Monday, April 20, 2009

No More Free Passes

Showing determination not repeat the racist fiasco that was Durban I, a mass walkout by mostly European delegates (the AJC reports that Morocco was among the nations that left) to the UN anti-racism conference in Geneva occurred during Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech (specifically, the parts where he goes off on a vicious anti-Zionist rant). Zvika Krieger, live-blogging the speech, captures the excitement as a beautiful message was sent to one of the world's foremost purveyors of hatred and extremism.

Ahmadinejad also had to deal with hecklers and cat-callers yelling that "a racist can't fight racism". And following Ahmadinejad's remarks, the Foreign Minister of Norway took the floor to say that his comments "run counter to the very spirit of dignity of the conference," and that Iran was "the odd man out".

And it wasn't over. After he left the stage to give a press conference, Ahmadinejad was greeted to sight of hundreds of protesters blocking the way, indicting him for his suppression of the Ba'hai and other oppressive acts. Included in the crowd was none other than Elie Wiesel (who, I suppose Ahmadinejad believes, simply had a really bad nightmare for eight years). At the conference, one journalist asked why Ahmadinejad devotes so much energy to savaging Israeli actions against the Palestinians, but virtually none to Muslim-on-Muslim violence. He answered that such activities, at root, were the fault of Western interference in Muslim affairs. Shocking.

UPDATE: HuffPo has a list of all the countries which either walked out or are boycotting the conference altogether (Morocco was not listed as a "walk-out" country):
Boycotted altogether: Germany, Australia, Canada, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland and the United States

Walked out: Austria, Belgium, Britain, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic (has left the conference for good), Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, , Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, St. Kitts and Nevis

YNet reports that Jordan also left the hall.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has joined the chorus condemning Ahmadinejad's speech, saying the goal was "to accuse, divide and even incite."

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