UN delegates met last week to plan out a series of discussion sessions culminating in the 2009 convocation of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance (or WCARRDXARI for short).

Apparently, the UN regards the conference’s 2001 meeting in Durban, South Africa as successful enough to deserve a sequel. That convocation, if you recall, kicked off with a rousing speech by South African president Thabo Mbeki, who explained the conference’s purpose as addressing the “indignity and humiliation” that whites have heaped upon the planet’s other races. Picking up on Mbeki’s theme, African nations at the conference insisted that western countries apologize for slavery and pay reparations.

As it turned out, the guilt-mongering over slavery was just a minor, freakish sideshow to the Durban conference’s main goal of denouncing Israel. This was accomplished by the non-governmental organization forum. The tone was set by the two people selected to address the forum and officially greet the NGO representatives: Yasser Arafat and Fidel Castro.

Although the selection of two murderous kleptomaniacs as the face of global racial harmony is never a good sign, this wasn’t enough to spur the U.S. delegation to boycott Durban. But the Americans, followed shortly by the Israelis, did walk out when the NGO forum adopted a declaration denouncing Israel as a “racist, apartheid state” engaging in “racist crimes against humanity,” “ethnic cleansing,” “war crimes,” “state terrorism,” “alien domination and subjugation,” “acts of genocide,” and “other gross human rights and humanitarian law violations [that have] destabilized the entire region and [have] impacted on world peace and security.”

My understanding is that an Egyptian proposal to condemn Israelis for stealing candy from babies was viewed as overkill and stricken from the final declaration.

The international media, including left-leaning papers like the British Guardian, reported critically on the anti-racism conference’s ironic descent into an anti-Semitic, anti-western, and anti-white cauldron of racism. From that, one might expect that planning for the 2009 follow-up conference would proceed with a careful eye toward avoiding the mistakes that discredited its predecessor.

And one would be wrong.

Last week’s planning sessions got off to a perfect UN start when Cuba and Iran were elected to the planning committee’s governing bureau. Libya was elected to head the committee. As a reminder of Libya’s commitment to human rights, days after its election, Bulgaria announced it was transferring Libya’s $56.6 million debt to a fund for HIV-infected Libyans. The move was clearly an extorted quid-pro-quo in return for the Libyans’ recent release of six Bulgarian medics jailed for over eight years on the bizarre charge of deliberately infecting Libyan children with HIV. (Libyan leader Muammar Khaddafi’s own son has admitted publicly that the imprisoned medics were subjected to electro-shock torture, but apparently that’s no reason to deny Libya’s place at the head of a human rights conference.)   

The speeches on the committee’s first day, reproduced by UN Watch, included a statement by the Libyan delegate that “one of the most important consequences” of the September 11 attacks “was an increase in racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance.” While some people might regard the deaths of 3,000 American civilians as another fairly important consequence of 9/11, this aspect escaped the Libyan’s attention. Instead, she bemoaned the alleged intolerance, ridicule of religious symbols, racial hatred, and “restrictive policies” stemming from “the war against what is called ‘terrorism.’”  

Succeeding speeches extrapolated on similar themes. After a perfunctory condemnation of Israel and a veiled call for slavery reparations for African-Americans, the Egyptian delegate spoke of the racial hatred arising from 9/11. As an example, he cited the Danish Muhammad cartoons. Not the deadly Muslim rioting and death threats that followed the cartoons’ publication – just the publication of the cartoons themselves.

The Pakistani delegate, speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, identified “the defamation of Islam and discrimination against Muslims” as the most pressing racism-related issue today. He also expressed regret that “the world media has allowed defamation and blasphemy” of Islam. He then declared that the conference should focus on the oppression of Palestinians.

The Iranian delegate lamented that the “so-called war against terror” has increased racism and xenophobia, especially against Muslims in western countries. He also asserted that “the right to freedom of expression is not absolute,” citing the “defamatory cartoons crisis” as an example.

Other delegates offered similar remarks, but you get the picture. The Islamic bloc that dominates many UN agencies is setting up the 2009 anti-racism conference to establish Muslims as the true victims of the September 11 attacks. The Western press is set firmly in their crosshairs; delegates clearly intend to intimidate the Western media into self-censorship by decrying any articles or images that offend Muslims as racist hate crimes. Thus, a conference ostensibly dedicated to combating racism is already being transformed into an international forum for the Islamic world to attack the principle of a free press. Religious and gender apartheid throughout the Muslim world seems to be off the agenda, as is the spread of Saudi-backed Wahabbism and other Islamic supremacist ideologies.

As the architect of the “so-called war against terror,” there can be little doubt that America will be singled out as the world’s biggest purveyor of racism.

And who will be paying for these delegates to gather together and denounce America? As the single biggest UN contributor, US taxpayers will be funding much of the conference.