Italy has become the first EU country to pull out of the UN’s Durban II conference:
Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said Italy has withdrawn its delegation from the preparatory negotiations ahead of the so-called Durban II conference due to “aggressive and anti-Semitic statements” in the draft of the event’s final document.
Ministry Spokesman, Maurizio Massari, said that Italy would reconsider if offending language in the document is changed — which is no weaker or stronger a position than the one adopted by the Obama administration last week.
This is, on balance, good news. But it’s hard to celebrate the rejection of an isolated case of anti-Semitism when the rejection is coupled with a fundamental naivete about the larger anti-Semitic framework behind the offense. The original Durban “racism conference” and its slated repeat were conceived to promote anti-Jewish prejudice and Muslim supremacy. This fact, and all its horrid implications, cannot be wiped away by changing a few words in a document.
Western governments — at the very least, the United States government — would attain no small measure of dignity by simply acknowledging the conference’s noxious aims and refusing to play edit-the-document. Barack Obama loves to talk about the U.S. excerising its power by example, not might. What could be easier than making a speech denouncing Durban as an offensive undertaking built on rotten principles?