unless "current efforts to rein in the forces of hatred fail."

All this presents a keen dilemma for President Obama who, after all, defeated Clinton for the Democratic nomination on a platform of working constructively with international organizations like the UN, and upgrading US diplomatic outreach to friend and foe alike. The odds may be stacked against American interests in Geneva, but what does it say about the new administration if it not even willing to show up?

One thing is certain, the ICEJ will be there. Led by a coalition of our Swiss, German and Austrian branches, European Christians will be protesting the summit on the streets of Geneva, raising our voices against the brazen hatred and anti-Semitism that now masquerades on the world stage as a debate on racism and tolerance. What’s more, we’re launching a campaign here in the United States to coincide with the January 20th Inauguration, to remind our new president, Barack Obama, of his responsibility to stand up for truth and boycott Durban II.

Michael Hines
USA Media Director
International Christian Embassy Jerusalem

©2010 International Christian Embassy Jerusalem


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